NEEMO, an acronym for NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, is a NASA program for studying human survival in the Aquarius underwater laboratory in preparation for future space exploration.
Aquarius, an underwater habitat located near Key Largo, Florida, is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and operated by the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of North Carolina–Wilmington as a marine biology study base. Located roughly 62 feet underwater,NASA has used it since 2001 for a series of missions, usually lasting 10 to 14 days, with research conducted by astronauts and other NASA employees.
The crew members are called aquanauts instead of "divers", and they perform EVAs in the underwater environment.Groups of NASA employees and contractors live in Aquarius for up to three weeks at a time. For NASA, Aquarius provides an environment similar to space living, and NEEMO crew members experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater as they would in space.