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NASA dive specialist to speak at upcoming lecture

The History of Diving Museum is set to host a NASA dive specialist at an upcoming virtual lecture. 

Join the History of Diving Museum on Wednesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. EST July’s virtual Immerse Yourself presentation: Dive Safety in Space Training. The museum will be hosting Lauren Maples, a Dive Operations Specialist III, with the Training Department at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. Maples will discuss the similarities and differences between underwater training and space training.

The Neutral Buoyancy Lab, located at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, is an underwater astronaut training facility that is used to simulate a weightless or microgravity environment. Water is used to simulate microgravity for EVA or spacewalk training. Learn about the pool specifications and the mock ups of the International Space Station in the pool where divers support these training sessions for crews preparing for missions to space.

Lauren Maples has been at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) for nearly six years. Her main role at the NBL is within the training department, and she ensures all on-boarding and current divers are trained in proper procedures for astronaut training simulations. As a safety diver, she supports the safety of the crew while they are underwater in their space suits and is also the utility/reconfiguration diver responsible for configuring the ISS mockups to meet the needs of training and test specifications. 

In 2020, Lauren graduated from American Public University with a bachelor’s of science in space studies and a concentration in aerospace science. This year, she enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to pursue a master’s in systems engineering. She began diving in 2009 while working as an informal educator at NASA Johnson Space Center’s non-profit visitor’s center, Space Center Houston. 

While at Space Center Houston, Lauren taught an aerospace engineering program for students from all over the world to learn robotics, rocketry, and other areas of aerospace. The students would also visit various NASA facilities to learn about astronaut training, including the NBL. She taught them basic scuba skills and how to build small structures underwater with their engineering teams to simulate underwater astronaut training. She continued teaching this program until 2015. 

Maples is enthralled with space sciences and would like to continue her journey at NASA to eventually become an EVA officer/ flight controller.

This month’s presentation is sponsored by the Misso Family. The Misso family are longtime History of Diving Museum members, and they also serve on the board of directors. They live in Houston, Texas and were pleased to sponsor this event featuring the Houston NASA facilities.

The museum and Maples will be co-hosting the presentation live through a private Zoom meeting. If you are interested in joining, email Emily Kovacs or Suzi Youngberg, community outreach coordinators, at gro.muesumgnivid@smargorp or call the museum at 305-664-9737 to receive the Zoom Meeting number and password. “Spaces” will be limited, so you must register to reserve your spot. HDM will stop taking reservations at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21 or when there are 100 registered participants. The session will be recorded and posted on the HDM YouTube page. 

The History of Diving Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Islamorada (MM83). It is a must see for anyone traveling along Overseas Highway. Divers and non-divers alike are amazed by over 4,000 years of “the quest to explore under the sea.” Special events and programs tied to Diving In Pop Culture will include lectures, a children’s book club, film screening, and more. Check out DivingMuseum.org to find out more, become a member or shop at the museum store.

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