This summer NASA intends to send a crew to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in order to prepare for the next deep space mission NEEMO 20(NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) which will last 14 days and will begin on July 20.
The expedition will concentrate on analyzing techniques and tools which will be used in the future spacewalks on various surfaces and levels of gravity ranging from asteroids to the planet Mars and its moons.
The leader of the project NEEMO 20, Bill Todd, said that the team is very excited to begin this mission. The fact that they will have carried 20 missions in the Aquarius in the last 15 years is a great accomplishment for them. NEEMO missions are in fact the ones which best simulate spacecraft on Earth. Todd remarked:
“Living and working in the highly operational, isolated and extreme environment of the aquatic realm has provided significant science and engineering for the benefit of human spaceflight.”
NEEMO 20 will be led by Luca Parmitano (European Space Agency astronaut) and will be assisted by Serena Aunon (NASA astronaut), David Coan (EVA management office engineer at NASA) and Norishige Kanai from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
In 2013 Luca Parmitano was a crew member in Expeditions 36 to 37 on the International Space Station. He spent 166 days there in microgravity, where he collaborated with other astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS). Parmitano carried out two spacewalks during his first spaceflight.
The hardware will be sponsored by the ESA (European Space Agency) and it is developed in such a way that it will allow crew members to use a smartphone, a tablet and a head-mounted interface to interpret the procedures. So the members of the crew will not need to take their hands away from what they are doing or look away.
The expedition will test time delays in communication lines. Such delays can be caused by the distance at which the mission location will be.
Image Source: Aerospace Technology