10/27/2011 1:32 AM
NASA cancelled an underwater space simulation in the Florida Keys because of concerns involving Hurricane Rina. Six astronauts and scientists participating in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, also known as NEEMO, were evacuated earlier today.
The group had only been at the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory for five days of the 13-day simulation. NASA has said they will not be rescheduling the training. They were practicing operations and testing tools that are being developed for a human mission to an asteroid.
The underwater lab is about 400 square feet, anchored to the ocean floor near Key Largo.
The crew managed to squeeze in six underwater space walks and one day of scientific research before they were evacuated. Hurricane Rina was a late addition to this year’s hurricane season.
"Despite the length, we accomplished a significant amount of research," NASA project manager Bill Todd said in a statement.
The next NEEMO mission should be in the summer of 2012.