Canada Leads Underwater Remote Robotic Surgical Mission

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Dr. Dave Williams, Canadian Space Agency astronaut and mission commander will lead a 10-day undersea mission, the NASA Extreme Environment Missions Operation or NEEMO 7, at the underwater facility Aquarius, off Key Largo, Florida. The NEEMO 7 mission will take place between October 11-21, 2004 and aims to demonstrate and evaluate new medical diagnostic and therapeutic technologies to enhance the delivery of state-of-the-art medical care in remote and harsh environments. Dr. Williams and his crew will conduct experiments using the latest remote surgical technologies and techniques, guided by Dr. Mehran Anvari, Director of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS) at St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario.

Media are invited to interact with the undersea crew and to film Dr. Anvari while he performs telementoring and telerobotic surgery from the CMAS facilities in Hamilton.


Live videoconferences with the NEEMO 7 crew inside the Aquarius undersea habitat are offered to Canadian media. Media attending the events in Hamilton and Longueuil will have an opportunity to ask a question in real-time to crewmembers.

Media uplink from the habitat to CMAS
Location: CMAS, 50 Charlton Ave East,
Hamilton, Ontario

Media uplink from the habitat to the
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Location: Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Longueuil, Quebec

Dates and times for each live uplink opportunity will soon be available. Details will be forwarded to those who register.

Telementoring and Telesurgery

Media are also invited to attend Dr. Anvari's four remote medical interventions in real-time. Using two-way telecommunication links, he will guide aquanauts through diagnosis and surgery. Dr. Anvari will also virtually control surgery on a mock patient in the underwater habitat using telerobotic technology from the comfort of his ultra high-tech operating room at CMAS more than 2,454 km away.

Because of the medical environment during the surgical procedures, only pre-arranged interviews with CMAS will be available:

Telementoring at CMAS
Location: CMAS, 50 Charlton Ave. East,
Hamilton, Ontario

Dates and times for each live opportunity will soon be available. Details will be forwarded to those who register.

Educational Events

Oct. 14, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
A one-hour interactive presentation will connect NEEMO 7 aquanauts with students in Hamilton and Toronto to explore the educational aspects of the mission.

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
Conference Room 3
135 Overlea Boulevard
Fontbonne Building
North York, Ontario
50 Charlton Avenue East
Hamilton, Ontario

Oct. 16, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Videoconference between Aquarius and Dr. Anvari, CSA Astronaut Robert Thirsk and 450 medical students. Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario


NEEMO 7 mission training will take place between October 2- 8, the operational mission between Oct. 11-21 and post-mission debriefing is scheduled on Oct. 22 and 23 (these dates may change slightly). Media must contact CMAS or CSA to book interviews in advance.


Dr. Dave Williams, CSA Astronaut, Mission Commander
Dr. Mehran Anvari, Chief Scientific Officer, Director of CMAS
Dr. Craig McKinley, Canadian Surgeon associated with CMAS

On-the-ground Canadian support
Robert Thirsk, CSA Astronaut, back-up for Dave Williams
Louise Beauchamp, CSA Mission Manager
Jean-Marc Comtois, CSA Director, Operational Space Medecine
Patrick Sullivan, CSA Project Manager, Operational Space Medecine

For more information on the mission:

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