Chile Miners: NASA to the Rescue (Source: ABC)
The vastness of space is very different from the claustrophobic darkness of a Chilean mine. But when 33 men became trapped in the earth, Chile’s government asked for help from NASA, an organization whose specialty is leaving the earth. The Chile experience has been a ray of light for NASA, whose people may feel they sometimes are trapped in darkness themselves. While the agency has expertise that helped in the mining drama — for instance, how to take care of people in confined places (like astronauts) — its primary mission (where to send those astronauts next) has been muddled, the subject of acrimonious debate between the Obama administration and members of Congress.
The space agency provided Chile with two doctors, a psychologist and a team of engineers who provided advice on how to design the miners’ escape capsule — the cramped tube, nicknamed “Phoenix,” that was used to pull the men, one by one, from the ground. Clinton Cragg, a former Navy submarine commander who now heads a NASA troubleshooting team, went to the mine site, returned to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, and assembled a team to draw up safety guidelines for Phoenix. (10/14)
NASA Officials: Recovery for Chilean Miners May Replicate Astronauts’ (Source: The Hill)
Chilean miners who are undergoing a rescue operation to bring them up from underground will benefit from health plans that are geared for astronauts, NASA officials said. The officials said that as they researched which aspects of the miners’ experience are similar to those of astronauts who return from space, the findings showed a significant number of qualities that translate. Special diets and care around refeeding are key for both groups, according to the officials. They added that Chilean authorities have done an outstanding job of preparing miners’ families for the return. (10/13)
Japan Space Agency Sent Chilean Miners Astronaut Underwear (Source: Asia One)
Japan’s space agency said it had sent special astronaut underwear for the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped deep underground for ten weeks, ahead of the rescue operation that kicked off Wednesday. The high-tech “space underwear” has special moisture and odor absorbent properties, said an official of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, although he said it was uncertain the men had actually chosen to wear it. “Originally, we were told the rescue was going to take much longer. Our package was handed over to the Chilean authority last Wednesday,” a JAXA official said. (10/13)