Director of Space Training Operations, Blue Abyss; European Space Agency (Retd); Chinese Academy of Sciences (Retd); InnovaSpace Advisory Board Member
Congratulations to Editor Vladimir Pletser and all the authors who contributed to this interesting open-access book entitled Preparations of Space Experiments, which was published this week. Spend a few minutes watching Vladimir as he summarises the contents of each chapter, written by world-leading researchers who have designed and prepared science experiments on microgravity platforms, including aircraft parabolic flights, in preparation for subsequent spaceflight.
Hello, my name is Stephanie Lichi. Since I was very young, I was fascinated by multiple elements that later on I found out are part of astronomy: stars, the globe I played with, the solar system in a coloring book, rocket toys. My favorite game was to make a rocket out of chairs and pretend to blast off into space.
Later on, I found out my passion fits into the astronomy field; since I started watching space documentaries and learned more about rockets and stars, I was blown away to find out how many sciences contribute to the success of this field.
Even the most simple part of each area can lead to something extraordinary: math can calculate courses for rockets, the distance to stars, and tackle data in creative ways; science is used to collect and analyze data, and everything that has to do with collecting minerals to the lab equipment; programming is the process of building a software system to execute a specific task; engineering builds the rocket and designs its components.
When I observed stars for the first time with a telescope, I understood that it is a product of engineering that requires precise mathematics and science in order to function.
When astronomers, in an effort to understand the dynamics of the universe, needed to calculate the distance between Earth and stars, a lot of sciences worked together: math because this procedure involves lots of calculations, physics and science because Earth is constantly moving, and engineering because special instruments are required to measure the brightness of the star.
In rocket launching, thousands of specialists put together their brilliant minds: scientists and engineers build the rocket and the tools that the astronauts need, mathematicians do lots of calculations, space doctors make sure astronauts are healthy.
Currently I am a rising seventh grader. I am aware that the knowledge my favorite subjects offer (math, science and engineering) is crucial to the space field and is used in all areas: rocket launch, observing stars, testing rock samples from Mars - to mention but a few. While solving equations in math, learning about chemicals in science and programming in computer class, I realized astronomy is such a fascinating field because it comes from a lot of dedication, teamwork and knowledge, and each area blends together magically thanks to the discipline of those who are committed to solving mysteries that have fascinated humanity for thousands of years.
I hope this article will inspire children to appreciate and look differently at the efforts made by many people who work behind the scenes.
Thank you to all the specialists who make astronomy possible and accessible to us!
InnovaSpace Co-Founder & Admin Director
Daniel E. Vigo, MD, PhD
Independent Researcher: Institute for Biomedical Research (Catholic University of Argentina and National Scientific and Technical Research Council) & InnovaSpace Advisory Board Member
Belgrano to Mars
The Antarctic continent is considered to be one of the most realistic analogues found on Earth of the situations of extreme isolation and confinement experienced in space. Since 2014, we have been conducting at the Belgrano II Argentine Antarctic Station the project "Chronobiology of Antarctic Isolation: the use of the Belgrano II Station as a model of biological desynchronization and spatial analogue", also known as “Belgrano to Mars”. The project aims to explore the impact of a year of isolation on different physiological, psychological and social variables. In particular, we are interested in studying how biological rhythms are affected by the lack of natural light during the four months of polar night typical of that latitude. The study of the chronobiological responses to extreme isolation increases our understanding of the physiological mechanisms underlying human biological rhythms, with applications in space exploration or other highly demanding professional settings, as well as in human health.
The Belgrano II Antarctic station consists of a series of scientific research facilities located approximately 1,300 km away from the South Pole at 34°S, 77°W. It is the most southerly Argentinian station and one of the three southernmost permanent stations on the planet. The temperature ranges from 5°C to 48°C below zero. One feature of this station is that, due to its latitude, it has four months of continuous sunlight, four months of twilight and four months of polar night. The station crew is composed of around 20 men. To generate a light-dark cycle during the summer, windows with blinds closed are used, in accordance with a normal sleep routine, while using eye covers during the night if necessary. Exposure to ultraviolet light is also stronger and sunglasses for external work are mandatory. Conversely, in the wintertime, the light-dark cycle depends entirely on artificial light. Schedules with well-defined times for meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) work and rest are paramount in Antarctic stations.
“Belgrano to Mars” is a collaborative project in which researchers Camila Tortello and Santiago Plano (UCA-CONICET and UNQ) participate in the analysis and interpretation of the information and Juan Manuel Cuiuli (Joint Antarctic Command) in the scientific coordination between Buenos Aires and Antarctica. Other members of the project are Marta Barbarito (Argentine Antarctic Institute), Diego Golombek and Patricia Agostino (UNQ and CONICET), Agustín Folgueira and Juan Manuel López (Central Military Hospital), and Guido Simonelli (University of Montreal). Field work during isolation is carried out by physicians from the wintering crews at the station and staff members that volunteer for the study. Antarctic scientific activity is coordinated by the National Antarctic Directorate (DNA), which together with the Joint Antarctic Command, provides the logistics of the bases.
This year, we have traveled to Antarctica to supervise the implementation of the Belgrano to Mars project in the field, to test measurement instruments and to train the crew in the use of the equipment and software. The trip demanded six weeks of navigation in the ARA Almirante Iríza icebreaker. In addition, we started working with the European Space Agency (ESA) in the operational test of the Telemedecine Tempus Pro equipment, under the framework of an ESA-CONAE-DNA agreement. The project, led by Dr. Víctor Demaría-Pesce, from ESA's European Astronaut Center, involves conducting operational simulations in a situation of extreme isolation and confinement, which will contribute to the design of a definitive prototype to be used by astronauts and medical teams during future space missions to the Moon and Mars. The equipment will be tested at Belgrano II (Dr. Bruno Cauda and Enf. Luis Almaraz) and Carlini (Dra. Melina D'Angelo and Enf. Gustavo Cruz) stations, through six simulations that will recreate medical scenarios similar to those encountered by astronauts in space.
Lessons to be learned from this kind of study
We have recently published in the journal Scientific Reports (from the Nature Group) data regarding changes in the sleep-wake cycle during a winter campaign at Belgrano II. We observed that during the polar night the subjects tended to go to bed one hour later and sleep one hour less. A possible explanation is that this is due to the lack of exposure to natural light, since bright light acts as a synchronizer of our biological rhythms. This loss of sleep was somewhat compensated by naps, which were longer during that time of year.
These results show us how biological rhythms can be desynchronized in periods of prolonged confinement, such as the ones we have had to go through during the quarantine periods instituted in different countries. Moreover, it highlights the importance of exposure to natural light in the morning and darkness during the night and maintaining fixed activity and rest routines to avoid the desynchronization of our biological rhythms. Other sleep hygiene measures include the limiting of daytime naps to 30 minutes, regularly exercising (it may be necessary to avoid working out before bedtime), having a light dinner, avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime, and making sure that the sleep environment is dark, silent and with a pleasant temperature. The beneficial effects of having good sleep relate to an increase in alertness during the day, the prevention of anxiety or depression, and the improvement of our general health, which in turn will reduce the chances of becoming ill.
Author: Mary Upritchard
InnovaSpace Co-Founder and Admin Director
With our tagline of Space Without Borders, we at InnovaSpace love to hear about space initiatives happening in countries where space activity is less expected, so we were delighted to hear from colleagues in Nepal about the construction of the first fully Nepal-made pico-satellite. The satellite in question, called SanoSat-1 (sano means small in Nepalese), is the work of an enthusiastic group of students, engineers, and amateur radio operators from the country, who have been working since 2017 on the design and construction of this tiny pico-satellite, weighing just 250 grams and measuring 5x5x5 cubic centimetres.
Take a look at the video below to see what they have been creating. The team will launch the pico-satellite into space in December 2020, onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and are currently fund raising to cover the launch costs. Check out their GoFundMe page and contribute a little if you can to help Nepal take another step along the path to being a space faring nation!
My name is Warisa Jaidee-Isee. I am 18 years old and currently studying at UWC Atlantic College, in Wales, UK. I would like to share with you my passion and dreams to explore the Universe. When I was 15, I attended the “APSCO Youth Space Contest”, organised by the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO). I had a chance to share my idea about space science with my friends from the ASPCO member states in Beijing, China during 15-21 July 2017. Here is my idea under the theme “Future Space Homeland”.
To be able to live in space, there’s one important thing that people tend to overlook - the problem of space debris. We already know that when we invent a spacecraft and send it up into Earth’s orbit, it will one day no longer be of use and it will become space debris, drifting around in orbit or entering the vast outer space. These debris are dangerous because they could collide with new spacecraft sent up there. At the end of the day, the more space debris, the less resources we have on Earth. Therefore, if the future homelands of humanity are, supposedly, the new planets, we should consider clearing the space debris out of space for our own safety. My space debris clean-up beetle: “Debris bug” would be needed to set up a new space home.
“Debris bug” is able to communicate with and accept instruction through radio waves. When it finds garbage in space, the "beetle" releases a magnetic network to capture it. It will then bring back the space debris to the base for recycling and reuse.
My main concept is the word “PRECYCLE” from pre and recycle. Pre-cycle is to re-design the spacecraft into a module that could be detached in a certain pattern with a tracking microchip that can be easily collected
Purpose of the design and function are as follows:
- To reuse the unused space debris.
- To recycle the space debris into new use.
- To clear the orbital path and make the space ready for human beings to go and live there in the future.
My design consists of 2 main modules, which are the Mother ship and Crew ships, called Debris Bugs. The Mother ship will contain the small ships called “Debris Bugs”. In space, the Mother ship will release the Debris Bugs and let them drift away to search for the space debris by using their censors. The debris bugs will grab the chunk of space debris by their clawed legs and take control of the velocity. They will then load them in, taking them back to the Mother ship. When encountering small and scattered debris, they will grab those by releasing their magnetic nets to wrap around the junk. The debris bugs will then drag them back to the Mother ship, after which the Mother ship will return to the base. The Mother ship and Debris Bugs are controlled from the base and can also communicate by using radio waves to send signals to the antennas. The antennas will capture those signals and process the information coming from them.
It was a great time and fun activity to attend a platform of cultural exchange and idea collision with friends that have the same interests in the Universe. It also inspired and motivated me to look further into space science and technology. I wish to attend more space activities in the future.
You can find more youth activities in space science and aerospace industry from http://www.apsco.int/html/comp1/content/NewGenerationCultivating/2018-07-05/66-178-1.shtml
Author: Thaynara Vicente B Kurrle
Successful International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate; Ketedralskolan, Linköping, Sweden & now studying medicine
For as long as I can remember, I have always been flying around. My mother was a flight attendant, my father was an Air Force mechanic and we spent most of our lives living in an Air Force base. To board, deplane and wake up with the noise of helicopters and jets was part of the routine, which did not make it less special to me.
When I was 17 years-old, my family was transferred to Sweden and I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I was only sure about 2 things: I wanted to help and serve people, and I loved airplanes and the life in the air. How was I supposed to combine these two? I had no idea. Most people did not see a link between these two points, but I knew that I had to find a way, otherwise, I would never feel complete. If I would imagine myself permanently away from jets and airports or not in direct contact with people in need, a huge void would open in my chest; it just was not right, “either, or” was not an option to me.
In a Spring afternoon of 2018, I overheard some fighter pilots telling stories about accidents they had witnessed: a smashed jaw during the ejection after a period of temporal distortion, tunnelled vision, and a total blackout during the centrifuge training. Then, it hit me, those people were the link, they were the ones who connected those amazing machines to the human factor, they were the ones I wanted to help.
I started to research, and I still remember the first words that caught my eyes: “flight-surgeon”, “AsMA”, “Aerospace Medicine”. Upon reading the last mentioned, my heart dropped. I had found it. I had found an entire field and community of people as curious as me and that shared the same passions. And at the end of that year I was given the chance to get in touch with it more directly.
To graduate the International Baccalaureate (a different kind of high school), every student must carry out an independent research about a topic they would be interested in studying in university, our first research paper. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I wanted to understand the symptoms and episodes I had heard about countless times, I wanted to understand what that so feared G. was. I read all the books about aerospace medicine fundamentals and flight physiology I could find, I started to talk to every single crew member and engineer I could reach, but the understanding of the symptoms through medical lenses was still missing. Another important thing that was missing was a supervisor, who would be willing to help me to start the research. Basically, the Science Department of my school did not understand what I was going for, how I was going to do it and no teacher was exactly thrilled with the idea of supervising a student they had no idea of how to help. It was even hard to decide whether to classify it as a Biology or Physics project!
It was in the spring of 2019 that Maria, who was not even my teacher, heard about the project and was willing to supervise me, but I would have to find help from doctors outside; as she put it “You have chosen a very, very specific topic, so you need a very specific knowledge because I can’t tell you how to start”. And here we go again on another quest for a supervisor. And this quest is what made me fall completely in love with the scientific community.
Doctors who had never met me sent me PDFs and articles and two of them (thank you so much, Dr Suto and Dr Lia) sent me the contact of Dr Thais Russomano, who was the fairy godmother of my Extended Essay. She taught me how to structure and organise a research based on the study of the literature, how to select it, how to understand the state of the art of that field. It was more challenging than I was expecting but it made all the difference. Thanks to all her feedbacks and articles I was finally able to understand where I was and how far I would be able to go (unfortunately not as far as I wanted due to school limitations). But now I knew what I was doing. I wanted to understand the effects of the G-acceleration on the human cardiac system and how the Anti-G Straining Manoeuvre diminished its effects. All I needed for the school to approve it was: at least 7 volunteer pilots with enough availability to measure their blood pressure while doing loops 2 or 3 times for a random girl’s school project, piece of cake right?
To my heart-stopping surprise I got all of them, and they were all mostly glad to help me and to send me papers, videos, and pictures from their own centrifuge trainings (thank you so much Major Forneas and Colonel Leite). Nevertheless, to my despair the data collected contradicted my primary hypothesis! Great!
That is when my dear friend Jonas comes into scene. He worked at SAAB, the company which was developing the new Brazilian Grippen, state-of-the-art fighter jet, and offered to arrange me an interview with a test-pilot. It was by far, one of the greatest days of my life!
While we were waiting for Andreas to finish his debriefing, Jonas took me on a tour around the Flight Test Centre. I had always wanted to see the Grippen; only one was ready so far, it had flown only once and only authorised personal could see or get close to it, or at least I had been told. Jonas opened the hangar’s door and there it was! The mysterious Grippen and I was one of the few civils, who had nothing to do with the project whatsoever, who had been able not only to see it but to climb up to its cockpit! Right there, I knew I had made the right choice.
Andreas, the test-pilot, still wearing his anti-G suit, spent a long time answering my endless questions, and by the time I finished the interview I understood where I had gone wrong and the kind of data that I needed to prove my new hypothesis right! And again, I was mesmerised by how the scientific community mobilised itself to help an enthusiast like me, who was still not even part of it.
Autores: Beatriz Helena Ramos Reis*, Bruno Veiga Fontes de Carvalho*, Prof Jonas Lírio Gurgel**, Prof Flávia Porto*
*Instituto de Educação Física e Desportos, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)
A pandemia de COVID-19 gerou a necessidade de utilizar medidas de distanciamento social para que haja a redução da disseminação do novo coronavírus. Contudo, têm-se percebido prejuízos na saúde física e mental dos indivíduos, porque a mudança brusca na rotina resultou em um novo estilo de vida das pessoas, que passaram a viver em confinamento. Aumento de preocupações, ansiedade, tristeza prolongada e sedentarismo são algumas das consequências ocasionadas ou agravadas pelo isolamento.
Como forma de minorar esses efeitos, o exercício físico continua sendo reconhecido como uma estratégia não-medicamentosa eficaz que auxilia na prevenção e no tratamento de doenças físicas, metabólicas e/ou psicológicas. Entretanto, a suspensão e a limitação do uso de estabelecimentos, como academias de ginástica e clubes esportivos, para evitar aglomeração, levaram muitas pessoas a praticar atividades físicas regulares em casa.
Nesse contexto, percebeu-se um fenômeno interessante na internet, que foi o aumento da busca por informações online. O Google Trends, por exemplo, é um recurso que expõe os termos mais pesquisados em diferentes lugares do mundo e revela sua popularidade em uma escala de 0 a 100. Nele, foi possível identificar o aumento da busca por informações relacionadas às consequências e necessidades geradas pela pandemia. Nesse contexto, vimos que, no Brasil, as buscas pelo termo “exercício físico em casa”, em Português, antes de março de 2020, teve popularidade baixa (oscilando na escala entre 0% e 25% de procura via Google). Após esse mês, quando se iniciou o distanciamento social no país, a busca pelo termo oscilou, aproximadamente, entre 40% e 100% até o momento atual. Ao analisar o termo “physical exercise at home”, em Inglês, notou-se que, em janeiro de 2020, as buscas estavam entre 0% e 25%. De fevereiro até maio deste ano, as buscas estiveram entre 25% e 100%, diminuindo em junho, momento em que vários países afrouxaram as regras de isolamento. Ao observar esses dados, notamos um aumento considerável na popularidade dos termos durante esse período, demonstrando um maior interesse de internautas sobre o assunto. Essas oscilações parecem ter relação com o fechamento e abertura de comércio e demais atividades no mundo.
Interessante também mencionar a necessidade de adaptar os exercícios a ser realizados em casa. Dessa forma, percebeu-se que o interesse por equipamentos esportivos para realizar exercícios físicos em casa também aumentou, sendo demonstrado nas buscas no Google. A pesquisa pelo termo “equipamentos para atividade física”, nos dois primeiros meses desse ano, estava próxima a zero em níveis de interesse; já em março, o interesse aumentou bastante, chegando a atingir 100 no mês de abril. Em todo mundo, o termo “equipment for physical activity”, pesquisado na língua inglesa, mostrou pico de interesse (100 na escala) no mês de fevereiro e menor interesse próximo ao início de junho (0 na escala). Como a pandemia ainda não está controlada, inclusive com previsão de novas ondas de contágios e mortes, é bem provável que os hábitos das pessoas mudem, realmente, como forma de adaptação à nova realidade.
Apesar da reconhecida resiliência das pessoas, não se pode negar que os prejuízos psicológicos são evidentes e, muitas vezes, é até difícil entender esses sentimentos e lidar com a magnitude que podem atingir. Pensando nisso, repetimos o processo de investigação no Google Trends e verificamos que o termo “depressão na quarentena” não apresentava interesse da população Brasileira entre janeiro e início de março (0 na escala) – esse desinteresse deve-se, provavelmente, ao fato de que ainda não existia o confinamento social no Brasil. Porém, a partir de março, a busca pelo termo cresceu muito, atingindo o pico de pesquisa (100 na escala) no início do mês de maio. Quando pesquisado, em Inglês, o termo “quarentine depression” também não houve interesse pela população mundial entre os meses de janeiro até o início de março. A partir daí, iniciou-se um aumento exponencial pela procura do termo, atingindo seu pico no mês de abril e, após, uma sequente diminuição até o mês de junho.
Do espaço ao COVID-19: o que podemos aprender? Astronautas devem saber lidar com o confinamento e, apesar de serem submetidos a diversos tipos de treinamento para cumprir de forma adequada as missões espaciais, efeitos psicológicos provocados pelo confinamento são relatados na literatura. No caso da COVID-19, não houve preparo para essa nova realidade. Estamos todos tentando desenvolver mecanismos para desenvolver resiliência e melhor lidarmos com a pandemia e todos os acontecimentos relacionados à ela. A internet torna-se uma aliada, uma companhia provedora de informações e possibilidades de compras para as pessoas. O desafio agora é lidar com essa quantidade de informações, separando-as em relação à veracidade e à aplicabilidade.
THE INTERNET, PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND DEPRESSION: WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?
Authors: Beatriz Helena Ramos Reis*, Bruno Veiga Fontes de Carvalho*, Prof Jonas Lírio Gurgel**, Prof Flávia Porto*
*Institute of Physical Education and Sports, State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated the need to employ social distancing measures to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. However, negative effects on the physical and mental health of individuals have been noted, as the sudden change in routine has resulted in a new lifestyle for people, who are now spending their lives in confinement. Increased worries, anxiety, prolonged sadness and inactivity are some of the consequences caused or aggravated by isolation.
Physical exercise continues to be recognised as an effective non-medication strategy that is useful for mitigating these effects, as it helps in the prevention and treatment of physical, metabolic and/or psychological diseases. However, measures taken to suspend and limit the use of establishments, such as gyms and sports clubs, to avoid people gathering together, have led to many people undertaking regular physical activities within the home.
In this context, an interesting phenomenon has been seen on the internet, which is an increase in the search for information online. Google Trends, for example, is a resource reporting the most searched terms in different locations of the world and reveals the popularity of these terms on a scale of 0 to 100. It was possible from this to identify an increased search for information related to the consequences of the pandemic and the needs it has generated. It can be seen that in Brazil, prior to March 2020, searches for the term in Portuguese “exercício físico em casa” had low popularity (fluctuating between 0% and 25% on the scale of Google searches). The following month, after the beginning of social distancing within the country, the search for this term has varied between approximately 40% and 100% until the present day. When analysing the same term in English, it was seen that interest in this search varied between 0% and 25% in January 2020, whereas, from February until May of this year, searches rose to between 25% and 100%, before decreasing in June after several countries had relaxed their isolation rules. Analysis of this data evidenced a considerable increase in the popularity of the term during this period, demonstrating a greater interest in the subject by Internet users. These variations seem to be linked to the closing and opening of trade and other activities around the world.
It is also interesting to mention the need to adapt to performing exercise at home. Consequently, it was noticed that interest in the sports equipment needed to practice physical exercise at home also increased, being demonstrated by searches on Google. The search for the term in Portuguese "equipamentos para atividade física" in the first two months of 2020 was close to zero in interest levels; by March interest had increased a lot, reaching 100 in April. From a global perspective, the term “equipment for physical activity”, researched in the English language showed a peak of interest (100 on the scale) in February and less interest by the beginning of June (0 on the scale). As the pandemic is not yet under control, and indeed with the prediction of new waves of contagions and deaths, it is very likely that people's habits will really change as a way of adapting to the new reality.
While recognising that people are in general resilient, it cannot be denied that psychological damage is evident, and it is often even difficult to understand and deal with the magnitude of the feelings that may arise. With this in mind, we repeated the research process on Google Trends with the term in Portuguese “depressão na quarentena”, and found little interest from the Brazilian population between January and early March (0 on the scale), probably due to the fact that social confinement did not exist in Brazil at that time. However, from March onwards, the search for the term grew a lot, reaching a peak in searches (100 on the scale) by the beginning of May. Similarly, when researching the term “quarantine depression” in English, there was little interest in the world population between the months of January until early March, with a subsequent exponential increase in searches for the term, reaching a peak in April, followed by a decrease until the month of June.
From Space to COVID-19: what can we learn? Astronauts need to know how to deal with confinement and, despite being submitted to various forms of training to adequately meet the challenges of space missions, psychological effects caused by confinement have already been reported in the literature. In the case of COVID-19, there was no preparation for this new reality, leaving us all trying to develop mechanisms to become more resilient to and cope better with the pandemic and all the events related to it. The Internet has become an ally, a service that provides information and shopping possibilities for people. The challenge now is to deal well with this volume of information, dividing it up in terms of what is true and what is applicable.
Author: María Alejandra Corzo Zamora M.D, MSc
Space Physiology & Analogue Space Missions Lead - InnovaSpace Spanish Hub
Misiones Espaciales Análogas.., término que a primera vista para algunos es extraño, para otros es una gran oportunidad de ciencia. La primera vez que vi este término fue durante mi maestría en Fisiología y Salud Espacial en King’s College London, en la cual diferentes docentes y estudios los tenían como referencia para investigación en ciencias espaciales y desde ese momento me enamoré de este campo.
Pero que son las Misiones Espaciales Análogas??
Bueno, estas misiones son operaciones espaciales realizadas en la Tierra en escenarios naturales o artificiales adecuados para simular entornos o escenarios espaciales, los cuales se realizan para realizar pruebas de equipos, estandarizar procedimientos de tripulaciones espaciales y también permiten desarrollar estudios en diversas áreas del conocimiento como son la Biología, medicina, ingeniería biomédica, robótica, comunicaciones, y otros tipos de ingeniería entre otras.
El planeamiento de una misión espacial requiere de diferentes componentes que deben ser milimétricamente estandarizados en tierra para lograr el éxito de la misión en el espacio, en este campo, las misiones espaciales análogas juegan un papel importante en la estandarización y entrenamiento de las personas involucradas en la misma.
Las misiones espaciales análogas datan desde la planeación de las misiones Apolo de NASA en la cual, cráteres de meteoritos y faldas de volcanes fueron utilizados para las pruebas de trajes espaciales y rovers que participaron en la misión; así como los astronautas seleccionados recibieron su entrenamiento en comunicaciones, procedimientos para recolección de muestras geológicas, supervivencia, adaptación a sistemas de emergencia de vehículos y su operación.
Astronautas del Apollo 11 Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin (izquierda) and Neil A. Armstrong, en entrenamiento de procedimiento para la recolección de muestras geológicas en la Luna para el primer aterrizaje Lunar en las Montañas de Quitman en Texas. En esta mission utilizaron herramientas especialmente diseñadas para la mission. (NASA). Imagen tomada de Smithsonian Magazine en: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/going-moon-apollo-11-astronauts-trained-these-five-sites-180972452/
Desde entonces, estas misiones son de vital importancia para los programas espaciales y para todas aquellas organizaciones, instituciones, universidades entre otros que desean realizar investigación y desarrollo en ciencias espaciales.
Entre las aplicaciones más utilizadas encontramos el estudio de los factores humanos en el espacio, los cuales se relacionan con respuestas comportamentales y fisiológicas al confinamiento, la interacción entre comunicaciones de la tripulación con el centro de mando remoto y el desarrollo de aplicaciones a distancia para el apoyo de la tripulación y manejo de emergencias.
Entre los escenarios naturales utilizados para estas misiones son los desiertos, los cuales poseen características únicas como acceso, cambios extremos de temperatura día y noche, vientos y su gran similitud con las imágenes topográficas de Marte, ejemplo de su uso se encuentra la estación del desierto de UTAH por el Mars Society y misiones temporales realizadas por el Foro Austriaco Espacial en desierto de Rio tinto en España, norte del Sahara en Marruecos y la región de Dophar en Oman. En Latinoamérica se han realizado misiones en el desierto de Atacama en Chile, en el desierto de la Tatacoa en Colombia entre otros desiertos.
De igual manera, la Antártida, al ser un continente poco poblado y de difícil acceso se convierte en otro escenario muy atractivo para el desarrollo de misiones análogas espaciales, es así como una estación permanente en la cual se ha desarrollado diferentes aplicaciones espaciales y estudios biomédicos es la estación Concordia operada por Italia y Francia.
El mundo de las misiones espaciales análogas es muy amplio y fascinante, así como el mismo espacio, otros escenarios incluyen cuevas, selvas, faldas de volcanes y el fondo del océano, hasta escenarios en hangares en la ciudad, los cuales proveen similitudes con el espacio dependiendo del objetivo que se busque en cada misión.
Si eres amante de estas ciencias, te invito a seguir los blogs en InnovaSpace, donde encontrarás otros datos sobre misiones espaciales análogas y otros temas de las ciencias espaciales.
Nos vemos próximamente!!!!