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NEEMO 12 Topside Journal



An intense training week for the 12th NEEMO mission has concluded successfully with all 4 crew members graduating from "Aquanaut Candidate" status to being officially signed off to start the mission on Monday, May 7. The crew will live for 12 days aboard Aquarius, the only operational undersea research habitat in the world. The Mission Commander is Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, a veteran Shuttle astronaut, accompanied by fellow astronaut Jose Hernandez and Dr. Joe Schmid, a NASA Flight Surgeon. Dr. Tim Broderick joins them with tele-surgery expertise from the University of Cinncinnati. Dr. Broderick is a veteran aquanaut, having participated as a crew member on the 18-day NEEMO 9 mission last year. James Talacek and Dominic Landucci, both professional aquanauts from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, round out the crew and will operate the Aquarius and oversee safety during the mission.

NEEMO 12 is being sponsored by the University of Cincinnati's (UC) Center for Surgical Innovation (CSI) in collaboration with the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), and NASA. (TATRC is the cutting-edge medical technology center for the U.S. Army.) The Principal Investigator on this project is Charles Doarn from UC. The Mission Director is Marc Reagan, along with the rest of the Topside Team: NEEMO Project Lead Bill Todd, Monika Schultz, Alex Moore, Ron Stueber, Dan Sedej, Rick Sanchez, Pam Baskins, and Mary Sue Bell from JSC; Brett Harnett from UC, and Adrian Ecker from the NSBRI. Aquarius is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington. It is located near Key Largo, Florida at the National Undersea Research Center (NURC).

The major goals of this mission are to 1) evaluate the use of tele-mentoring and tele-robotics in performing emergency diagnostic, surgical and interventional therapies in a confined and extreme environment (as found in space flight), 2) life sciences investigations related to spaceflight, including psychology, physiology, and hardware, and 3) investigate open questions and operational concepts that will enable NASA to return humans to the moon as part of the President's Vision for Space Exploration. In support of the 3rd objective, we will be using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), an aquanaut tracking system, a crew-based navigation device, lunar and Martian time delays and diving equipment to support surface-based EVAs (extra-vehicular activities).

A few photos from the training this week…

JSC2007-E-21810 : NEEMO 12 team group photo
Image above: NEEMO 12 crewmembers and the topside team for the 12th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project take a break from training to pose for a group photo. Image credit: NASA

JSC2007-E-21796 : NEEMO 12 crew members make way to habitat
Image to above: NEEMO 12 crew members make their way to their undersea habitat during a training session for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project. Image credit: NASA

We're looking forward to a great mission. We'll keep you informed as it unfolds!

      - NEEMO 12 Topside Team

 05.10.07 - Mission Day 4: Diving and Potting
"A side benefit to the dives is the amazing wildlife we encounter. We were visited by a big turtle affectionately called aquanaut number 7."
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 05.09.07 - Mission Day 3: Lots of varied work
"The aquanaut team really enjoyed seeing the students and their schools. Maybe some of them will someday join us here on Aquarius or even in space!"
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 05.08.07 - Mission Day 2: Time to go to work
"From the time we got out of our bunks, teeth brushed and had our morning cup of coffee, it was a steady pace to get ready for the work day."
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 05.07.07 - Mission Day 1: Moving Day
"In the style of our lunar excursion, we collected a 'contingency' piece of dead coral for later remote analysis and manipulation by our topside crew."
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Editor: Amiko Kauderer
NASA Official: Brian Dunbar
Last Updated: May 14, 2007
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