A few weeks before leaving for the Antarctic Concordia Station, the Italian-French crew that will spend over one year in one of the harshest, isolated environments on Earth, attended two days of preparatory training at ESAs Headquarters in Paris, France. During their stay at the research station the crew will participate in a number of ESA experiments – the outcome of which will help prepare for long-term missions to Mars.
As part of the Aurora Exploration Programme, ESA is considering participating in a human mission to Mars by the year 2030. Research projects are planned or are already underway to develop the technology and knowledge needed. By being involved in programmes that have requirements similar to those of a mission to Mars, ESA will gain experience on how best to prepare for such a challenging mission.
"The Concordia Station is an ideal location as it replicates certain aspects of a Mars mission," explains Oliver Angerer, ESAs coordinator for the Concordia research programme. "The crew lives in an extreme environment in one of the most remote places on Earth. During the winter the base is completely cut off with no visitors and no chance for rescue. In such an isolated location, the crew has to learn to be fully self-sufficient."
Dieter Isakeit | alfa
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