Hurricane Rina can potentially cause a lot of damage, according to meteorologists, but what has not been expected is that the storm would hinder space exploration.
NASA's NEEMO-15 crew had to leave its deep-space simulating underwater laboratory off the east coast of Mexico Tuesday night because the team was directly in the path of Hurricane Rina, the Montreal Gazette reported.
After getting news of the hurricane's path, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, tweeted, "Crew sad to leave early, but feel we got a lot of objectives accomplished. Overnight decompression fine. See you at surface!"
According to the NASA website, the mission's main objective was to test "techniques, operational methods, tools, and communications protocols that have been recently developed for human exploration of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) in a simulated microgravity environment."
Being underwater allowed the crew to simulate the type of hostile environment astronauts encounter while exploring deep space.
"Much like space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live," says a NEEMO-15 fact sheet. "NEEMO crew members experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater that they would in space. For example, working in space and underwater environments requires extensive planning and sophisticated equipment. Working underwater also has a strong benefit to NASA because the aquanauts can be weighted to simulate different gravity environments."
The Associated Press reported that Mexican authorities are evacuating fishing villages that are in the path of the hurricane, as well as tourist resorts in the Cancun area. Winds are expected to be around 100 miles per hour, making Rina a Category 2 hurricane.
Evacuations on Mexico's Caribbean Coast: