Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

Teams are evaluating how to train for lunar surface operations during Artemis missions, in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at Johnson Space Center in Houston. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA engineers are laying the foundation for the moonwalks the first woman and next man will conduct when they land on the lunar South Pole in 2024 as part of the Artemis program. At the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, teams are testing the tools and developing training approaches for lunar surface operations.

As part of a test series occurring in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) at Johnson, astronauts in a demonstration version of the exploration spacesuit and engineers in “hard hat” dive equipment are simulating several different tasks crew could do on the surface of the Moon.

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Learning to Live on the Moon

Astronauts training in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab in conditions simulating those on the moon. (Credit: NASA/Bill Brassard)

In NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, teams are in the early stages of evaluating how astronauts would live and work on the Moon.

In this image taken on Sept. 5, 2019, the teams are moving around, setting up habitats, collecting samples and deploying experiments as they will on the Moon, beginning with Artemis III in 2024. NASA astronauts wear weighted vests and backpacks to simulate walking on the Moon, which has one-sixth the gravity of Earth.

Astronauts Drew Feustel and Don Pettit are among those training in the massive pool, which is used primarily to train astronauts for spacewalks aboard the International Space Station.