• Editorial staff

How astronauts prepare themselves to their space mission

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Have you ever wondered how astronauts prepare themselves to their space missions?

Well, in this piece will be explained, focusing the attention on one special location! Sure enough there is a place in Sardinia, called Sa Grutta, that is able to simulate the space scenario within which the European Space Agency organizes every year a unique underground training course into the cavern, named “CAVES” (Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills): the astronauts are 110 m underground with 61° F and 98.8 % of humidity. “The two-week course prepares astronauts to work safely and effectively in multicultural teams in an environment where safety is critical — in caves” as declared the ESA website. Indeed during the event that took place at the end of September for Focus Magazine, Loredana Bessone (ESA astronaut trainer and founder of the CAVES course) described the course organization and that a great astronaut has to: • Learn to improve his leadership capability • Improve team building skills • Be able with decision-making power • Be able with problem-solving • Climb inside the cavern • Collect specimens without contaminate it • Explore to find water and food • Swim in the water cavern • Be cooperative with scientists and speleologists who go down with them • Explore, observe and interpret • Learn to draw (without seeing) what another astronaut describes to him • Learn to do crosspieces geological in surfaces and lavas tube of the underground natural • Learn to identify geological sites • Learn scientist language • Record all data

This is one of the numerous places that can simulate a space surrounding as: the crater inside the Lanzarote volcano (Canary Islands); the impact crater in Ries (Germany); The Bletterbach canyon of Dolomiti mountains.

(written by Carlotta Bellisai – Communication and Public Relation Responsible)