Saturday, June 16, 2012

NEEMO 16- finale intern entry by Kaila Cappello

After the late night we had Wednesday, we were fortunately allowed to sleep in on Thursday and had our science team meeting at 1 pm. We discussed plans for the Deepworker dives to take place and planned our departure for the Lana Rose to be at 2 pm. This time, I went alone to the ship as the only one who knew how to deploy the Castaway and Sonde, and I was a little nervous that I might mess something up without help. When we got to the Lana Rose, I quickly hopped aboard and got the equipment ready before handing it off to the NUYTCO crew to mount them onto the subs and returning to the dock on the Latency.

                  When I returned to the science trailer, we waited around for a little while until the subs were to be deployed around 5 pm. When the dive started, we again  took notes as we saw targets of interest, and we scored the data and observation quality of the live feed we saw from Deepworker 6. About an hour into the flight, we lost connection with the sub and could no longer see or hear what was going on. An issue with the tether that kept us connected was identified, and the dive continued but without us being able to see anything. Since there was no more need for our support during the dive, we cleaned up the trailer a bit before heading to Sharkies for the night, a local bar and restaurant that draws a very unique motley of locals and tourists.

                  The next day we met at one of the condos of the Port Largo Villas to go over all of the video data of the dives. Similarly to what we did during the flights, we went over at least seven interesting parts of each flight video and scored the data and observation quality, as well as the science merit, and we assessed how much of each planned flight was completed.

                  After we finished up, we went over to the science trailer to gather and pack up all of the equipment and belongings that we brought and packed and labeled some sediment samples collected during one of the flights. After we got everything together, we relocated to the pool area for a barbecue for the science team and others involved in NEEMO 16. Afterwards, I was lucky enough to take part in an informal presentation by Dr. Paul Abell of NASA about the very real threat of asteroids and the importance in studying them and potentially traveling to one in the future. Listening to him speak made me incredibly envious of what he does for NASA and his incredible knowledge of space.

                  My week working with NASA unfortunately has come to an end, and I am unbelievably thankful that I got to be a part of this mission and be in the presence of such extraordinary people. I am both extremely thankful and jealous of the work that NASA, NOAA, and all of the other organizations and people involved in NEEMO do, and I hope that some of our paths will cross again in the future.

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