Follow this link to go to the text only version of
NASA -National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Follow this link to skip to the main content
+ Text Only Site
+ Site Help & Preferences

+ Home
+ NASA Home > Mission Sections > NEEMO > NEEMO 10
Print ThisPrint This
Email ThisEmail This

NEEMO 10 Mission Journal

JSC2006-E-30806 - NEEMO 10 crew member on ladder
Image above: NEEMO 10 crew member climbs a ladder during a session of extravehicular activity. The crew member is wearing a reconfigurable center of gravity backpack to simulate moon walking. Image credit: NASA

Sunday, July 23, 2006
Mission Day 2
Crew Journal

Mission Day 2 focused on testing the effect of 'center of gravity' (CG) locations for advanced exploration spacesuit designs. Today’s simulated exploration activities were targeted for a lunar gravity environment.

The tests consisted of conducting a number of activities in the different primary life support system (PLSS) CG configurations. The divers started with 35 pounds (30 pounds in the case of Karen Nyberg) on a shoulder-strapped weight belt, and then added the emergency 'bail out bottle' and the special PLSS testing rig. The first activity was four traverses of a 20-foot course, marked in the sand with yellow rope. The divers walked, ran, and jogged, and then repeated the trip one more time in their favorite 'ambulatory mode.' (Not crawling!) The second set of activities included kneeling and standing back up, falling on your face and getting up, picking up a rock, shoveling sand, and climbing a ladder that was secured to one of the habitat legs. After each of the activities, we had to rate how hard it was compared to doing it on land with no spacesuit in earth's gravity or '1G.' A NASA table called a "Cooper-Harper index" was used for this.

Drew and Koichi were the first divers in the morning. K2 conducted the intravehicular (IV) coordination, and Karen N. worked with the remotely-operated vehicle. The first challenge was with the diver communications, first with electronic feedback, and then with low volume in the 'green diver' helmet. We were able to fix those, although green diver (Koichi) had to keep his breathing quiet if he wanted to hear anyone. Drew got started with the tasks, and was soon joined by the topside crew, who adjusted the PLSS weights between runs. Pretty soon both divers were hard at work, with K2 playing maestro and directing one diver to the 'track' and the other to the ladder, and vice versa. Of the six different weight configurations, one was especially challenging for the divers, and drew a couple of 'ughs!' Although the two got out of the wet porch a little late with the communication fixes, they were able to catch up and finished right on time for lunch.

We had a lunchtime visitor, Phil Renaud. Phil is the executive director of the Living Oceans Foundation, a non-profit organization that sponsors coral reef research and education. His group is interested in conducting an education event in the Aquarius in the near future, so the timing of his visit was great to give him a taste of Aquarius life.

K2 and Karen shared a dehydrated beef stew lunch and leapt back into the wetsuits for the afternoon CG work. The current had picked up just enough to keep tension on the umbilicals and make maneuvering around the working area difficult. About half-way through the mission, the support divers found a solution by bungee-cording the umbilicals to a spare gazebo at the edge of the work area. The difference in the CG diving was notable. The K's had been making the best of the umbilical situation, but when it was relieved, they were surprised at how much more they were able to concentrate on conducting the tasks and rating them properly.

Everyone agreed that the CG exercises were physically challenging, and have a new appreciation for what the heavy Mars configuration will be like.

During the evening planning conference, the aquanauts and the topside crew discussed the day's events and agreed on a few procedures to keep things smooth during the next CG events. Seemingly small things, like conducting the events in a consistent order, help keep everyone on the same page as the operation progresses.

While K2, Drew and Koichi entered data and conducted post-mission cleanup, Karen took advantage of the time to take a dusk hookah dive around the habitat. It was nice to have some time for nothing more than admiring the wildlife that calls Aquarius home.

Sunset brought the Japanese documentary crew out for some night filming, so Koichi donned the hookah mask and joined them outside. He took the opportunity to show off his mask-removal exercises and flash his pearly whites in front of the dinner window.

Sunday, July 23, 2006
Mission Day 2
Topside Report

Today at 10:21 a.m. Koichi Wakata, Karen Kohanowich, Karen Nyberg, and Drew Feustel joined an elite group of people in this world who have spent 24 hours under the sea in "saturation," making them the world's four newest aquanauts. Mark Hulsbeck and Dominic Landucci, of course, were already experienced aquanauts. Koichi, by virtue of having flown in space and lived under the sea, becomes the 13th "aquastronaut!"

NASA is in the early phases of designing the spacesuit for lunar and Mars exploration. The Apollo moon walks demonstrated that the weight and center-of-gravity (CG) of the spacesuit and portable life support system backpack were important parameters affecting astronaut performance. To investigate the acceptable CG limits for future designs, the NASA extravehicular activity physiology, systems and performance project (EPSP) working in conjunction with the crew and thermal systems engineers have developed a reconfigurable CG back pack that can be worn by divers on “sea walks.” On Sunday the NEEMO divers weighed out at lunar gravity levels (one-sixth of Earth’s gravity), donned the reconfigurable backpacks and performed a series of tasks representative of planetary exploration. These tasks, performed under six different center of gravity configurations included: timed walks, jogs and runs, kneeling, falling and recovering, picking up rocks, shoveling and climbing ladders. The divers evaluated each of the tasks using a modified Cooper-Harper rating scale. The timed ambulation tasks will be compared to a control group performing the same ambulations using a partial gravity weight relief system at the Johnson Space Center. This comparison will allow the data to be adjusted for the effects of water drag.

The advantages of performing these tasks on saturation excursion dives include a real operational environment, unlimited time duration and the ability to investigate the full six-degree of freedom work volume. For safety reasons the ground based partial gravity simulators do not allow subjects to fall down. Later this week the divers will perform the same tasks under simulated Martian gravity conditions. They will also wear the reconfigurable CG backpacks while performing other mission tasks. The divers will perform half of the task with the CG currently planned for the lunar/Mars suit and the other half with the CG configuration that had the best Cooper-Harper ratings. This data will be combined with CG studies in other environments (partial gravity simulator and parabolic flight) to drive out the optimum configuration of the exploration suit portable life support system (backpack).

For "surface" exploration tasks, a special diving helmet allows our aquanauts to be weighted to give a buoyancy effect like the gravity on the moon and Mars, and gives them a limited visibility helmet much like they might find in a space suit. For simplicity and safety reasons, it uses an umbilical instead of a closed-loop life support system. There is even a helmet camera on top.

During these excursions, you can see what they see and hear the live communications between our aquanaut team and the Mission Control team in Houston via streaming video at the NOAA Undersea Research Center website below:

Scroll down to the “Diver Cam” section, and choose which diver you want to follow along with. It requires “Quicktime” to be installed, but will prompt you through the installation if your computer doesn’t already have it loaded.

     - NEEMO 10 Topside Team

 NEEMO 10 Mission Journal Number 7
"Today the NEEMO 10 mission ended successfully with 'splashup' at about 9:48 a.m. EDT."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 10 Mission Journal Number 6
"A 'tag-up' with the International Space Station astronauts was the highlight of the day. "
+ Read More
 NEEMO 10 Mission Journal Number 5
"Last night was a time for new life on the reef, as clouds of plankton, brine shrimp and fish eggs rained down in front of the viewports all evening."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 10 Mission Journal Number 4
"The aquanauts experienced a heavy workload during the exercise, feeling like a cross between Godzilla and a professional linebacker."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 10 Mission Journal Number 3
"Drew and K2 took advantage of some timelined hookah dive time to find out which fish visit the Aquarius at night."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 10 Mission Journal Number 1
"NEEMO 10 is splashed down and under way!"
+ Read More
 NEEMO 10 Training Journal
"It’s about the size of a big motor home, and the top grates look like a landing deck above the Yellow Submarine."
+ Read More
+ Back to Top

FirstGov - Your First Click to the US Government

+ Freedom of Information Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ NASA Privacy Statement, Disclaimer,
and Accessibility Certification

+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
+ Information-Dissemination Priorities and Inventories
Editor: John Ira Petty
NASA Official: Brian Dunbar
Last Updated: August 30, 2006
+ Contact NASA
+ SiteMap