Splashdown +8 days
We woke up this morning and Tim and Ross showed us video of an amazing sight they had through the viewport window late last night. At night most of the lights are turned down in the habitat, but not off completely in case of an emergency. But it is much darker inside than during the day. At night there are also lights on outside the habitat, which makes it very nice for observing the night time activity outside.
What Tim and Ross saw was a very thick, white cloud of "something" spiraling down from above. There were a few of the yellow tail snapper swimming around it, but otherwise the only other fish you could see was one of our large goliath grouper friends. He was being very protective of this white, spiraling cloud. And from the video it looks like Tim and Ross had a beautiful show. The grouper was turned on its head and swimming very gracefully and purposefully around and up and down the cloud. Was like a grouper ballet. Really an impressive sight. We still aren't completely sure what it was, but think it might have been spawn falling from another of the grouper higher in the water column. Honestly though I don't think any of us really are too concerned with what it really was, but are just very pleased to have been able to see it --- definitely makes you aware of how many wonderful mysteries there are out there!!
We had a nice crew dive this morning performing a site survey of some of the outer habitat excursion areas. The visibility improved quite a bit today -- up to at least 75 ft. We did a thorough job of tagging the excursion lines and taking navigational marks with the CobraTac underwater mapping tool.
This afternoon we did some really cool stuff with the CMAS5 SRI surgical robot. Dr. Anvari remotely operated the robot to manipulate some lunar rock samples. On the line in Houston were Mary Sue Bell and Carlton Allen (both Planetary Geologists at JSC) providing telementoring to Dr. Anvari in Canada. While Dr. Anvari handled the samples, it worked out really well for the experts in Houston to be able to provide comment on the type of rocks they were looking at and whether they would be suitable samples to return to Earth. Following the lunar sample work, Dr. Anvari transitioned to another suturing session and proceeded to once again successfully demonstrate the procedure with a 2 second latency (equivalent to lunar latency). Very impressive stuff!
We then transitioned to the CMAS 6 Haptics experiment which is a telementored task to evaluate the ability to train surgical students for telerobotic surgery using computer based tasks to help them get the "feel". This was interesting and opened my eyes to the expert touch that the surgeon needs.
A definite highlight of my day was my phone call home to my husband and son. Every day I'm thankful for their support.