In addition to the participants in NEEMO saturation dives, teams of technicians and scientists work above the surface. They monitor Aquarius' systems and stay in contact with the underwater crew.
The Surface Support Team include the NEEMO project lead, the mission lead, and the dive medical officer and support personnel. This team resides at the National Undersea Research Center (NURC), during the mission and training. Overall responsibility and authority for NASA objectives during NASA missions resides with the NEEMO mission lead on this team.
This team consists of the aquanaut personnel living aboard Aquarius for the duration of the dive.
Typically two NURC employee/aquanauts accompany the NEEMO crew into saturation. Their primary responsibilities are the operation of the Aquarius on-board systems and the safety of the aquanauts.
The watch desk is the NURC version of NASA's Mission Control Center. It is located onshore and is staffed by a team of two employees 24 hours a day during the mission. Watch desk personnel are primarily responsible for the overall safety of the mission, monitoring the telemetry of the facility and approving all of the aquanaut dive plans. The watch desk lead is the ultimate authority on safety issues such as storm evacuation, medical emergencies, habitat system contingencies and dive plan approval.
These individuals are responsible for developing much of the science conducted by the aquanauts. They monitor the mission from a remote control center or in some instances from the NURC facilities. They periodically interface with the crew real-time during the mission to facilitate science objectives.