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NASA Space Habitat Research Goes Undersea

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the over-and-under dept.

NASA 55

PSandusky writes "NASA is preparing to make use of Aquarius, the underwater laboratory off Key Largo, for an extended period of time to research the effects of isolation in habitats situated in extreme environments. Planned areas of research include extravehicular activity logistics and crew health and performance. According to NASA's factsheet (PDF), the mission will include some communication with schools and social media sites. "

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Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32105948)

There's a whole ocean of oil down there!

Soon.

This is news??? (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106012)

This is news? I thought NASA has been doing underwater habitat isolation studies for years.

Re:This is news??? (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106066)

And why go underwater? Facebook security [techcrunch.com] conventions should get you the requisite amount of isolation to practice for deep space travel!

Re:This is news??? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106104)

And why go underwater?

Because it's one of the few places you can go without seeing niggers. THAT is one hell of a fucking selling point right there.

Re:This is news??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106410)

what is wrong with you

Re:This is news??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106706)

There just isn't enough troll spray in the world to get rid of you people is there.

Thankfully you are full of fail, troll, and will continue to fail no matter how hard you try.

Re:This is news??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32107540)

GNAA 43\/41111!

Re:This is news??? (1, Funny)

sillybilly (668960) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106734)

Space is no hiding place from an artificial AI with stronger intelligence than humans, that's full steam ahead to getting developped, and it's practically impossible to avoid. There is talk about the "awakening" of the universe, how that era is unavoidable, how everything is going to be interconnected and intelligent like a Borg cube. Where does such a world leave humans? Humans may be fugitives from hunters with stronger AI than them, similar to how deer and rabbits run from us. But even deer and rabbits can escape, if they hide sufficiently well - stronger AI does not automatically mean total domination. In the jungle there are predators and prey, and having the status of prey or even a nuisance, does not automatically mean extinction. Humans, through their own monkeying, will almost inevitably create robotic beings higher up the foodchain than themselves. If not in 50 years, then in 50 million. It's only a matter of time. Under such circumstances one has to come to terms with no longer being on top, with being prey, and act accordingly. Empty space is no hiding place from strong AI, but the depths of Jupiter's hydrogen ocean, the thick clouds of Venus, and especially the deep oceans of Earth, could be. Just as we don't go and try to hunt down every deer and rabbit there is in the world, stronger AI beings may decide it's not worth it to seek us out under difficult circumstances. One still has to beware "cleansing" of areas similar to how we cleanse the ocean of all vertebrate life with our super efficient fishing nets. AI might do such a thing, and places we though were good hiding places, might end up on their radar screen, and that's bad luck for us. By analogy, we don't hunt hienas and sharks for food, we share the world with them going after the same food, but if they get caught in the way, or in our fishing nets, that's bad luck for them. The good strategy of prey, or lower on the foodchain predator, is to strive to stay off the radar screen of the top predator. Sometimes simple camouflage works, not because it's super efficient and super smart, but it's good enough to be not worth the effort to seek. But all one needs is an infrared camera on a cold night, and all of the sudden camouflaging beings glow. So one can try, but outsmarting, out-tricking the defense tricks may be retardedly simplistic. But there are certain things, such as how some snake venom's work, how life works, that's a mystery to us, there are certain things that even stronger AI than us would not know, understand and control. Just because they'd be smarter, it does not mean they would know everything. Unless they keep creating smarter AI, turning themselves into prey too, to the point where basic laws of physics might be changed, and we'd see really strange space warping ball lightning phenomena maybe more frequently, and just try to stay out of the way. Maybe, unlike to Moore's law, there may be a natural ceiling to intelligence, something we cannot understand why right now, and then everything might be in equilibrium, humans down from the top of the food chain 3 levels or 5 levels, or something similar. If anything, one would hope that the higher intelligence AI will value variety and natural conservation, and view us as integral part of their ecosystem, and maintain our population. However climate control of the Earth, to make sure it keeps functioning well, would probably end up in their hands.

NASA is doing the right thing by exploring Captain Nemo worlds. The barren surface of the Moon, Mars, and the emptiness of space is not a security zone to hide and ensure the survival of humanity in face of stronger AI, but underground tunnels on the Moon, Mars, deep waters of Earth, thick clouds and unforgiving climates of Venus may be. The worse and more unforgiving a zone is for comfortable life, the more security it poses in view of it being less tempting as a resource to higher AI. Extremophile bacteria can survive in regular environments too, but should they be under extreme attack, they can also survive in places where no other beings can go after them.

Re:This is news??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32108548)

There, there ... OK, are you feeling better now?

Re:This is news??? (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107510)

And why go underwater? Facebook security [techcrunch.com] conventions should get you the requisite amount of isolation to practice for deep space travel!

Simple, because it's actually a hostile environment if you're not careful, and because for any space-suit training, it's the closest thing to low gravity we can simulate.

When you're trying to seriously evaluate how you would handle an extreme environment, you don't just run around playing make-believe.

Air locks and the associated protocols are important both under water and in space.

Re:This is news??? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106200)

Plus isn't it being done, and even in a "better" way, on...the ISS?

Re:This is news??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106330)

If by "better" you mean much more limited sample size, much more expensive, and much less opportunity to study "extravehicular activity logistics" (per TFS), then yes.

Your Sig Is Stupid ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106496)

... because the word is "utter" not "otter". It's 37 fucking characters counting spaces. Is that too much for you to proofread? Can't you jackasses get anything right?

Re:Your Sig Is Stupid ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32107736)

... because the word is "utter" not "otter". It's 37 fucking characters counting spaces. Is that too much for you to proofread? Can't you jackasses get anything right?

Wow. AC. Troll. Woosh. All in one post. Fairly impressive.

Re:This is news??? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106514)

Yeah, you tell em. Multiple studies are redundant. It's like they tell you what you already know!

Re:This is news??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106542)

Sure have, that whole "World of Warcraft" experiment turned out great!

Re:This is news??? (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106626)

I thought NASA has been doing underwater habitat isolation studies for years.

They got new money. No space program = lets spend money on other cool stuff.

Sealab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106076)

"If you're looking for me, you'd better check under the sea, because that is where you'll find me: underneath the Sea - lab... underneath the water. Sealab, at the bottom of the sea."

This is RIDICULOUS! (4, Informative)

john.r.strohm (586791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106108)

It has been DONE.

Tektite I, in 1969, put four men in a habitat, and kept them there, for over 58 days. That was a record at the time. They were working during the dive, doing excursions. During Tektite II, multiple 10-20 day missions were carried out. NASA was involved in those.

A significant portion of the work in the Tektite projects was looking at human factors, specifically including psychology. Dr. Bob Helmreich of UT Austin was involved. (He was also the UT SCUBA club faculty sponsor for several years.)

Aquarius is 62' down. My recollection was that Tektite was at 45', that being the deepest you can use air for long-term saturation without risking whole-body oxygen toxicity issues.

There is NOTHING being done here that couldn't be done on dry land. ESA and the Russians are doing a similar project, all indoors in a big warehouse. Much of what they want to learn, about isolation psychology, they SHOULD be learning from the International Space Station, since they have crews spending much longer periods aboard ISS.

I don't like to put NASA down, but THIS project is a waste of time and money.

Your awfully short sighted. (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106250)

Putting people in an environment that consists of a low mistake tolerance adds different pressures to the test.

ON land and something goes wrong, then you are likely to survive, and the people in the test know this.
Put it underwater, then they know if something goes wrong they are probably going to die.
Because it's on earth, you can do this test longer then you can on the ISS.
You don't have to worry about the issues that arise from weightlessness.

This project tis needed to help understand the effect of long term space travel.

FYI they do collect day on the effects of being in the ISS.

I hope they also use the team member to start testing way t deal with other world liquid water environments.

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (5, Informative)

criptic08 (1255326) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106372)

As a precision to the parent's correct post, Warehouse isolation studies are referred to as simulations while these underwater tests are analogs. Analogs include unreproducible stresses found in real conditions (underwater and polar stations mainly) unlike simulations. The distinction is crucial when studying isolation psychology and psychiatry.

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106570)

I dont think there are extra stress--OMG WHY DID U EAT THE LAST SNICKERS BAR WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE.

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. (heh, isnt that the point?)

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32107856)

but all caps hurts my ears!!!!1

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32108282)

Well your heavy metal music hurts my eyes!!

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (2, Interesting)

Wingnut5 (949115) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107320)

Well, the US Navy has been doing this more or less since 1954 with the launching of the USS Nautilus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nautilus_(SSN-571)) [wikipedia.org] Round the world submerged with the USS Triton (SSRN/SSN-586), the first vessel to execute a submerged circumnavigation of the Earth (Operation Sandblast) in early 1960. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Triton_%28SSRN-586%29) And with many other boats and submariners. Meets all the requirements that nasa is more or less looking for : adventurer, boredom, excitement, a little terror at times. Nothing like taking a boat out after a shipyard overhaul and taking it down to its test depth while listening to the hull compress with the pressure. Yep, a lot of data there

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107966)

Putting people in an environment that consists of a low mistake tolerance adds different pressures to the test.

ON land and something goes wrong, then you are likely to survive, and the people in the test know this. Put it underwater, then they know if something goes wrong they are probably going to die.

No the GP is not shortsighted, he is right. This has been done before and on a grander scale.

I don't think that 62 feet of water between you and safety really qualifies as stress.

If you want to really test stress, you put people somewhere they won't get out of alive if something goes wrong... like in space or REALLY deep underwater.

And you don't do it for 14 days, you do it for months. We've got a space station in orbit. Shit, we have the moon in orbit too. Why are we fucking around with dinky experiments 14 meters underwater when we did this 30 years ago?!?!?!?!

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32108162)

I don't think that 62 feet of water between you and safety really qualifies as stress.

It qualifies as if you fuck up in certain ways, then you die.

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32109766)

heh, bull

just because, if i step out of my tent set up in the backyard to go and get some milk, i fail to notice a car barreling down on me, it can kill me, doesnt make camping in the backyard a valid simulation of space travel.

62 feet down is shallow enough that you can survive travel to the surface without any diving equipment, go a tiny bit deeper and the bends might kick in, but i would assume support vessels will be closeby anyway

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32110372)

62 feet down is shallow enough that you can survive travel to the surface without any diving equipment, go a tiny bit deeper and the bends might kick in, but i would assume support vessels will be closeby anyway

And I'm sure those support ships can raise you from the dead when you die either from drowning or injury due to a object propelled by the pressure of 62 feet of water. On this last point, even if the atmosphere of the habitat is kept at the same pressure as the outside, air is far less dense than water. You'll get all sorts of nasty dynamics, which can easily kill a person, any time a rupture occurs. As I said before, which remains true, there are a number of ways, which I might add are much more likely than accidentally getting run over in the backyard, of dying in such an environment which wouldn't be present in some warehouse.

Re:Your awfully short sighted. (1)

DeanPentcheff (103656) | more than 4 years ago | (#32113102)

You will want to Google "saturation diving". After a day at 65 feet you do not come to the surface without extensive decompression or you'll be very very ill/dead.

In Aquarius, the drill is that you are essentially cave-diving -- you can't come up if things go wrong. You swim with redundant equipment, there are air "shelters" available at depth for emergencies. The surface is not your friend after the first day.

And NASA has been doing exactly this kind of astronaut training with Aquarius for, oh, about 10 years (why this is a news story today is unclear). Apparently their experience is that it is a good use of training time and money. It's actually fairly cheap: very roughly US$10,000/day to run (yes, that is cheap on the scale of major agency expenses).

Re:This is RIDICULOUS! (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32108050)

2/10 for the outrage, you are let down by lack of car analogy

Re:This is RIDICULOUS! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32109374)

"There is NOTHING being done here that couldn't be done on dry land."

The psychological impact of:
'spring a leak and you die'
'check your seams or you die'
etc

is harder to do on dry land.

Those who don't get it might actually die and teach a valuable lesson to the others.

Re:This is RIDICULOUS! (1)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32110762)

And it continues to be done Dennis Chamberland [motherboard.tv] has been designing these things for a while. He is heading up some sort of expedition to start an undersea colony [underseacolony.com] .

Why wouldn't they at least get some commercial industry advice instead of re-inventing the wheel. It seems a bit of a waste of money in my opinion.

Well, I heard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106134)

NASA is going to make a giant underwater sports facility. So huge, it could host 20,000 leagues under the sea.

This was expected (-1, Troll)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106194)

With NASA's budget going down, this was bound to happen.

And hey, since there's now oil under water, maybe the USA army could fund part of the operation! Let's free the dolphins from those evil sharks!

In other news, octopuses all around the planet are planning to sue Transocean Ltd for patent infringement.

Re:This was expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106918)

Hey... do you think there's any way that NASA could convert a decommissioned shuttle and sell it to BP?

Re:This was expected (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107296)

Dear sir,

Your post is shit. Stop it.

Life imitating art.... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106270)

Wasn't this an Asimov short story?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterclap

It's Been Done (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106308)

They should just go study these folks [southpolestation.com] . It's definitely and isolated, extreme environment.

Re:It's Been Done (1)

Brucutus (1713960) | more than 4 years ago | (#32111064)

Adult Swim even showed an animated version of what would happen called SeaLab 2021 [wikipedia.org] . Doesn't turn out too good for the crew most of the time.

Re:It's Been Done (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32112256)

Can the breath if there is a crack in there shelter? yes? then probably not the same thing.

And Caves would be better (1)

Yergle143 (848772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106322)

This has clearly been done.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/21/AR2009092103723.html [washingtonpost.com]

A waste of precious NASA bucks better spent on robots (and I mean robots to help the manned program).

And the "isolation" aspect is just bunk -- resource more for deep space transmission of e-mail and skype and the astronauts will be begging to be left alone.

Um, hello? (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106332)

This has already been done. Have you people never heard of Atlantis?

Re:Um, hello? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107646)

Yeah but the problem is they can't activate it any more. The zero point module died.

They should be communicating with schools of FISH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106370)

They should be communicating with schools of FISH $

This is the dawning (1)

atheistmonk (1268392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32106640)

of the age of Aquarius!

fuckeR (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32106860)

one Here b0t now discuusions on never heeded project somewhere

Idea #1 (1)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107548)

Put this deep sea station inmthe Gulf of Mexico, say near a particular disaster...

And help that pitiful corporation fix the mess!

Maybe they can answer (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107634)

Maybe they can finally definitively answer the questions I know are on everyone's mind here:

Who really lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Can they in fact all live in a yellow submarine?
Is there really an octopus's garden in the shade, and would he let them in, and know where they've been?

hi (0, Troll)

janejordan (1805290) | more than 4 years ago | (#32107752)

This is creepy, wierd and I am being forced to read it as a class assignment! I think it is gross and repulsive. ewwwwww!! Croatia Accommodation Map [welcome-to-croatia.com]

Can't believe NASA is sinking money into this... (2, Funny)

tehIvyn (1109851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32108654)

But then again, they've been sinking a lot lately.

Hit the road Jack. (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32109112)

I think Arnold had it right when he was talking to himself. "Get your ass to Mars...get your ass to Mars...get your ass to Mars...get your ass to Mars......

Anyplace really would be fine. Lagrange points, the moon, an asteroid I don't give a shit anymore. Pick a destination and let's hit the road. NASA has been like a WOW gamer shut-in for the last few years. Sure they've made a lot of friends, got some real good screen shots, and some phat loot, but they haven't done much of anything else in the really real world.

Send astronauts, robots(not just 1 or 2 little ones, try 100's), or go colonial and send religious fanatics, criminals, etc. Let's get going!

Re:Hit the road Jack. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32112388)

It's not NASA, it's Congress that is tying their hands. Get them more money. They would love to send more robots, explore more places.
We have a place in the solar system that probably has liquid water. THAT should be our primary goal. Get there, find out if there is a sea of liquad water, investigate it. From what we know right now, there is a good chance life is their, and not just microbial.

That's all we need. (1)

Adustust (1650351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32110300)

All they need to do is send someone to Mars, all alone and with a few HD cameras. Have him send his footage back to be edited by the same folks who make Survivor Man, and Voila, instant Mars reality TV. Even if the more scientific community doesn't agree, it would definitely get more attention by people who currently don't follow anything space related. Probably creating a better atmosphere for commercial opportunity, too. Hell, I'd watch it.
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