(CNN) - Chilean officials plan to start drilling a rescue shaft Monday, as they begin a months-long operation to reach 33 miners who have been trapped underground for more than three weeks.
The effort to drill through more than 2,300 feet (701 meters) of rock and safely extract the miners could take three to four months, officials said.
The miners have been stuck in the mine since an August 5 cave-in and are surviving off food, water and other supplies funneled to them from above ground through an "umbilical cord" - a tube about four inches in diameter.
Meanwhile, a four-person team from NASA is set to arrive in Chile this week to help provide physical and behavioral health support to the miners. NASA has a long history in dealing with isolated environments and thinks experiences in space and underground are not too different, said Michael Duncan, the U.S. space agency's lead person on the Chile effort.
Filed under: Karl Penhaul
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