‘Esteem the Moon’: Astronauts flock to Spanish isle to put together

‘Esteem the Moon’: Astronauts flock to Spanish isle to put together

Lanzarote's geology can be uncannily similar to that of the Moon and Mars
Lanzarote’s geology can be uncannily an identical to that of the Moon and Mars.

Kneeling on the edge of a deep crater, astronaut Alexander Gerst makes use of a chisel to receive a sample of volcanic rock which he reasonably puts internal a white plastic win.

Gerst is no longer on the Moon, despite the undeniable truth that it appears discover it irresistible. He’s within the heart of Los Volcanes Pure Park on the island of Lanzarote in Spain’s Canary Islands, off the northwest fly of Africa.

With its blackened lava fields, craters and volcanic tubes, Lanzarote’s geology can be uncannily an identical to that of the Moon and Mars—so powerful so that the European Predicament Agency (ESA) and NASA possess for years been sending astronauts to the island to put together.

“This space has lavas which would be very, very an identical to the ones that we accumulate on the Moon,” Gerst, a 46-one year-venerable German astronaut with the ESA, told AFP.

He said the island used to be “a particular practicing ground”.

Gerst, who has carried out two missions on the Global Predicament Station, is judicious one of about a dozen astronauts who possess taken allotment within the ESA’s Pangaea practicing course in Lanzarote precise by means of the last decade.

Named after the ragged supercontinent, Pangaea seeks to present astronauts along with place engineers and geologists the abilities vital for expeditions to other planets.

Trainees learn to name rock samples and receive them, designate on-the-space DNA prognosis of microorganisms, and discuss their findings abet to mission control.

“Right here, they’re establish into the self-discipline to ride the exploration of a terrain, which is one thing they’ll possess to designate on the Moon,” said Francesco Sauro, the technical director of the course.

Lanzarote's unique geography stems from an 18th-century volcanic eruption that lasted six years
Lanzarote’s extraordinary geography stems from an 18th-century volcanic eruption that lasted six years.

Six-one year eruption

Gerst said the Pangaea practicing course, which he has upright carried out, helps put together astronauts to work in a faraway surroundings on their very own.

“If we speed into a scenario, we possess got to resolve it ourselves,” he said.

He carried out the Pangaea practicing alongside with Stephanie Wilson, judicious one of NASA’s most senior astronauts. Both are probably candidates for NASA’s next crewed Moon missions.

Named for the goddess who used to be Apollo’s twin sister in ragged Greek mythology, NASA’s Artemis program goals to come astronauts to the Moon’s surface as early as 2025, though many experts ponder that timeframe would possibly perchance additionally saunter.

Twelve astronauts walked on the Moon in some unspecified time in the future of six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972, the handiest spaceflights but to space people on the lunar surface.

NASA and the ESA also on a favorite basis use Lanzarote’s landscape of zigzag mounds of solidified lava to ascertain Mars Rovers—faraway managed autos designed to commute on the outside of the Purple Planet.

Lanzarote’s extraordinary geography stems from a volcanic eruption that started in 1730 and lasted six years, spewing ash and lava over gigantic swathes of land.

Belief to be judicious one of many finest volcanic cataclysms in recorded historical previous, the eruption devastated over 200 sq. kilometers (77 sq. miles) of terrain—about a quarter of the island which is currently dwelling to spherical 156,000 of us.

'If we run into a problem, we have to solve it ourselves,' says astronaut Alexander Gerst
‘If we speed into a scenario, we possess got to resolve it ourselves,’ says astronaut Alexander Gerst.

‘Explore some distance-off’

While there are other volcanic areas equivalent to Hawaii that would possibly perchance additionally even be worn for astronaut practicing, Lanzarote has the advantage that it has little vegetation because of its barren region-love climate.

“You’ve got heaps of quite quite lots of kinds of volcanic rocks in Lanzarote. And in addition they’re exposed. You invent no longer possess trees,” said Pangaea project chief Loredana Bessone.

“That you just would possibly perchance be ready to learn about some distance-off, as while you happen to were on the Moon,” she told AFP.

The Canary Islands is making a huge contribution to place exploration in every other manner too. The island of La Palma is dwelling to judicious one of many enviornment’s finest optical telescopes.

Located on a height, the Huge Canary Telescope is ready to space one of the most important faintest, most distant objects within the Universe.

La Palma used to be chosen because the placement for the telescope thanks to its cloud-free skies and comparatively low gentle air pollution.

© 2022 AFP

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‘Esteem the Moon’: Astronauts flock to Spanish isle to put together (2022, November 12)
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