NASA’s Incredible Underwater Moon Simulation Pool: The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

April 22, 2023
1 min read
Image credit: NASA

The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory has been transformed by NASA, into a replica of the moon’s surface to train future astronauts. A giant 6.2-million-gallon pool, the lab measures 202 by 102 feet. To experience simulated lunar gravity, astronauts will dive to a depth of 40 feet. Boulders, sand, & lighting that mimics the moon’s surface are parts of the lab.

A company contracted to build out the moon replica, V2X, is installing sand that mimics the lunar revolt to allow astronauts to traverse through the environment. Since 1992, the lab has trained hundreds of spacewalkers & is now changing to accommodate lunar training. To simulate spacewalks in a strictly monitored environment, the lab will be used efficiently.

There is a transformation of the lab into a practice zone for moonwalks. It’s an early stage of the underwater work, with prototypes of spacesuits & hardware, along with sand & landscape features like elevation. Commercial companies are expected to follow, as the Artemis program on the moon is expanding.

The CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Service), the agency-supported program, has payloads, landers, & rovers aiming to touch the surface as soon as this year. The demand is expected by V2X to grow quickly, & they want to be ready with their underwater moon world. In order to keep all participants safe & aware of the environment, the underwater work is being done carefully & procedurally.

Officials have emphasized that safety is top of mind in all these efforts. It’s being expected by V2X to supply an increasing number of private companies with underwater simulations as well. To make it feel like astronauts are actually walking on the moon, NASA is going the extra mile. Natural & artificial sand & boulders & prototype spacesuits, & lunar vehicles are included in the lab.

In the lab, the strange sun conditions on the moon are being simulated, including the lighting that NASA astronauts will face at the moon’s South Pole. NASA uses the pool for International Space Station missions, & early-stage work is going on by V2X to prepare part of the pool facility for moonwalks.

There will be a presence of harsh lighting at the Artemis program’s ideal landing location, the south pole of the moon, due to the sun’s low angle. The readiness of the V2X is guaranteed to supply an increasing number of private companies with underwater simulators.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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