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NASA Science

NASA's Underwater Training Facility 55

An anonymous reader writes "The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project (NEEMO) sends groups of NASA employees and contractors to live in the Aquarius underwater laboratory for up to three weeks to study human survival in preparation for future space exploration. NASA has used it since 2001 for a number of missions, usually lasting 10 to 14 days, with research conducted by astronauts and others NASA employees."
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NASA's Underwater Training Facility

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  • What was that done on a 386? looks like a cut scene from a playstation 1 game

  • Because if they do, we might all be subject to Operation Finding NEEMO

  • Playing in the water instead of developing technology needed to make space life sustainable. NASA should be more like the LHC and less like a playground.
  • the final frontier!

    • Even the not-so-deep-space is a frontier to us...heck, 40 years and we didn't even make it past the moon...hell, we didn't even make it back to the moon!
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @02:13PM (#36134344) Homepage Journal

    I'd like to see a lab like this support operations in deepwater commercial activities like exploration and drilling. When BP's Macondo well exploded on the Gulf floor last year, we all learned suddenly that BP and the oil industry was unprepared for what is an obvious risk in that business. NASA's research should give us much better remote vehicles for monitoring and taking control of undersea operations. Establish normal monitoring to reduce risk and stop catastrophes as they barely get started. Supply technology, techniques and qualified staff during a breakdown. And deliver forensics after a breakdown to assign liability and strategies for recovery.

    The $4B+ the Federal government gifts the 5 biggest petrocorps each year would be better spent improving NASA's undersea research to benefit that industry and protect it all from its damages. And in fact that $4B+ should be paid for by the industry, using a small fraction of its current profits (and an even tinier fraction of its gross revenues). $4-8B spent on NASA's underwater research would give us the skills we need to colonize and exploit the seas sustainably, instead of the nearly blind, haphazard and disastrous way we're doing it now.

    The oil corps have proven over and again they're never going to do disaster preparedness and mitigation on their own. NASA is as usual spending public money in one of the best investments of all time. The match in NASA filling that vacuum is compelling.

    • by MrQuacker ( 1938262 ) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @02:19PM (#36134368)
      Wouldn't that duty fall under NOAA though? NASA only does this because water is a suitable analog for the vacuum of space. For actual hydrological research, NOAA would be the logical administration to conduct it.
      • It'd be a lot easier to get funding if you just did it as military research. Of course, a lot more of the funding would go into private pockets in that case...

      • Except that NASA's got better technology for longterm human occupation of undersea environments, and better technology for automated human operations in inaccessible environments, and better technology overall. As well as a better track record in tech transfer to industry for boosting the US economy and industrial capabilities.

        • Except that NASA's got better technology for longterm human occupation of undersea environments

          Which is pretty much irrelevant as no human is going to be living at the depths involved.

          better technology for automated human operations in inaccessible environments

          You do realize that "automated operations" and "human operations" are pretty much mutually exclusive don't you? But anyways, for remote supervising of humans, NASA has nothing that anyone else doesn't have. For remote supervision of automate

      • NASA only does this because water is a suitable analog for the vacuum of space.



        It's by no means a perfect analog though. Water has substantial viscosity so that if you lose contact with your work site/ object, you can swim back to it. Not an issue in a training-without-killing scenario, but it is going to affect training. Also, the stiffness of suit joints is a major issue in soace, not helped by the pressure differential between inside and outside of the suit ; this

    • Did you miss the dozen or so 10 foot high underwater robots [] working on the spill?
      • by maxume ( 22995 )

        No no, the NASA lab under 100 feet of water is far more instructive than decades worth of actual experience building robots for operation under thousands of feet of water.

        • Yeah, I saw months of underwater robots working extremely poorly on the spill. I'd like to see them work a lot better. NASA has a much better track record than the oil industry that threw those inadequate robots at the predictable problem.

          • by IrquiM ( 471313 )
            NASA wouldn't have been able to fix them. Actually, NASA is working together with the companies making those robots, build on each others experience and improve both NASA's robotic equipment and the sub-sea support ROVs.
            • Oh, I see. According to you, NASA is both not competent to do the job, and competently doing the job.

              You'll probably counter that NASA needs the private industry's help to do it. But of course that would be NASA's option if it were doing what I said, which you refuse to accept.

              What you said is nonsense. Stop posting until you can at least make sense.


          • by maxume ( 22995 )

            I would pin the problem on there not being any standing capabilities intended for when the blow out preventer fails.

            So sure, they would benefit from more robotic capabilities, but their capture solutions were waaaay to improvised, removing part of the stack and clamping on should be an eventuality that is engineered into the system.

  • Underwear? (Score:4, Funny)

    by MrQuacker ( 1938262 ) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @02:16PM (#36134352)
    I read the title as the "Underwear Training Facility". Damn, NASA sure are thorough in their training.
  • Build a mock space station put it in a building that will fit it then suck all the air out of the container building. Then see if they open the door. It would probable be a lot cheaper. Or they could use the container building to sequester carbon either way can't open the door and it would help offset are the carbon NASA creates.
    • by tele ( 246082 )

      > then suck all the air out of the container building

      Which actually represents the difficult part. Besides that, the underwater facility allows for testing of equipment as well as humans under harsh conditions.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      as long as they use that new graphene based nano tube gravity vacuum while they're sucking the air out.

  • Brought to you by the Redundancy Department of Redundancy.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Fail reply is fail.

      "Aquarius" is a proper noun in this case, so it's not redundant with the descriptive term "underwater". Also, Aquarius could be a reference to the astrological sign, which would make sense given this is a space program. Would you have said the same thing about the Gemini program if the astronauts had always gone up in pairs.

      It is also worth noting that Aquarius is an air sign, not a water sign as you would expect.

      • the Gemini program if the astronauts had always gone up in pairs.

        Remind me to never go an any mission named Scorpio... <shudder>

  • Does it always have Aerosmith music playing in the background?
  • "NASA's Underwear Training Facility?"

    need more coffee.....

    hey, it would explain that whacko astronut chick's diaper wearing death drive a few years back....

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