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Fonte:  Motherboard,  di Becky Ferreira,  31 luglio 2015



It would be completely understandable for astronaut Luca Parmitano—the guy whose leaky helmet nearly drowned him during a 2013 spacewalk—to have developed some mild aquaphobia.

But instead, Parmitano has decided to up the stakes by straight-up living under the sea, proving once again that astronauts are unflinching badasses.

On July 20, Parmitano and his crewmates Serena Aunon (NASA astronaut), Norishige Kanai (JAXA astronaut-in-training), and David Coan (NASA spacewalk specialist) moved into the Aquarius laboratory, the only undersea research center in the world.

“Astronauts and a lot of water—my kind of environment!” said Parmitano in a statement, lightheartedly joking about that time he almost space-drowned. (Filed under: Why are Italian astronauts always so effortlessly cool?)

Located six kilometers off the coast of Key Largo and about 20 meters under the sea, Aquarius is the homebase for NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations). Both seasoned and rookie astronauts are sent to Aquarius to prepare for life in microgravity, and run experiments for future space missions.

“In my personal opinion, this is the most accurate [space] analog I’ve ever been in,” Parmitano said in a video interview from Aquarius, released today. “This one, just because of the conditions and because of the habitat itself, it is incredibly accurate. It really feels like you are on another planet.”

During the interview, Parmitano provides a recap of some of the experiments he and his crew have been conducting since their arrival. It’s worth watching the full seven minute exchange, just to marvel in the unbridled futurism of the devices on the way.

For example, the crew tested out augmented reality glasses capable of reacting to voice commands and producing holographic instructions, as well as experimenting with space texting—in other words, a very long distance data plan.

“NEEMO has been a fantastic experience so far, and we can only think that it’s going to get even better,” Parmitano said in the interview. And as if on cue, a school of fish swam by his porthole window.