It's daunting trying to write and comprehend everything that's happened today. Arrived, Alive and Well Underwater is below. It's almost unreal. I've imagined today, descending to Aquarius as a home underwater, over and over, and -- after training and hearing of other's experiences, I imagined it pretty much exactly as it was. Nothing was much of a surprise, except for maybe the slight butterflies in my stomach. In the image left, I had just made my bunk and was viewing fish from the viewport. A shark swam by right after I snapped this photo.
Unwrapping the camera housing felt like unwrapping a birthday gift. Billy, Brian, and Mike from our production team stayed up with me to gawk over the camera and housing. It's really a special piece of equipment. Doc Edgerton from MIT was with Jacques Cousteau on Calypso in 1954, and now as an MIT alum, I'm in Aquarius using Edgertronic with Fabien Cousteau in 2014! Lot's of history being made here.
Before sending it underwater, I wanted to make sure, once again, that I understand the ins-and-outs of the Edgertronic camera and housing. Fortunately Sexton, the maker of the the underwater casing, thoroughly tested the case for us, and made everything as user-friendly as possible.
Northeastern Professors Mark Patterson and Brian Helmuth, both former aquanauts, and their graduate students joined us yesterday for dinner, and this morning they waved us "bon voyage" from the dock at 7:30AM. They'll be in the water with us, conducting research via surface dives (about 45 minutes to avoid need to decompress), for the remainder of the mission. In addition, we're in regular communication about research procedures and goals. Liz and I enjoyed the wind and sun on the boat ride out to our new home.
AQUANAUTS SEE THE SUN ... NO TURNING BACK
Adam was the first to resurface. He arrived with arms open, in the victory pose. I can't imagine what it must be like to finally feel the sun and breath air from an endless sky after over two weeks. I'll know what that's like soon enough, however. We gave all the returning aquanauts (i.e., Adam, Andy, and Kip) hugs as they boarded the boat, ready to make the journey back to shore. I asked them humorously, "Guys, should we really do this, or turn back now?" Without hesitation, they all said Aquarius is worth it. Go! There's nothing like what we're about to do.
TRADING SPACES & WORKING UNDERWATER
After the long dive, I worked with our resident expert photographer Matt on the Edgertronic camera.
See the difference the Edgertronic high-speed camera can make! Water drops I filmed with the camera.
Water drop I filmed with regular video from my iPhone at MIT's Edgerton Center in May.
Fish filmed through Aquarius viewport, 500 frames per second. We haven't perfected the graininess (ISO setting) or focus yet, but that's coming with underwater tests.