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NEEMO 9 Mission Journal

NEEMO Topside Report -- Mission Day 18
Thursday, April 20, 2006

JSC2006-E-16516 -- NEEMO 9 Crew
Image above: NEEMO-9 crew and habitat technicians Ross Hein (left) and James F. Buckley (right) pose for a group photo after returning to the National Undersea Research Center. In the foreground is University of Cincinnati physician Tim Broderick and from second left are astronaut/aquanauts Dave Williams, Ron Garan and Nicole Stott. Credit: NASA

Today the NEEMO 9 mission ended successfully with "splashup" at 8:46 a.m. It was a beautiful, peaceful day on the reef, and all of the aquanauts are doing well and are happy to be back in the fresh air and sunshine. They will be engaged in post mission interviews, physicals, and other activities the rest of the day, and tonight we will celebrate the outstanding success of this mission at the traditional "splashup party".

James Buckley ascending Image to left: Jim Buckley, habitat operations manager, ascends the line for splash-up for the NEEMO project. Credit: NASA

We want to take this opportunity to thank our hosts here at the National Undersea Research Center. Their professionalism and commitment to safety is second to none. They take great care of the nation's only undersea research facility, they keep a close eye on our crewmembers, and they take great care of our Topside team and visitors. So to the habitat technicians, Jim Buckley and Ross Hein - a hearty "thank you" for teaching our crewmembers how to live as aquanauts. To Mark "Otter" Hulsbeck, a sincere thanks for the great training you gave them. To Craig Cooper, thanks for managing this (and all) NEEMO mission so professionally. For Dominic Landucci, a special thanks for all the time you put into making it possible for Aquarius to meet all the demanding technical requirements of this mission. And for the rest of the Aquarius side staff who potted daily, manned the watchdesk 24/7, and did it all with a smile, we can't thank you enough. Finally, a special and sincere thanks to NURC Associate Director Otto Rutten for being our host and boat captain for the last 3 weeks. It wouldn't have been possible without you all.

We can't properly thank everyone who had a hand in making this mission successful, but a few key individuals should be noted:

  • The Center for Minimal Access Surgery and Dr. Mehran Anvari, for your vision, funding, manpower, hardware, and "out of this world" objectives;
  • The Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center for the funding and support;
  • The National Space Biomedical Research Institute for the funding, manpower, hardware, and relevant science;
  • The University of Cincinnati for allowing us to borrow Dr. Tim Broderick for this mission (we're reluctant to give him backā€¦);
  • The ExPOC team, for your preparation, long hours, and tireless perseverance;
  • JSC's Mission Ops Directorate, for the majority of the manpower that keeps this project alive year by year, as well as your unflagging support;
  • JSC's Flight Crew Ops Directorate, for the manpower, support, and part of the crew;
  • The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at JSC and Florida State University for the working diver support;
  • Dr. Lee Morin, for the leadership you provided on this mission;
  • Dave and Mariana McGraw, for hosting our splashup party;
  • Previous NEEMO crews who helped pave the way; and
  • The families and friends of all of us who've been away so long making this mission a success. We appreciate your sacrifices!
Stay tuned for NEEMO 10, a 7-day mission focused again on Lunar exploration concepts. It is scheduled for July 2006.

Thanks for your support and following along!

- NEEMO 9 Topside Team (Marc, Bill, Monika, Kimi, Dan, Alex, Kristen, Trevor, Pam, Valerie, Adrian)

For crew journals, live webcam views, images and aquanaut profiles, visit:


 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 15
"The barracuda seemed particularly impressed with this new structure and hovered around the truss element facing into the current! "
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 14
"Scuttle bunny was flying around the reef at quite a pace with test pilot Ron at the controls."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 13
"But what a sight after we turned off our lights. Bioluminescent creatures ... lit up the sea around us."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 12
"We're sitting at the galley table writing our journals and as usual we're distracted by the beauty out the galley view port."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 11
"As the sun began to set in the world above, I swam into the wet porch feeling very much a resident of the reef."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 10
"It was pretty exciting to me to be here living and working on Aquarius on the 25th anniversary of STS-1."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 9
"As I write this a large sea turtle just decided to park its belly on our main view port (where I'm presently sitting)."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 8
"This marks the first time in human history an entire robotic surgical platform was transported to an extreme environment ... and was manipulated successfully from afar."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 7
"There is nothing quite like the transition from a warm bed to a cold wetsuit to wake you up in the morning!"
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 6
"The EEG net leaves a particularly attractive series of marks on the subject's head-- looks like we have been kissed by an octopus."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 5
"It's ... incredible to watch the sunset from 47 feet beneath the surface."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 4
"Today was a day filled with outreach events, both 'educational' (to school children) and 'public affairs' (to media)."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 3
"One of the highlights of the day was our videoconference with Jeff Williams and Bill McArthur on the International Space Station."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 2
"Today at 10:38 a.m. Ron Garan, Nicole Stott, and Tim Broderick joined an elite group of people in this world who have spent 24 hours under the sea in 'saturation,' making them the world's three newest aquanauts."
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 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 1
"I'm looking forward to my first night of 'sleeping with the fishes.'"
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