The Medina Aquarius Program is dedicated to the study and preservation of marine ecosystems worldwide. As part of the FIU Marine Education and Research Initiative, the Program is enhancing the scope and impact of FIU on research, educational outreach, technology development, and professional training. At the heart of the program is the one-of-a-kind Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea research laboratory.
Deployed 60 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Aquarius is a globally significant asset that provides unparalleled means to study the ocean, test and develop state-of-the-art undersea technology, train specialized divers and astronauts, and engage the world's imagination. At Aquarius, scientists are at the cutting edge of research on coral reefs, ocean acidification, climate change, fisheries and the overall health of the oceans...Read More.
Navy divers will practice an operational readiness training scenario about core drilling that lead to the collapse of a structure after an earthquake struck, thus causing debris to be spread out over a large area on the ocean bottom. US Navy dive teams will use rebreathers to set up the debris field, program search patterns for an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle that will survey the bottom to identify the debris, and use hand held navigation and sonar systems to find and recover the debris.
During NEEMO 22 a team of FIU marine scientists and astronauts from NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency partnered with the Coral Restoration Foundation to create the world's deepest coral nursery 90 feet underwater. As coral reefs continue to decline it is more important than ever to study whether repopulating corals in deeper waters can be used to repopulate reefs in shallow water. For more details on this project please click the link in the title.
The 22nd NEEMO mission and 134th mission for Aquarius ended June 27 with “splashup” at 12:03 p.m. EDT, concluding another safe and successful mission. NEEMO's international crew is healthy, and all of their ISS, exploration and partner objectives for this mission were completed. (NEEMO 22 Status Report.)