The upcoming NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 12 (NEEMO 12) exercises off the coast of Florida will feature a team of clinicians studying new aspects of space medicine:
NASA will send a flight surgeon, two astronauts and a Cincinnati doctor into the ocean depths off the Florida coast May 7-18 to test space medicine concepts and moon-walking techniques. It is the first undersea mission to include a NASA flight surgeon.
Veteran space flyer Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper will lead the 12-day undersea mission aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aquarius Underwater Laboratory. NASA Flight Surgeon Josef Schmid, NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez and Dr. Tim Broderick of the University of Cincinnati complete the crew.
During the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 12 (NEEMO 12), the crew will conduct a variety of advanced medical technology experiments, including robotic telesurgery on simulated patients.
“Schmid’s unique experience in space medicine will benefit the mission itself as well as the future development of crew care techniques for long-duration human spaceflight missions,” said NEEMO Project Manager Bill Todd of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Hands-on telesurgery demonstrations and robotic telesurgery technology developed and refined within this mission will help surgeons overcome interplanetary communication lag time. Technologies such as surgeon-guided automatic robot function could improve the care of astronauts on future missions to the moon and Mars…
Similar in size to the International Space Station’s living quarters, Aquarius is the world’s only permanent underwater habitat and laboratory. The 45-foot long, 13-foot diameter complex is three miles off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, about 62 feet beneath the surface. A surface buoy provides connections for power, life support and communications. A shore-based control center monitors the habitat and crew.