March 2 (UPI) -- The Navy teamed up with NASA astronauts and engineers last week to test a technology that allows divers to work more efficiently underwater and could be used the next time astronauts return to the moon.
Divers from the Naval Sea Systems Command's Supervisor of Salvage and Diving joined the NASA team at the Sonny Carter Training Facility in Houston between Feb. 24 and 26 to test the Navy's second-generation Diver Augmented Vision Display system, Sea Systems Command said.
The system enabled divers to receive step-by-step instructions via its high-resolution heads-up display while completing complicated tasks, and also used active sonar to send basic navigation to divers as they worked in low-visibility environments.
"DAVD has been a game-changer for Navy Divers," said SUPSALV's Commander, Capt. Jay Young. "With the high-rez sonar display, our divers can navigate around obstacles in low and no visibility conditions which means they can safely execute their mission and maximize productivity when we're on the bottom."
NASA uses the DAVD system to support in-water astronaut training, and now may adopt the system technology to use in Extravehicular Activity suits, the Navy said.
NASA is looking to field technologies that will enable astronauts to explore and perform scientific research on the moon.
Because there are parallels between working in space and working on the ocean floor, the agency is taking advantage of the Navy's experience in the development of the DAVD system.
The Office of Naval Research funded the research and development of the hardware.
"Our divers came to us with their issue - specifically that they usually work in murky water and rely on their sense of touch to navigate around the bottom of the water column which is neither safe nor efficient," said ONR's program lead Sandra Chapman.
"With an investment of about $1.2 million over five years, we started developing a system that can fit inside the diver's existing helmet. It's amazingly rewarding to know that DAVD is helping to keep our divers safe and to think that it could end up in space is amazing," Chapman said.