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LIVE: Watch underwater “spacewalks” now!

Posted at 9:23 AM, Jun 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-13 10:00:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – If you think NASA is only about space exploration, then check out this LIVE video stream of undersea exploration (and training) happening right now at the Aquarius Reef Base! This base is currently in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. NASA explains why they are doing this mission today:
“NEEMO missions are performed at Aquarius because the isolation, constrained habitat and crew quarters, harsh environment and reduced gravity challenge aquanauts to perform mission operations despite extremely formidable conditions. Much like space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. NEEMO crew members experience some of the same challenges there that they would on a distant asteroid, planet or moon.”

CLICK HERE to watch live under the sea!

Here’s what the spacewalk looks like underwater:

IMAGE: NASA, Steve Squyres conducts an underwater spacewalk.

IMAGE: NASA, Steve Squyres conducts an underwater spacewalk.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). NASA says the mission of NEEMO is to send “groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists to live in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station, for up to three weeks at a time. The Aquarius habitat and its surroundings provide a convincing analog for space exploration.”

From NASA: “Aquarius is an underwater laboratory and home to scientists for missions up to 10 days long, but to call Aquarius a home is like calling the space shuttle Discovery a mode of transportation. Aquarius is made to withstand the pressure of ocean depths to 120 feet deep. Presently, Aquarius is located in a sand patch adjacent to deep coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, at a depth of 63 feet. The laboratory is attached to a baseplate that positions the underwater habitat (underwater laboratories are also called habitats) about 13 feet off the bottom. This means that the working depth of those inside the laboratory is about 50 feet deep. Located inside the 81–ton, 43 x 20 x 16.5–foot underwater laboratory are all the comforts of home: six bunks, a shower and toilet, instant hot water, a microwave, trash compactor, and a refrigerator even air conditioning and computers linked back to shore by a broadband wireless bridge by Motorola! Using Aquarius as a base for research diving expeditions definitely has its advantages. “

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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