NASA Artemis mission aims to send humans to the Moon in 2024. Ahead of the liftoff, the premier space agency is in full swing with preparations. NASA is helping astronauts prepare for various hardships they may face on the lunar surface, including their tread. This is why NASA astronauts are undergoing Moonwalk lessons underwater.
NASA Astronauts Moonwalk Underwater
As part of the training, NASA astronauts are performing tasks underwater. NASA has built giant pools customized with harsh environment settings similar to the Moon. The training takes place at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) at Johnson Space Center in Houston, where astronauts train in spacesuits and perform tasks like picking samples, examining the lunar lander, and even planting the American flag.
“This early testing will help determine the best compliment of facilities for hardware development and requirements for future Artemis training and missions. At the same time, we are going to be able to gather valuable feedback on spacewalk tools and procedures that will help inform some of the objectives for the missions,” said Daren Welsh, extravehicular activity test lead for the Artemis preparation test runs.
Going into the details, the NBL is at least 202 ft length, 102 ft width, and 40 ft depth – and can hold 6.2 million gallons of water. The teams have several factors to bear in mind during a Moonwalk – like climbing down and up the ladder, swinging a chisel, and so on.
Why Is It Important?
All astronaut training sessions are very important and critical for the mission. Welsh explains that the team “can evaluate tools in a lab or the rock yard, but you can learn so much when you put a pressurized spacesuit on and have to work within the limitations of its mobility.”
The Moonwalk underwater helps astronauts to understand the pressure, environment, and other factors they may face when they actually land on the Moon. The NASA Artemis mission is crucial for many future space exploration missions. NASA plans to liftoff to Mars from Moon, for which the Moonwalk will be extremely crucial.
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