The Science Hour with Dr. Shirley Pomponi:  A Warm Up

Based out of: Fort Pierce, Florida (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University)

Known as: Research Professor, Ocean Explorer, and part-time Aquanaut

Part-time Aquanaut?!: In 2019, Dr. Pomponi was selected to participate in one of NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO), and live aboard the underwater laboratory Aquarius for 9 days.  The goal of NEEMO 23 was to test different organizational methods, equipment, and technologies that NASA could use to enhance future deep space missions.  Dr. Pomponi was also in charge of testing certain scientific techniques, such as sampling tools and protocols, that could be used in both her laboratory and in space.

What you’ll learn from the talk: What its like to live aboard the 400sq ft Aquarius, 19 meters below the surface, and what technologies were tested – from a new scheduling system to keep track of the aquanauts’ every moment, to a new device that efficiently and effectively collects samples without disrupting the environment, to exercise options for space travel.

Fun fact: During NEEMO 23, Dr. Pomponi and the crew spent half an hour communicating with the astronauts on the International Space Station.

Key Terms:

Analog mission: Activities that are done on earth to stimulate deep space environments.

NEEMO: NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, that sends groups of astronauts and scientists to the underwater laboratory Aquarius to prepare for future NASA space expeditions.

Aquanaut: Anyone that lives under water at depth pressure for more than 24 hours consecutively without returning to the surface.

Extravehicular and Intravehicular Activities (EVA and IVA): Activities that take place either within Aquarius (IVA) or outside the laboratory in the open water (EVA).

This event is for you if: You’re intrigued by the intersection of marine science and space travel, and want a glimpse into what training for deep space looks like. 

When: This talk has passed.  You can watch the recording here

This Science Hour is generously sponsored by the 1911 Trust and the James and Gale Bacon Family Trust.