NASA astronaut and local navy diver to discuss scientific similarities

By  | 

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - An officer from the local experimental diving unit organized a long-distance conversation on Saturday morning.

The plans were for French astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, to call Navy Master Diver, Eric Wilson, from the International Space Station.

Even though Wilson is currently in a 500 ft. dive simulation, and Pesquet is in space, technology like a helium de-scrambler allows them to communicate.

The call was postponed, but the two will be talking about similarities between working high above the Earth and deep down under water.

"So the similarities between saturation diving and space exploration is the physiological affects of gasses on the human body. So, the scientists can take what they learn from saturation diving and apply it to space, and vice versa," said David Meadows, NEDU Training Officer.

The Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City is home to the largest high-pressure simulation facility in the world.

"A lot of people from other countries and within our own military's come to us to do training and operational tests," said Meadows.

Saturation diving allows divers to work in greater depths, for longer periods of time.

Master diver Wilson is in the decompression phase of a dive intended for training and equipment testing.

Every 100 feet the divers go down, takes one full day to decompress and rise back up.

Just like astronauts, their bodies have to acclimate to different pressures.

"Going up into space, or going down into the water, the atmospheric pressures changes."

The simulation training is preparing the divers for classified underwater missions.

While the call didn't happen as scheduled, our local navy diver and astronaut Pesquet will try again within the next couple of days.

Stay tuned on WJHG.com for updates on the conversation.