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NEEMO 5 Mission Draws Parallels Between
Ocean Floor and Outer Space
A diver approaches the Aquarius undersea research laboratory.What does life underwater have in common with life on the International Space Station?

A diver approaches the Aquarius undersea research laboratory.

Like the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live and work. However, three NASA astronauts and one NASA scientist are hard at work at a research laboratory 62 feet below the ocean's surface as part of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations program (NEEMO) 5.

Veteran ISS astronaut Peggy Whitson is commanding astronauts Clayton Anderson and Garrett Reisman as well as NASA scientist Emma Hwang on the NEEMO 5 mission. The crew will use the underwater habitat Aquarius as practice for long-duration space habitation and to build undersea structures simulating Space Station assembly activities. They will also conduct scientific research on the human body and coral reef environments.

Located about three miles off the coast of Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Aquarius is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The laboratory is similar in size to the International Space Station's Zvezda Service Module, measuring 45 feet long and 13 feet wide. Aquarius is most often used by marine biologists.

The official press release is available at:

For more information on the NEEMO program, visit: