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NEEMO aquanaut and DeepWorker vehicles in front of the Aquarius undersea research station.

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NASA NEEMO: Science Under Pressure

Challenge summary:

NEEMO 14 David Saint-Jacques (CSA) plays a little tune on his Japanese flute.

NEEMO 15's David Saint-Jacques (CSA) plays a tune on his Japanese flute. How does atmospheric pressure affect the speed of sound? Image credit: NASA

During NEEMO missions, aquanauts employ a technique known as saturation diving to live and work in the Aquarius underwater habitat for weeks at a time. Aquarius is an ambient pressure habitat, meaning its atmospheric pressure is equal to the surrounding water pressure — about 2.5 times that of surface level at the habitat’s depth.

The Aquarius habitat offers a unique learning environment for students. Educators and scientists from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) proposed science experiments that evaluate whether simple, everyday tasks, such as blowing a bubble or operating a remote controlled device, will be more difficult at a higher pressure environment. These experiments encourage followers to use the scientific method to evaluate and predict results and the unique environment provides a new place to perform these simple tasks.

During the NEEMO 16 Expedition, the topside (“surface”) team and the aquanauts will perform and record these science experiments. Once the experiment of the day has been announced, NEEMO fans are invited to predict the outcome of each experiment. Followers should focus on whether the experiment will yield different outcomes at the surface-level environment vs. the increased pressure environment of the Aquarius habitat.

How to Participate:

From June 14-21, look for science experiment announcements on any of the following social media outlets:

Facebook Twitter
› NASA NEEMO Facebook › NASA NEEMO Twitter
› NASA JSC Education Facebook › NASA Teaching From Space Twitter
› ESA Facebook › ESA Twitter

Here’s how to compete in the challenge:
  • Log on to your favorite social media account and start following the NEEMO 16 mission now!
  • Starting June 14, one experiment per day will be announced on the various social media outlets
  • The NEEMO Topside Crew will post a video of that experiment conducted at surface-level pressure
  • Followers will have 24 hours to predict the higher pressure experiment results
  • Winners will be announced after the NEEMO 16 aquanauts post their videos of the experiments conducted in the increased pressure environment
  • Each winner will be recognized by the NASA NEEMO team
  • A new experiment will be posted the following day and opened up for predictions

Winners’ Prizes

NASA, ESA and JAXA will each choose winners from their social media sites. Winners will be presented with a PDF certificate of achievement from NASA, ESA and JAXA.

Potential Science Experiments:

The following topics will be addressed in the experiments:
  • Terminal velocity
  • Speed of sound
  • Carbonation
  • Density altitude
  • Bernoulli's Principal
  • Human observation and senses
  • Buoyancy
  • Pressure changes

Learn More

Other opportunities to connect with NEEMO 16:
› NEEMO 16 education activities event listing

Aquarius Reef Base
› Aquarius Reef Base
› Aquarius Reef Base Twitter
› Aquarius Facebook

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
› JAXA website

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
› NOAA Twitter
› NOAA Facebook