NASA is aiming for its second lunar manned mission by 2024. The space agency plans on landing the first-ever woman astronaut on Moon through its upcoming Artemis mission. In a bid to ensure that astronauts are prepared for lower gravity environment of the Moon, NASA is now using a huge water tank to prepare them for the challenges that arise while going into space.
In a recent blog post, the US space agency said that it is using its Neutral Buoyancy Lab which is located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for preparing potential astronauts. At the moment, the teams are in the early stages of evaluating how the astronauts would live and work on the Moon.
NASA also released a recent photo demonstrating on how astronauts use the facility in the blog. Astronauts Drew Feustel and Don Pettit are among those training in the giant water tank. The facility is primarily used for training the astronauts for spacewalks outside the International Space Station.
The US agency explained that the teams are moving around, setting up habitats, collecting samples and deploying experiments as they will on the Moon.
In the photograph, an entire team of divers can be seen helping in the simulated exercises. The astronaut in the picture is seen equipped with boots and gloves which closely match with what they wear during the moonwalks and spacewalks.
The space agency explained that its astronauts wear weighted vests and backpacks to simulate walking on the Moon, which has one-sixth the gravity of Earth.
To prepare for the 2024 Artemis mission, NASA has also recently given a $13.7 million contract to Advanced Space, an engineering services company based in Boulder, Colorado, for developing and operating a lunar orbital CubeSat mission that will be launched as early as December 2020.