Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
NASA Japan Space United States

Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission 84

Posted by timothy
from the in-space-no-one-can-hear-you-access-facebook dept.
Space.com gives an overview of the training that four astronauts are undergoing over 9 days submerged off the coast of Florida near Key Largo. The training mission, dubbed NEEMO 18, is one step toward a proposed (mid-2020s) mission to actually visit a captured asteroid in lunar orbit. In addition to the complications of working outside their school-bus sized habitat while awkwardly suited up in a low-gravity (or at least high buoyancy) environment, their mission also includes a 10-minute communications delay, to simulate the high-latency communications with mission control that would be inevitable for an actual asteroid mission. The experiments astronauts are doing during the mission, which began Monday (July 21), range from the physical to the behavioral. For example, each of the crew members sports a sensor that records how close the crew members work with each other inside the school-bus-size habitat. ... Communications with NEEMO Mission Control is usually constant, and there is the ability to send items to and from the habitat as needed. Also living inside the habitat are two support staff who are assisting with Aquarius maintenance and systems, as required. The crew members also have Internet and phone service to talk with family and friends.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission

Comments Filter:
  • Send a robot (Score:4, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @07:14PM (#47546255) Homepage

    When it's time for an asteroid mission, it will probably be robotic.

    It's amazing how much money NASA can spend not going into space.

    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @07:41PM (#47546389)

      It's pointless to send robots into space. All they do is waste processing cycles looking at the stars and mess around with fire extinguishers.

    • When it's time for an asteroid mission, it will probably be robotic.

      Sadly, you're right. The same fuckers that make that decision are probably the same ones who think that artificial insemination is vastly superior to sex. Objectively they'd be right for the purpose of reproduction, but they're still a bunch of heartless assholes for basing public policy on it.

      It's amazing how much money NASA can spend not going into space.

      Agreed again - open the damn thing to commercial exploitation and see how fast NASA catches up.

      • by countach (534280)

        What is heartless about it? You enjoy watching human beings go into life threatening situations so you can get your rocks off?

        • You kidding? I'd love to go myself - you see, some of us actually want to know what's out there, and to see it first-hand.

          I meant "heartless" in the vein that they have no heart for it.

        • by cyn1c77 (928549)

          What is heartless about it? You enjoy watching human beings go into life threatening situations so you can get your rocks off?

          Not all human beings have been turned into sheep yet.

          Some people are actually still willing to risk their lives to advance science or just to do something cool.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you look at the history of NEEMO missions, many have a robotic component. They endeavored to study issues involved with teleoperation from Houston, ways the robots could be used to assist the aquanauts, and how they could help mission control or aquanauts in the habitat interact with and improve the safety of astronauts on the outside of the habitat. They've used various flavors of crawlers and ROVs over the years to do so. The communications delay affects the robots, as well.

    • Indeed, a giant plunge for mankind.
      NASA, as I said before, is a PR Agency. They hang out around Washington too much.

      .

    • by aberglas (991072)

      +1. Astronauts are obsolete technology, get over it. People may soon become obsolete for many other tasks as well.

    • by dk20 (914954)
      If a robot does it, who gets to claim the credit?
      • by rally2xs (1093023)

        If a robot does it, who gets to claim the credit?

        Especially important when the objective is to mine billions of dollars of natural resources out of an asteroid...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      When it's time for an asteroid mission, it will probably be robotic.

      ARM is primarily a robotic sample-return mission. The intent is to send a robotic system to intercept and literally bag a small, 5-7m, NEO asteroid, then using ion drive bring it almost all the way back to Earth.

      Only the actual sampling will be performed by humans, through slits in the bag with a pick'n'reach tool. Hence in order to create a destination for SLS/Orion that is within the system's incredibly limited capability, the asteroid will be returned to the highest orbit that the SLS/Orion system can re

    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      Send Bruce Willis.

      He's already trained and isn't doing us any good here on earth anyway.

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        Came for the Armageddon reference; left satisfied.

        • by mobby_6kl (668092)

          You're welcome! I actually came here expecting the most obvious joke to already be made, but nope. I guess if you really want something, you have to do it yourself :)

  • by turkeydance (1266624) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @07:16PM (#47546271)
    try Comcast.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The crew members also have Internet

    Who's going to watch porn when you're in closed quarters and with NASA monitoring what you watch?

    Serious question though, sex is a physical need, how is this addressed for astronauts?

    • Give the physiologic changes that microgravity brings, I'd be surprised if sex was even possible without some engineering and pharmaceutical assistance...

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      sex is a physical need, how is this addressed for astronauts?

      First, I'm afraid I can personally guarantee you that sex is NOT actually a physical need. Second, they're already astronauts, for heaven's sake! Do their sex lives really need enhancement? Fighter pilots and astronauts impress girls. Videogame programmers impress geeks. What was I thinking, damnit?

      • It's not strictly speaking a need, but it has a psychological effect. No-sex often makes for unhappy people. Even those without a partner tend to masturbate.

        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          Sigh... whoosh? Apparently, I also made a wise choice in becoming a programmer rather than an entertainer of any sort.

    • Just like the NSA here.

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @07:50PM (#47546437)
    This is kind of like sleeping in a tent in the back yard and pretending you're lost in the jungle. They've still got real-time communications for most things, and they can get materials in and out, so not really like being ten light minutes away at all.
    • Having spent many hours in trainers and simulators of varying levels of fidelity courtesy of Uncle Sam's Canoe Club - trust me, a low fidelity simulator is much better than none at all. You can still learn quite a bit.

  • Send teenagers + smartphones. Mission control = their parents. No one will notice anything.
  • by twistedcubic (577194) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:52PM (#47547055)
    I didn't know the moon was millions of kilometers away? By lunar orbit, do they mean some other planet's moon?
    • by Rich0 (548339)

      I didn't know the moon was millions of kilometers away? By lunar orbit, do they mean some other planet's moon?

      That has to be a mistake. Perhaps they meant 10 seconds? Even that seems pretty long for a lunar orbit - I think EME is only 2 seconds.

      10 minutes would be more like Mars I think (round-trip).

    • delay is for "deep space missions" by which they really mean the other side of 100 million miles.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday July 28, 2014 @01:38AM (#47547715)
    The anime "Space Brothers" recently had some NEEMO training episodes. They have advisors from NASA and JAXA so I wonder how closely that holds up to the real training.
  • Seriously, what did I miss? When did NASA get a man rated system?
  • I think they're training for the very real chance that we'll get hit by Apophis in 2036.

    http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/apophi... [nasa.gov]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2014 @12:17PM (#47550621)

    I worked at the Saturation Diving Facility (Aquarius) during a handful of NEEMO missions, and noted that in addition to the 'stated' mission plan here, NEEMO missions carry a great deal additional impact.

    Every Astronaut that did a stint at the ISS /after/ a NEEMO mission has described it as the closest analog to the station possible on the planet - the environment is hostile, the conditions and plans are in upheaval, and mission plans are designed to shake down astronaut candidates. Scott Carpenter was a participant in the SeaLab project - the world's first large scale scientific saturation diving project in Panama City in the early 60's, and attested loudly that living under the sea was by far more difficult than living in space. And, the depths they were at, help was a /long/ way away..

    Outreach is also a big objective. Astronaut candidates spend a lot of time doing telepresence with elementary schools, colleges, etc. One remarkable one I was around for was a threeway between the guys up in the space station, the team in Aquarius, and various elementary schools. We kept the connection up to let the ISS guys drive some ROVs on the seafloor over ip, which was fun and resulted in some superb procedure refinements for Aquarius and for the ISS.

    Living in Aquarius is challenging. Getting materials from home takes a few hours - and there's siginificant limitations to what can be brought down 'dry'. Getting the team to the surface takes 17 hours of decompression in the event of an incident - so the team has tremendous pressure to 'fix it yourself'. The facility is small, loud, uncomfortable, crowded, and needs continuous adjustment to maintain life support. The vistas are breathtaking, and the work intense. The reality of these matters carry a massive impact to the psychology of the candidates infinitely more than putting them in a big can down the hall in the surface. ;]

    And, running Aquarius is cheap compared to other aspects of Astronaut candidate training and other research! When I worked there, it was around $15k day.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.

Working...