Project Poseidon, a proposed 100-day undersea exploration and research expedition at Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea laboratory dedicated to science and education, owned and operated by Florida International University. If successful, Project Poseidon will surpass the world record for the longest mission conducted from an undersea habitat.
The two overarching objectives of the expedition are to conduct cross-disciplinary research across multiple, yet complementary fields of study, and to effectively communicate and disseminate the mission’s scientific findings through a comprehensive education and public outreach program. Expedition research activities will span the fields of ocean science, human health and performance, engineering, telemedicine, geospatial imaging, and space analog research. The proposed expedition research will be conducted in collaboration with academic, government, and/or commercial and private industry partners and collaborators.
Research activities for the first ~60 days will focus on human health, performance, and physiology in a confined space, extreme space analog environment. Notable research projects include: seafloor extravehicular activity functional task assessment, evaluation of candidate physiological monitoring system technologies for monitoring crew health and performance, changes in crew health and performance during a 100-day undersea space analog mission, Google Earth as an aide for identifying key seafloor topography during seafloor extravehicular activity, viability of an integrated exercise countermeasures and human health program in the confined space of an undersea habitat, and the use of remotely operated vehicle technology for seafloor extravehicular activity reconnaissance and planning.
The Project will also incorporate two novel mission outreach programs by filling the third and fourth crewmember slots with a scientist who is selected through the SeaSpace Research Institute’s “Scientist in the Sea” program, and a student or other “ambassador” to be selected through the mission’s “Science Ambassador” program. Potential visiting scientists and ambassadors will compete for one of these coveted slots (3-5, depending on final mission logistics) through a comprehensive application and selection process.
The research objectives for the Project Poseidon expedition are currently, but not limited to:
Develop operational handbooks and checklists for space analog missions using an undersea habitat research platform
Assess the viability for integrating exercise countermeasures hardware and an exercise countermeasures program into the Aquarius Reef Base habitat to simulate the confined space constraints of Mars conceptual habitats
Develop Mars Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) Work Day functional task battery to simulate potential Mars surface activities and to quantify the physiologic cost of the tasks
Engineering & hardware evaluation of prototype crew biomedical monitoring systems for use during undersea Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA)
Extra-Vehicular activity (EVA) reconnaissance techniques using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
Investigate varying degrees of crew autonomy and its effect(s) on efficiency and productivity during Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA)
Evaluate accuracy of Google mapping of remotely sensed imaging of seafloor topography
Facilitate educational and public outreach activities