NASA's space-age role in trapped Chile miners rescue operation

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San Jose, Oct 14(ANI): Engineers at the US space agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), had played a crucial role in the operation carried out to rescue the 33 trapped miners from the San Jose gold and copper mine in Chile.

According to the Daily Express, NASA had devised and helped build the rescue capsule dubbed "Phoenix" - a specially designed steel cage that held the key to giving the miners new life.

The space agency's dieticians were also sought to plan the diet that ensured that the miners not only fitted inside the capsule, but also avoided vomiting while being winched through the half-mile shoulder-width shaft.

The dieticians had used decades of advances in space medicine to plan the diet.

Chilean health officials had asked the Americans for advice as the miners' cramped conditions were deemed similar to those faced by astronauts.

The last of the trapped miners, Luis Urzua, a foreman, was raised from the depths of the earth on Wednesday.

An estimated 700,000 tonnes of rock collapsed inside the 121-year-old mine in the historically significant mining accident on August 5.

Rescue officials led by a senior United States mine engineer had earlier estimated that it would take three to four months to complete the rescue.

However, the rescue exceeded expectations every step of the way, as it turned out to be 69 days and about eight hours.

Once the escape tunnel was finished, they estimated that it would take 36 to 48 hours to get all the miners to safety, but as the operation went along all the miners were evacuated in 22 hours and 37 minutes.

A rescue worker reached the miners early Tuesday night. Live video taken from the chamber showed the first miner, 31-year-old Florencio Avalos, hugging him and within 15 minutes he reached the surface. (ANI)

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