NASA evacuates astronauts from deep-sea training

Oct 26, 2011
This image obtained from NASA, shows NEEMO 15 crew members (R-L) NASA Astronaut and Commander Shannon Walker, Cornell University Professor of Astronomy Steve Squyres, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut David Saint-Jacques and JAXA astronaut Takuya Onishi on October 20 off Florida's east coast. NASA evacuated the crew of astronauts Wednesday from the underwater lab off the coast of Florida.

NASA evacuated a crew of astronauts Wednesday from an underwater lab off the coast of Florida where they were training for a trip to an asteroid, due to the approach of Hurricane Rina.

The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations team ended practice drills after five days of what was supposed to be a 13-day mission, the US space agency said.

"Despite the length, we accomplished a significant amount of research," said NEEMO Project Manager Bill Todd.

"We're already learning lessons from working in this environment."

NASA announced earlier that the crew was heading back to the surface.

"Hurricane Rina just a little too close for comfort," the US space agency said in a message on the microblogging site Twitter.

The crew includes Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, commander Shannon Walker of NASA, and Steve Squyres, an expert on planetary exploration at Cornell University in New York.

They were almost midway through their mission at the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory, the only undersea lab of its kind in the world located three miles (4.5 kilometers) off the coast of Key Largo, Florida.

The practice run aimed to help astronauts figure out how they would get around on a near gravity-free asteroid, a trip President Barack Obama has said could happen by 2025.

The crew performed "six underwater spacewalks and one day of scientific research inside the Aquarius habitat," NASA said.

Hurricane Rina, packing winds of 110 miles (175 kilometers) per hour, is a category two storm that is expected to make landfall near the sprawling resort city of Cancun on Thursday.

The next NEEMO mission is tentatively set for the summer of 2012, NASA said.

Explore further: Why is Venus so horrible?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Jet packs rule, say deep-sea astronauts

Oct 25, 2011

Battery-powered jet packs are definitely the best part of tooling around on the ocean floor in practice drills for an eventual visit to an asteroid, an international crew of astronauts said Monday.

NASA Undersea Mission Begins

Aug 07, 2007

Three astronauts and a Constellation Program aerospace engineer began a 10-day NASA mission in the ocean depths off the Florida coast Aug. 6. They will test lunar exploration concepts and a suite of long-duration ...

Astronomer Squyres becomes NASA aquanaut

Oct 21, 2011

Cornell professor of astronomy Steven Squyres, the lead scientist for NASA's Rover mission to Mars, has just taken the plunge as a NASA aquanaut.

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

8 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

15 hours ago

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

18 hours ago

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

18 hours ago

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

19 hours ago

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.