Earlier this week, Canadian Jeremy Hansen returned from an intense seven day NASA mission. However, instead of bouncing around in space, the astronaut lived 62 feet under the sea (cue The Little Mermaid‘s Sebastian singing “Under the Sea”).
Hansen and six other crew members, including other astronauts, engineers and scientists, were tasked with living in the world’s only undersea research station in the Florida Key. NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) was created to simulate what it would be like to live in space for long-duration exploration missions. Super cool.
— Jeremy R. Hansen (@Astro_Jeremy) September 8, 2014
“It’s very much like a tin can at the bottom of the ocean,” Hansen said. “We were in tight quarters, working together as a team to accomplish a space mission. So to us we were doing simulated space walks as if we were on Martian gravity [and] we did some as if we were on an asteroid.”
If that isn’t cool enough, he also got to see creatures like spotted rays and tiny organisms on the ocean floor.
— Jeremy R. Hansen (@Astro_Jeremy) September 10, 2014
Now that he’s back on land, Hansen is already looking to the near future (up in the sky). Canadian astronauts will have to wait at least a few years until they get a chance to head to the International Space Station. Why? Well, NASA has said all flights there are are booked through to 2016. But Hansen is prepared to take the leap when the opportunity comes up — possibly in 2019 or 2020.