NEEMO – the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project – sends groups of NASA employees and contractors to live in the Aquarius undersea research station for up to three weeks at a time. For NASA, Aquarius provides a convincing analog to space exploration, and NEEMO crewmembers experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater as they would in space.
Far beneath the waves of the Florida keys, an underwater laboratory called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks at a time. Owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Aquarius operates.
The laboratory is most often used by marine biologists, for whom Aquarius acts as home base as they study the coral reef, the fish and aquatic plants that live nearby and composition of the surrounding seawater. Aquarius houses sophisticated lab equipment and computers, enabling scientists to perform research and process samples without leaving their underwater facilities.
Since 2001, NEEMO has completed 14 missons, with 1 thru 13 primarily for astronaut training. NEEMO 14 tested equipment and operational concepts for space exploration. NEEMO 15.
The NASA NEEMO team is webcasting live from the NEEMO 15 mission beginning on Oct. 20, 2011, at the Aquarius undersea research laboratory in Key Largo, Florida. Watch the underwater dive cams, helmet cams, and buoy cams live! ustream