NEEMO 20 crew
Since 20 July, the twentieth NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations campaign, or NEEMO 20, is underway. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, NASA astronauts Serena Aunon and David Coan and JAXA's Norishige Kanai are living and working in the Aquarius underwater research station off the coast of Florida, USA.
The crew is living and working almost 20 m underwater to test tools and techniques for spacewalks, as they venture outside the base in full scuba gear. By adjusting their buoyancy, the aquanauts can simulate the gravity levels found on the Moon, Mars and asteroids.
Space agencies are always looking for ways to prepare and train for spaceflight without leaving Earth. ESA sends astronauts underground in Sicilian caves and NASA goes underwater. Astronauts from all Space Station partners join to make the experience as realistic as possible – working efficiently and safely with a culturally diverse team is part of the package.
Left to right: NEEMO 20 commander Luca Parmitano (ESA), Serena Aunon (NASA), David Coan (NASA), Norishige Kanai, (JAXA). Inside the Aquarius station: Mark Hulsbeck (FIU) & Sean Moore (FIU)http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2015/07/NEEMO_20_crew
Image credit: NASA