NEEMO Just Got A Lot Cooler

Image above: NEEMO 11 crew member works near the undersea habitat “Aquarius” during a session of extravehicular activity for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project. Image credit: NASA

Nemo is some cute cuddly fish for children and Disney wallets. NEEMO on the other hand although also based in Florida is much better. NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project sends groups of NASA employees and contractors to live in Aquarius, an undersea laboratory 62 feet down off Key Largo owned by NOAA, for up to three weeks at a time. Aquarius provides a platform to train people to meet the challenges of isolation, logistics, and exploration similar to those experienced in space exploration. Aquarius is also approximately the same size as the International Space Station.

NEEMO already has 12 expeditions you can read about. The next one, lucky 13, starts on August 6 lasting to the 15th. NASA will send three astronauts and a Constellation Program aerospace engineer into the ocean depths to test lunar exploration concepts and a suite of medical objectives for long-duration spaceflight. “This autonomous mode of operation will encourage the crew to make real-time decisions about daily operations similar to what we think will be necessary for lunar and Mars missions. The idea is to show how procedures and training for future missions can be adapted, considering the reduced direct communication with mission control those crews will encounter,” Todd said.

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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