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Aquarius - an Analog to Space Travel

"Living in Extreme Environments"

Join NASA Quest and the Distance Learning Outpost

June 19, 2003

View the Archive
Read the Transcript


Photo of Aquarius and link to site

Picture courtesy NOAA and UNC Wilmington. Aquarius images are 1999, University of North Carolina at Wilmington. All rights reserved. Aquarius is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and operated by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW).

See our calendar of events to participate in webcast or leave questions in the chat room prior to the event.

The world's only underwater laboratory

Join us live from underwater, off the coast of the Florida Keys, in a submersible deep-sea habitat called the Aquarius. NASA is interested in exploring the different ways this facility could help them understand and prepare for long-term space travel.

Living underwater parallels living in space in many ways. The time frame for missions involves long periods of time away from normal environments and families. Communication with others is not always immediate. In both environments one cannot readily come home. The Aquarius is also about the same size as many of the International Space Station (ISS) modules.

Our on-camera host, Sherri Jurls, and our studio guest, Experiment Support Scientist, Jessica Meir , will guide us through the hour.

NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO)

Using the similarities Aquarius has to the ISS, astronauts will be training in the habitat. During their stay on Aquarius, the astronauts will answer your questions live about their adventures in space and in the underwater habitat (and how they compare), while you are viewing live footage of the astronauts and the Aquarius at work. This will be NASA's fifth NEEMO mission.

Astronaut/Aquanaut Crew involved:

Photo of Peggy Whitson Photo of Garrett Reisman Photo of Clay Anderson
photo of emma hwang

Preparing for the Webcast

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare ahead. If you don't already have it, you will need software from Real.com to view and hear the webcast. RealPlayer 8 Basic is recommended for best webcast viewing on MAC's, RealOne Player for PC's. The players are free. For more information on this -- see How Do I Participate.

Next, you should try to look at some of the background information provided, especially the NASA expert's bio. Students can complete the Aquarius Construction Task II activity located on the Aquarius website. This is a construction-communication activity that simulates the actual underwater task the astronauts and aquanauts will be attempting during this mission on Aquarius. There is a set of written directions, materials, notes, and suggestions to make the activity more realistic and a set of illustrations to support the written directions. The activity takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Participating in the Webcast

If for some reason you cannot join us for the live webcast, you can input your question ahead of time, and then watch the archive later to see if your question was answered during the webcast. It's not near as cool as being there live, but it is very helpful when there are scheduling conflicts. Also, remember that all of our chat rooms are moderated.

See our calendar of events to participate in webcast, or leave questions in the chat room prior to the event.

More Info

To learn more about the history of Aquarius, and follow the missions and adventures of the world's only underwater laboratory, check out: http://www.uncwil.edu/nurc/aquarius/.

NASA expert Bill Todd has already had the opportunity to live and work aboard the Aquarius submersible deep-sea habitat. To learn more about his adventures, read his field journal.

Check out the archives from previous NEEMO webcasts:
October 2001 / May 2002 / July 2002 / September 2002

image to link to Aquarius home

Aquarius Partners

Who won the writing contest mentioned during the last webcast in May?
Find out and read the two grand prize winning entries!


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