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October 5, 2012
JSC2004-E-31293 (July 2004) --- Controllers Ed Van Cise and Karen Bush are seen at work in the Experimental Planning and Operations Center (ExPOC) during NEEM0 6. One of the unique things about NEEMO missions is the communication system used to allow aquanauts in the water off the Florida Keys to converse with a ‘mission control’ team (called the Advanced Operations Cadre), located in the ExPOC, near the Mission Control Center in Houston. The aquanauts wear wireless underwater communication units attached to a special full face mask that allows them to talk to each other, the habitat, and the ExPOC all while performing complex tasks in the water. For all of the EVAs, the ExPOC is monitoring the crew’s location and other vital information by talking directly with the crew. In order to characterize how these units perform in this environment, personnel developed a communications task where the aquanauts swim out to a specific area on the reef and perform a prescribed test protocol. Back in Houston, the ExPOC rates the quality of the communication and records the results. This exercise is analogous to the types of activities a newly arrived crew on the Moon or Mars might experience.

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