How do astronauts learn how to land on an asteroid? They practice under the sea.
Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Mike Gernhardt will discuss how the undersea environment has helped astronauts train for missions beyond the atmosphere during the next episode of “Classroom Under the Sea,” an online lecture series hosted by two educators living underwater for 73 days. The live program starts at 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, October 16. Viewers can watch at roanestate.edu/classroomunderthesea and on youtube.com/classroomunderthesea.
Biology professor Bruce Cantrell and adjunct professor Jessica Fain from Roane State Community College in East Tennessee are living and working in an underwater habitat—Jules’ Undersea Lodge on Key Largo in the Florida Keys—for 73 days. While in the habitat, Fain and Cantrell are hosting “Classroom Under the Sea,” presented by Roane State and the Marine Resources Development Foundation on Key Largo.
During the October 16 episode, Aldrin and Gernhardt will highlight how undersea simulations help astronauts prepare for journeys to asteroids and to Mars. Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, pioneered underwater training techniques.
Gernhardt, manager of the environmental physiology laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, has logged more than 43 days in space, including four spacewalks. Viewers are invited to tweet questions for Cantrell, Fain, or the guests to @ClassUnderSea or by using #ClassroomUndertheSea.
Laboratory lesson plans for each episode of “Classroom Under the Sea” can be downloaded free from roanestate.edu/classroomunderthesea. Teachers and parents are encouraged to download the lesson plans and conduct experiments with students.
All “Classroom Under the Sea” episodes have been made possible through the generous support of Diversity in Aquatics, the project’s official sponsor. To learn more about Diversity in Aquatics, please visit www.diversityinaquatics.com.
The October 16 episode is also sponsored by the Sun Chaser Project.
Classroom Under the Sea episodes continue each Thursday—excluding Thanksgiving—through December 11. Upcoming episodes include:
- Thursday, October 23, 1 p.m. EDT—”Fisheries: Prey and Predator”: The episode will address the devastating lionfish invasion and the famed, and misunderstood, shark.
- Thursday, October 30, 1 p.m. EDT—”The World of Art and Its Impact on Ocean Conservation”: Renowned marine life artist Wyland and underwater photographer Stephen Frink will share how the ocean influences their work and how they use art to show the fragility of the ocean.
- Thursday, November 6, 1 p.m. EST—”Marine Archaeology”: Marine archaeologists will discuss how explorers and scientists find cultural resources beneath the sea, preserve them, and reconstruct stories lost in the depths of the oceans.
Recordings of “Classroom Under the Sea” episodes are available on youtube.com/classroomunderthesea.
In addition to hosting the weekly programs, Cantrell is teaching an online college-credit course—BIOL 2600: Living and Working Under the Sea—for Roane State students.
During their stay, which ends December 15, Cantrell and Fain will also set a world record for the longest time spent living underwater.
For more information about the Classroom Under the Sea, visit roanestate.edu/classroomunderthesea.
Roane State is a two-year, 6200-student college with nine campuses in East Tennessee. For more information, visit roanestate.edu.
Located on Key Largo in the Florida Keys, the Marine Resources Development Foundation is a nonprofit organization with the goal of developing a better understanding of Earth’s marine resources. For more information, visit www.mrdf.org.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge was the undersea research habitat called “La Chalupa,” which Marine Resources Development Foundation operated from 1971-1976. Several missions were conducted in the habitat, including two at a depth of 100 feet. In 1986, the habitat started a new life as Jules’ Undersea Lodge, which is the only underwater hotel in the world and accessible to any recreational diver. Learn more at www.jul.com.
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