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NEEMO 11 Mission Journal

JSC2006-E-40388: Timothy J. Creamer, Sandra H. Magnus and an unidentified crew member Image above: Astronaut/aquanauts Timothy J. Creamer (left), Sandra H. Magnus and an unidentified crew member participate in a training session for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project. Image credit: NASA

Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006
Mission Day 1
Crew Journal

SPLASHDOWN!! Today we started our mission with a dive down to Aquarius to move in. It was a beautiful morning and the ocean was still and the sun was shining; a perfect day for the mission to start. We dove off the boat and descended through the clear blue water to the habitat. There were several schools of fish swimming in the area but they simply swerved around us as we passed by them. We took the opportunity to get a crew picture by the porthole. It will be a neat picture since Roger and Larry were already inside Aquarius and Bob, Tim, TJ, and Sandy were outside and gathered around the porthole in our SCUBA gear. After taking pictures we went over to the wet porch and entered our home for the week. All of our stuff had been sent down earlier so once we had taken off all of our gear (and there was a lot of it--wet suit, booties, gloves, diving skins, socks, weight belt, fins and mask) we rinsed up and left the wet porch to enter the main habitation area of Aquarius. Roger gave us the safety briefing and tour of our new home, and then it was time to work. We started by taking inventory, deploying the computer network, setting up cameras, and making sure that everything we thought should be here was here. We did not have a lot of time to get settled because it soon became time to get Tim and Bob suited up for their first dive of the mission. Teams, Tim and Bob, and Sandy and TJ, were scheduled for an orientation dive on the helmet so we could get used to the environs and practice with some of the tools we would be using in the coming week. Roger helped get the dive helmets ready, we suited up Tim and Bob, and they went down the rope ladder to the surface. Even though it was our orientation dive, we had some tasks that we wanted to get done, including locating the two safe haven diving bells around Aquarius. Tim and Bob, whose dive lasted an hour and a half, found the two diving bells and saved the data in the underwater navigational tool. When Sandy and TJ went out on their dive, which was also an hour and a half, they used the same data to find the diving bells. One of the things we really had to pay attention to was our tethers and how easily they could get tangled together. Today the current was so strong, however, we also had to watch for the umbilicals getting dragged away! During the dives we managed to get some video and still photography and are hoping that some of it turns out OK. After the dives we had to rinse everything off, break down the helmets, and clean up the wet porch and then we had some time to get our personal items unpacked and stowed.

A little bit about our home. There are two main habitation compartments to Aquarius. The entry lock, which is just off of the wet porch, is a narrow hallway with a toilet, utility sink, two shelves and a bunch of valve panels. This is the main working area of the habitat and that is where we have all of our cameras, computers, electronics, and comm equipment. It is pretty crowded in there! Passing through the entry lock, which is about 8 feet long, you enter the main lock. In here you can find the galley, which is a microwave, a sink and a small refrigerator, and the main communication station. There is a table that has a porthole next to it and we can sit there and eat and watch the fish swim by (or, if you are a fish, you can swim by and see what the humans are up to). The bunk room, which has six bunks, three to a side, is past the main lock. There is also a porthole in the bunk room so at night we will be able to look through it to watch the nightlife before we fall asleep. It is a compact place and feels a bit bigger than the volume of the shuttle, but not by much.

Our first day aboard Aquarius was a good one and we know we have busy days ahead, but we are here, under the ocean, settled in, and ready to go!!

 NEEMO 11 Mission Journal Number 7
"The six of us bonded as a team and will cherish the photographs from this mission, reminding us of the special time we spent down here under the sea."
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 NEEMO 11 Mission Journal Number 6
"Today we began the journey back to the surface and to dry land."
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 NEEMO 11 Mission Journal Number 5
"Just like the feeling of floating in space, it is hard to describe what it feels like to walk around on the bottom of the ocean."
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 NEEMO 11 Mission Journal Number 4
"The dive was very successful and we were happy with how much we were able to do and the topside team got a lot of good information about construction in extreme environments."
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 NEEMO 11 Mission Journal Number 3
"During the second dive of the day, the team finished construction of the LunaSea base and located a suitable location for tomorrow's final construction task."
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 NEEMO 11 Mission Journal Number 2
"It was really interesting to see how just the weight distribution for this simulated space suit could dramatically change how difficult or easy it was to do different activities."
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 NEEMO 11 Pre-Mission Journal
"The number of fish just swimming around the structure was amazing and included very large goliath grouper!"
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