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NASA Social Networks Science

NASA Space Habitat Research Goes Undersea 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the over-and-under dept.
PSandusky writes "NASA is preparing to make use of Aquarius, the underwater laboratory off Key Largo, for an extended period of time to research the effects of isolation in habitats situated in extreme environments. Planned areas of research include extravehicular activity logistics and crew health and performance. According to NASA's factsheet (PDF), the mission will include some communication with schools and social media sites. "
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NASA Space Habitat Research Goes Undersea

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  • This is news??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:32PM (#32106012) Journal
    This is news? I thought NASA has been doing underwater habitat isolation studies for years.
    • by siloko (1133863)
      And why go underwater? Facebook security [techcrunch.com] conventions should get you the requisite amount of isolation to practice for deep space travel!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by sillybilly (668960)
        Space is no hiding place from an artificial AI with stronger intelligence than humans, that's full steam ahead to getting developped, and it's practically impossible to avoid. There is talk about the "awakening" of the universe, how that era is unavoidable, how everything is going to be interconnected and intelligent like a Borg cube. Where does such a world leave humans? Humans may be fugitives from hunters with stronger AI than them, similar to how deer and rabbits run from us. But even deer and rabbits c
      • Re:This is news??? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:03PM (#32107510) Homepage

        And why go underwater? Facebook security [techcrunch.com] conventions should get you the requisite amount of isolation to practice for deep space travel!

        Simple, because it's actually a hostile environment if you're not careful, and because for any space-suit training, it's the closest thing to low gravity we can simulate.

        When you're trying to seriously evaluate how you would handle an extreme environment, you don't just run around playing make-believe.

        Air locks and the associated protocols are important both under water and in space.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Plus isn't it being done, and even in a "better" way, on...the ISS?

      • Yeah, you tell em. Multiple studies are redundant. It's like they tell you what you already know!
    • I thought NASA has been doing underwater habitat isolation studies for years.

      They got new money. No space program = lets spend money on other cool stuff.

  • This is RIDICULOUS! (Score:5, Informative)

    by john.r.strohm (586791) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:40PM (#32106108)

    It has been DONE.

    Tektite I, in 1969, put four men in a habitat, and kept them there, for over 58 days. That was a record at the time. They were working during the dive, doing excursions. During Tektite II, multiple 10-20 day missions were carried out. NASA was involved in those.

    A significant portion of the work in the Tektite projects was looking at human factors, specifically including psychology. Dr. Bob Helmreich of UT Austin was involved. (He was also the UT SCUBA club faculty sponsor for several years.)

    Aquarius is 62' down. My recollection was that Tektite was at 45', that being the deepest you can use air for long-term saturation without risking whole-body oxygen toxicity issues.

    There is NOTHING being done here that couldn't be done on dry land. ESA and the Russians are doing a similar project, all indoors in a big warehouse. Much of what they want to learn, about isolation psychology, they SHOULD be learning from the International Space Station, since they have crews spending much longer periods aboard ISS.

    I don't like to put NASA down, but THIS project is a waste of time and money.

    • Putting people in an environment that consists of a low mistake tolerance adds different pressures to the test.

      ON land and something goes wrong, then you are likely to survive, and the people in the test know this.
      Put it underwater, then they know if something goes wrong they are probably going to die.
      Because it's on earth, you can do this test longer then you can on the ISS.
      You don't have to worry about the issues that arise from weightlessness.

      This project tis needed to help understand the effect of long

      • by criptic08 (1255326) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:10PM (#32106372)
        As a precision to the parent's correct post, Warehouse isolation studies are referred to as simulations while these underwater tests are analogs. Analogs include unreproducible stresses found in real conditions (underwater and polar stations mainly) unlike simulations. The distinction is crucial when studying isolation psychology and psychiatry.
        • I dont think there are extra stress--OMG WHY DID U EAT THE LAST SNICKERS BAR WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE.

          Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. (heh, isnt that the point?)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Wingnut5 (949115)
        Well, the US Navy has been doing this more or less since 1954 with the launching of the USS Nautilus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nautilus_(SSN-571)) [wikipedia.org] Round the world submerged with the USS Triton (SSRN/SSN-586), the first vessel to execute a submerged circumnavigation of the Earth (Operation Sandblast) in early 1960. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Triton_%28SSRN-586%29) And with many other boats and submariners. Meets all the requirements that nasa is more or less looking for : adventurer, boredom
      • by cyn1c77 (928549)

        Putting people in an environment that consists of a low mistake tolerance adds different pressures to the test.

        ON land and something goes wrong, then you are likely to survive, and the people in the test know this. Put it underwater, then they know if something goes wrong they are probably going to die.

        No the GP is not shortsighted, he is right. This has been done before and on a grander scale.

        I don't think that 62 feet of water between you and safety really qualifies as stress.

        If you want to really test stress, you put people somewhere they won't get out of alive if something goes wrong... like in space or REALLY deep underwater.

        And you don't do it for 14 days, you do it for months. We've got a space station in orbit. Shit, we have the moon in orbit too. Why are we fucking around with dinky exper

        • by khallow (566160)

          I don't think that 62 feet of water between you and safety really qualifies as stress.

          It qualifies as if you fuck up in certain ways, then you die.

          • heh, bull

            just because, if i step out of my tent set up in the backyard to go and get some milk, i fail to notice a car barreling down on me, it can kill me, doesnt make camping in the backyard a valid simulation of space travel.

            62 feet down is shallow enough that you can survive travel to the surface without any diving equipment, go a tiny bit deeper and the bends might kick in, but i would assume support vessels will be closeby anyway

            • by khallow (566160)

              62 feet down is shallow enough that you can survive travel to the surface without any diving equipment, go a tiny bit deeper and the bends might kick in, but i would assume support vessels will be closeby anyway

              And I'm sure those support ships can raise you from the dead when you die either from drowning or injury due to a object propelled by the pressure of 62 feet of water. On this last point, even if the atmosphere of the habitat is kept at the same pressure as the outside, air is far less dense than water. You'll get all sorts of nasty dynamics, which can easily kill a person, any time a rupture occurs. As I said before, which remains true, there are a number of ways, which I might add are much more likely tha

            • You will want to Google "saturation diving". After a day at 65 feet you do not come to the surface without extensive decompression or you'll be very very ill/dead.

              In Aquarius, the drill is that you are essentially cave-diving -- you can't come up if things go wrong. You swim with redundant equipment, there are air "shelters" available at depth for emergencies. The surface is not your friend after the first day.

              And NASA has been doing exactly this kind of astronaut training with Aquarius for, oh, about 10 ye

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "There is NOTHING being done here that couldn't be done on dry land."

      The psychological impact of:
      'spring a leak and you die'
      'check your seams or you die'
      etc

      is harder to do on dry land.

      Those who don't get it might actually die and teach a valuable lesson to the others.

    • And it continues to be done Dennis Chamberland [motherboard.tv] has been designing these things for a while. He is heading up some sort of expedition to start an undersea colony [underseacolony.com].

      Why wouldn't they at least get some commercial industry advice instead of re-inventing the wheel. It seems a bit of a waste of money in my opinion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:57PM (#32106270)

    Wasn't this an Asimov short story?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterclap

  • They should just go study these folks [southpolestation.com]. It's definitely and isolated, extreme environment.
    • by Brucutus (1713960)
      Adult Swim even showed an animated version of what would happen called SeaLab 2021 [wikipedia.org]. Doesn't turn out too good for the crew most of the time.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Can the breath if there is a crack in there shelter? yes? then probably not the same thing.

  • This has clearly been done.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/21/AR2009092103723.html [washingtonpost.com]

    A waste of precious NASA bucks better spent on robots (and I mean robots to help the manned program).

    And the "isolation" aspect is just bunk -- resource more for deep space transmission of e-mail and skype and the astronauts will be begging to be left alone.

  • This has already been done. Have you people never heard of Atlantis?
  • This was an Asimov short story called Waterclap. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterclap [wikipedia.org]
  • of the age of Aquarius!
  • Put this deep sea station inmthe Gulf of Mexico, say near a particular disaster...

    And help that pitiful corporation fix the mess!

  • Maybe they can finally definitively answer the questions I know are on everyone's mind here:

    Who really lives in a pineapple under the sea?
    Can they in fact all live in a yellow submarine?
    Is there really an octopus's garden in the shade, and would he let them in, and know where they've been?

  • But then again, they've been sinking a lot lately.
  • I think Arnold had it right when he was talking to himself. "Get your ass to Mars...get your ass to Mars...get your ass to Mars...get your ass to Mars......

    Anyplace really would be fine. Lagrange points, the moon, an asteroid I don't give a shit anymore. Pick a destination and let's hit the road. NASA has been like a WOW gamer shut-in for the last few years. Sure they've made a lot of friends, got some real good screen shots, and some phat loot, but they haven't done much of anything else in the rea

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It's not NASA, it's Congress that is tying their hands. Get them more money. They would love to send more robots, explore more places.
      We have a place in the solar system that probably has liquid water. THAT should be our primary goal. Get there, find out if there is a sea of liquad water, investigate it. From what we know right now, there is a good chance life is their, and not just microbial.

  • All they need to do is send someone to Mars, all alone and with a few HD cameras. Have him send his footage back to be edited by the same folks who make Survivor Man, and Voila, instant Mars reality TV. Even if the more scientific community doesn't agree, it would definitely get more attention by people who currently don't follow anything space related. Probably creating a better atmosphere for commercial opportunity, too. Hell, I'd watch it.

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