Kneeling on the sting of a deep crater, astronaut Alexander Gerst makes use of a chisel to gather a pattern of volcanic rock which he rigorously locations inside a white plastic bag.
Gerst is just not over the moon, even when he seems like him. It’s in the midst of Los Volcanes Pure Park on the island of Lanzarote in Spain’s Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa.
Because of its black lava fields, craters, and volcanic tubes, Lanzarote’s geology might be eerily just like that of the Moon and Mars—a lot in order that the European House Company (ESA) and NASA have been sending astronauts to the island for coaching for years.
“This place has lava, similar to the one we discover on the moon,” Gerst, a 46-year-old German astronaut working for the European House Company, advised AFP.
He stated the island was a “distinctive coaching floor”.
Gerst, who has accomplished two missions on the Worldwide House Station, is one in every of a couple of dozen astronauts who’ve taken half within the European House Company’s Pangea course in Lanzarote over the previous decade.
Named after the traditional supercontinent, Pangea seeks to provide astronauts in addition to area engineers and geologists the talents wanted for missions to different planets.
Trainees learn to establish and gather rock samples, carry out in situ DNA evaluation of microorganisms, and report their findings to Mission Management.
“Right here, they’re put within the subject to expertise terrain exploration, one thing they must do on the moon,” stated Francesco Sauro, the technical director of the course.
Gerst stated Pangea’s coaching course, which he simply accomplished, helps put together astronauts to work far-off on their very own.
“If we’ve an issue, we’ve to unravel it ourselves,” he stated.
He accomplished Pangea coaching with Stephanie Wilson, a senior astronaut at NASA. Each are potential candidates for NASA’s subsequent lunar missions.
Named after the goddess who was the dual sister of Apollo in historical Greek mythology, NASA’s Artemis program goals to return astronauts to the lunar floor as early as 2025, though many specialists consider that time-frame could possibly be delayed.
Twelve astronauts walked on the moon throughout six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972, the one spaceflights that didn’t put people on the moon.
NASA and the European House Company additionally recurrently use Lanzarote’s panorama of twisting hills of solidified lava to check Mars Rovers – remote-controlled autos designed to journey the floor of the Purple Planet.
Lanzarote’s distinctive geography stems from a volcanic eruption that started in 1730 and lasted six years, spewing ash and lava over huge swaths of land.
Thought of one of many best volcanic disasters in recorded historical past, the eruption destroyed greater than 200 sq. kilometers (77 sq. miles) of terrain – a couple of quarter of the island which is at present dwelling to about 156,000 folks.
Whereas there are different volcanic areas reminiscent of Hawaii that can be used to coach astronauts, Lanzarote has the benefit that it has little vegetation resulting from its desert-like local weather.
“You might have quite a lot of several types of volcanic rock on Lanzarote. It is uncovered. You do not have bushes,” stated Pangea mission supervisor Loredana Bisoni.
“You possibly can see far-off, as for those who have been on the moon,” she advised AFP.
The Canary Islands make a major contribution to area exploration in one other method as effectively. La Palma Island is dwelling to one of many largest optical telescopes on the earth.
Sitting atop the Nice Canary Telescope, it’s able to recognizing among the faintest and most distant objects within the universe.
La Palma was chosen as the situation for the telescope due to its cloudless skies and comparatively low gentle air pollution.
© 2022 AFP
the quote: ‘Just like the Moon’: Astronauts Flock to Spanish Island for Coaching (2022, November 12) Retrieved November 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/information/2022-11-moon-astronauts-flock-spanish-isle .html
This doc is topic to copyright. Other than any honest dealing for the aim of personal examine or analysis, no half could also be reproduced with out written permission. The content material is offered for informational functions solely.
#Astronauts #flock #Spanish #island #prepare