Before Deep Space, NASA Heads Deep Under Water : NPR
NASA may have retired its shuttles, but it has its sights on sending astronauts deeper into space than ever before.
These voyages are years away, but on Monday, astronauts are heading underwater to take part in a simulation that will help them figure out how they might explore one possible new destination: A near-Earth asteroid.
It’ll be the space agency’s 16th NEEMO expedition — NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations — commanded by astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger. She flew on one of the last space shuttle missions and even helped prepare Atlantis for its final launch.
“It was a very bittersweet time,” says Metcalf-Lindenburger, who really wants to go into space again. In the meantime, she’s commanding a four-person crew that’s putting on scuba gear instead of space suits. She says we all have to move on.
“Like in all things. I just had my daughter finish up her last day of preschool before she goes off to kindergarten. We have to shut chapters and begin new chapters and we had to do that in the space program too,” Metcalf-Lindenburger says.