2017

Mission 1 - NEEMO XXII SeaTest Mission
Principal Investigator: Bill Todd, NASA/USF
Saturation: May 18-22
Total Days: 5
The dive EVA objectives included: Integrated EVA science operations (using the Coral in situ metabolism instrument, CISME); IV Support System (timeline tracking, EV crew real time tracking with "Navigator", Remote viewing of EV crew); Integrated Informatics (EVA Navigation & MCC crew tracking); EVA equipment transportation (testing modular tool transport system & small tool transport on EVA suit); Core sample acquisition (using UW drill for coral sampling); Testing of the UW tablet or iDive.

Mission 2 - Barrel Sponge Research
Principal Investigator: Joseph R. Pawlick, Ph.D., UNCW
Dates: 1-10 June 2017
Dr. Pawlick has been monitoring barrel sponges at Conch Reef since 1997. A major finding of this work has shown that although corals have steadily declined, barrel sponges have more than doubled. In June 2017 the group collected sponge tissue samples for genetic microbial analysis, investigated the role of sponges in cycling of carbon and nutrients on coral reefs, and deployed and tested the novel 3-D modeling imagery technique for quantifying the biomass of benthic organisms using GoPro video.

Mission 3 - NEEMO XXII
Principal Investigator: Bill Todd, NASA/USF
Saturation: June 18-27
Total Days: 10
NASA sent an international crew to Aquarius in July 2017 to prepare for future deep space missions during this 10-day NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 22 expedition which began on June 18, 2017. NEEMO 22 focused on both exploration spacewalks and objectives related to the International Space Station and deep space missions. As an analogue for future planetary science concepts and strategies, marine science was performed under the guidance of FIU marine scientists.

Mission 4 - U.S. Navy Operational Readiness Training Mission

Leg 1: July 12-17
Leg 2: July 21-26

U.S. Navy divers practiced an operational readiness training (scenario) about core drilling that lead to the collapse of a structure after an earthquake struck. Debris was spread out over a large area on the ocean bottom with the help of rebreathers, consistent with scenario requirements.

Mission Objectives

  • US Navy Operational Readiness Training (Scenario)
  • US Navy Dive teams set up a debris field consistent with scenario requirements
  • US Navy rebreather diving operations (Saturation)
  • Diver hand held underwater navigation and sonar system operations and training
  • Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) operations and training

First the UUV team ran several days of surveying the ocean bottom with the UUV, programming search patterns, and using sonar and go-pro videos to identify the debris field. Once the field was identified (called a TOI or target area of interest) data or information was passed on to the divers, and for several days the divers were expected to use hand-held navigation devices and hand-held sonar to find the objects identified by the UUV and then recovered them.