(NASA/EO-1 ALI) The San José mine lies north of Copiapó, Chile, in the world’s driest desert, the Atacama. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) captured this natural-color image of the mine and its surroundings on September 16, 2010. The mine complex appears as an uneven patch of gray in the midst of camel-colored hills devoid of vegetation.
NASA Provides Assistance to Chilean Miners
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OCTOBER 14, 2010

After 69 days underground, all 33 miners trapped since Aug. 5 in Chile's San José copper and gold mine are safely above ground. Chilean rescue workers pulled the final miner to safety around 9 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 13, wrapping up the rescue process started the night before.
As part of the rescue operation, NASA offered expert advice on medical, nutritional and behavioral health issues. The NASA team also provided suggestions regarding the rescue cages that were specially-designed to pull the trapped miners out of the shaft that was dug over 2,000 feet into the Earth.
See NASA photos and videos
“The Chileans had a very limited set of requirements that they had given their own engineers with regards to how to design this cage, and that was primarily length, diameter, and weight,” said Dr. Michael Duncan, who led the team of NASA experts who traveled to Chile. NASA’s work in spacecraft design provided expertise with respect to medical requirements and design requirements. “We were able to provide them [Chilean engineers designing the rescue cages] with some thoughts,” continued Duncan.” Looking at the video of the cage, some of these things they’ve certainly incorporated into their design.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden issued a statement offering the thoughts and prayers of the NASA Family, adding, "I am proud of the people of this agency who were able to bring the experience of spaceflight down to Earth when it was needed most."
Read Bolden's full statement
The NASA team includes two medical doctors, a psychologist and an engineer. Dr. Michael Duncan, deputy chief medical officer in NASA's Space Life Sciences Directorate at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, led the team. The other team members are physician J.D. Polk, psychologist Al Holland and engineer Clint Cragg.
NASA's long experience in training and planning for emergencies in human spaceflight and its protection of humans in the hostile environment of space may have some direct benefits that can be useful to the rescue. Environments may very well be different, but human response both in physiology and behavioral responses to emergencies is quite similar. Some of the results acquired through NASA's research may be applicable to the trapped miners.
Read more and see related videos: www.nasa.gov/news/chile_assistance