NASA today called an early end to an undersea astronaut expedition off the Florida coast due to concerns about the path of Hurricane Rina, a Category 1 storm now off the Yucatan Peninsula.
After another storm delayed its start, a planned 13-day mission at an Atlantic Ocean base near Key Largo ended after only five days.
The 15th mission of NASA's NEEMO program -- short for NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations -- was the first to simulate work on an asteroid in deep space.
"Despite the length, we accomplished a significant amount of research," NEEMO Project Manager Bill Todd said in a statement. "We're already learning lessons from working in this environment."
The six-person NEEMO crew led by NASA astronaut Shannon Walker left the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory this morning after conducting six underwater "spacewalks," research in Aquarius and operations involving submersible vehicles.
A NEEMO 16 mission has been tentatively scheduled for next summer.