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NASA Helps with Chilean Mine Collapse

Posted Sep 01 2010 8:03am
astronaut in spaceWhen I think of NASA , I think trips to space, landing on the moon, work at the space station , all things way above the Earth's surface. I don't think of NASA as being the experts on handling situations below the Earth's surface.

As it turns out, experts from NASA are just the people to help officials in Chile with the trapped miners. The miners have been trapped underground since Aug. 5, when a mine collapsed in San Jose.

One of the biggest concerns, after providing for the basic physical needs of the miners, like food and water, is helping the miners cope with the isolation. Being trapped underground in a small, dark space is mentally taxing , and can lead to all kinds of problems when boredom and time seem to stretch on forever.

NASA has some expertise in that area, because it's not all that different from astronauts in space being isolated on their trips.

So now NASA experts are working together with ministers in Chile to help provide for the miners' mental well being , while rescuers work to reach the miners. Estimates say the process of getting the miners out could take months.

I'm hoping that NASA's expertise in handling isolation will help keep the miners in a sound state of mind until rescuers reach them.

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