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Many people dream of becoming astronauts, but very few truly have what it takes to make the cut. In 2002, as part of NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO-4)Dr. Jessica Meir participated in a five-day mission living underwater at FIU’s Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea research laboratory.

In 2015, Dr. Meir completed astronaut candidate training and is now prepared for future operations in space. Her first mission will be a six-month trip to the International Space Station in preparation of future deep space missions. NASA projects the first manned mission to Mars at some point in the 2030’s.

Aquarius helps prepare astronauts for space exploration through access to the undersea laboratory, which has served as a space flight analog since 2001. Analog research conducted aboard Aquarius is multidisciplinary and correlates directly to life aboard the International Space Station and an astronaut’s time in space. The extreme environment of life undersea is as close to being in space as possible as the human condition is studied to determine how man reacts to stress, sleep deprivation, confinement and isolation. At its root, the purpose of the NEEMO missions is team building.

Learn more about our Aquarius Aquanaut and her experience preparing for outer space.