HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

NASA astronauts are restoring Florida Keys reefs while training for deep space missions

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 4:50 PM

click image PHOTO VIA NASA ANALOGS/FLICKR
Later this month, astronauts and crew members from NASA and the European Space Agency will begin an expedition that seeks to both train the crews for space and restore some of the state's damaged coral reefs.

In an underwater habitat near the Florida Keys, the crews will build and install a series of underwater coral tree nurseries as part of a group collaboration with the Coral Restoration Foundation and Florida International University. The expedition – the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 23, or NEEMO 23 – is expected to take 10 days, according to a press release from Coral Restoration Foundation.



The coral tree structures developed by the Coral Restoration Foundation are used worldwide as a means of growing large amounts of coral at a fast and efficient pace, the release notes.

"The nurseries that are being set up as part of NEEMO 23 are being established in environments that are very different from the nurseries that we have already," Alice Grainger, communications director at the Coral Restoration Foundation, tells Orlando Weekly.

Grainger adds: "The water is deeper, there are different communities of fish and marine life, and the light conditions are different."

She says the project is important because it provides an opportunity to better understand how different genotypes cope in varying environments.

The process will help to rehabilitate the underwater ecosystem, as well as further train the astronauts to work – to use tools and vehicles to compete different tasks – in an environment similar to deep space.

After the project is complete, the coral tree nursery will be maintained by FIU, who will use the coral to study nutrient and herbivory rates.

"This is all important data that will guide our restoration work, ensuring that we have the best possible chance of saving our disappearing coral reefs," says Amelia Moura, the space program manager at the Coral Restoration Foundation, in the release.

For more information on the Coral Restoration Foundation, click here.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation