Former NEEMO aquanaut, NASA astronaut visits Aquarius

Cady Coleman

Before it was temporarily closed due to the pandemic, retired astronaut Cady Coleman visited the Aquarius Reef Base command center to reflect and appreciate the evolution of sea and space explorers, and her own previous mission aboard the world’s only undersea research lab.

Since 1993, Aquarius Reef Base has supported more than 120 missions for researchers to explore how to save coral reefs, for astronauts to train for missions in space and more.

In 2004, Coleman and a team of astronauts lived aboard Aquarius for 11 days during the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations expedition NEEMO 7. The team performed dives and sampled and monitored the environment around the underwater habitat.

Coupled with its unique capabilities, Aquarius is one of few sites ideal for undersea equipment testing and training for study and exploration in extreme environments such as space.

In part because of Aquarius and the research conducted there, FIU has been ranked No. 9 in the world for positive impact on life below water by The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. The university ranked third in the United States and is the only institution in the state of Florida to make the list.

To read the news story by Susan Karlin, visit Fast Company.