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SPACED OUT Mars Astronauts In Training On Lanzarote

Tuesday October 25, 2016

SPACED OUT Mars Astronauts In Training On Lanzarote

Three astronauts from the European Space Agency are currently undergoing training on Lanzarote for future missions to Mars.

The astronauts, Luca Parmitano, Pedro Duque and Matthias Maurer are embarking on the second phase of their geological field training, with Lanzarote selected as the ideal venue thanks to the island´s unique landscape, which the ESA has deemed very similar to that of the red planet.

To date the astronauts have been training in Italy but the second phase of their training programme, entitled Panagea, has brought them to Lanzarote. Where they will be learning more about planetary geology by identifying and securing samples in and around the Timanfaya region. Including a traverse inside a lava tube, an environment that is sheltered from radiation and which may therefore contain subsurface water, which is key to discovering microbial lifeforms on other planets.

Spanish born ESA astronaut Pedro Duque said, “I am very happy to be in this beautiful part of my home country for this course. The environment of Lanzarote is very unique in the world, but looks a lot like what we know other worlds will show to future astronauts! I will do my best to help prepare a course in which future colleagues will receive all the knowledge they will need to make a difference during exploration of other planets.”

This is not the first time that Lanzarote has been used as a mission aid by world space agencies as NASA are reported to have used images from the island to prepare astronausts for the Apollo moon landings.

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