‘Like the moon’: astronauts flock to Spanish island for training

'Like the moon': astronauts flock to Spanish island for training

Because of its black lava fields, craters, and volcanic tubes, Lanzarote’s geology may be eerily much like that of the Moon.

Because of its black lava fields, craters, and volcanic tubes, Lanzarote’s geology may be eerily much like that of the Moon.

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 positioned inside a white plastic bag.

Gerst will not be on the moon, even when it appears like him. It’s in the course of Los Volcanes Pure Park on the island of Lanzarote in Spain’s Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa.

Because of black lava fields, craters and volcanic tubes, Lanzarote’s geology may be eerily much like that of the Moon and Mars — a lot in order that the European Area Company (ESA) and NASA have been sending astronauts to the island for years for coaching. .

“This place has lava similar to the one we discover on the moon,” Gerst, a 46-year-old German astronaut with the European Area Company, informed AFP.

He stated the island was a “distinctive coaching floor”.

Gerst, who has accomplished two missions on the Worldwide Area Station, is one in every of a few dozen astronauts who’ve taken half within the European Area Company’s Pangea coaching course in Lanzarote over the previous decade.

Named after the traditional supercontinent, Pangea seeks to present astronauts in addition to area engineers and geologists the talents wanted for missions to different planets.

Trainees discover ways to determine and acquire rock samples, carry out in-situ DNA evaluation of microorganisms, and report their findings to the mission management heart.

“Right here, they’re put into the sector to expertise terrain exploration, one thing they must do on the moon,” stated course technical director Francesco Sauro.

outbreak six years

Gerst stated the Pangea coaching course, which he has simply accomplished, helps put together astronauts to work in a distant location on their very own.

“If we have now an issue, we have now to resolve it ourselves,” he stated.

He accomplished Pangea coaching with Stephanie Wilson, a senior NASA astronaut. Each are potential candidates for upcoming NASA missions to the Moon.

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 the time-frame could also be delayed.

Thanks to black lava fields, craters, and volcanic tubes, Lanzarote's geology can be eerily similar to that of the Moon and Mars — so much so that the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA have been sending astronauts to the islands for years by train.

Because of black lava fields, craters, and volcanic tubes, Lanzarote’s geology may be eerily much like that of the Moon and Mars — a lot in order that the European Area Company (ESA) and NASA have been sending astronauts to the islands for years by prepare. | Picture supply: AFP

Twelve astronauts walked on the Moon in the course of the six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972, the one spaceflights that didn’t put people on the Moon.

NASA and the European Area Company repeatedly use Lanzarote’s panorama of twisted mounds of stable lava to check Mars rovers – remote-controlled autos designed to journey on the floor of the Pink Planet.

Lanzarote’s distinctive geography stems from a volcanic eruption that started in 1730 and lasted six years, releasing ash and lava over huge tracts 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 few quarter of the island that’s at present dwelling to about 156,000 individuals.

look away

Whereas there are different volcanic areas like Hawaii that may also be used for astronaut coaching, Lanzarote has the benefit that it has little vegetation as a consequence of its desert-like local weather.

“You could have a number of several types of igneous rocks in Lanzarote. It is open. You do not have bushes,” stated Pangea Venture Supervisor Loredana Bissoni.

“You possibly can see as far-off as you are on the moon,” she informed AFP.

The Canary Islands make an enormous contribution to area exploration in one other manner as properly. The island of La Palma is dwelling to one of many largest optical telescopes on the planet.

Perched on high, the Nice Canary Telescope is able to detecting among the faintest and farthest objects within the universe.

La Palma was chosen as the situation for the telescope due to a cloudless sky and comparatively low mild air pollution.

#moon #astronauts #flock #Spanish #island #coaching

ZeroToHero

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.