On the day NASA’s New Horizons flew past Pluto, astronaut Jeremy Hansen was busy exploring his own new world.
Hansen called journalists into a crater 28 kilometers wide, opened in 2010 in the Canadian Arctic, is a harsh place that can be like the Moon or Mars.
As long as the air is breathable and the only help is a plane, technician Hansen and his team intend to prepare geologists and astronauts to travel in the solar system. The team leader was Gordon Osinski, a planetary geologist at the University of Western Ontario.
“He looks at the cone-shaped cracks that have formed in the rock under very high pressure. They were found only in two places on our planet: inside meteorite craters and nuclear test sites, ”Hansen told the Canadian Space Agency.
In the craters, they are formed after collisions of celestial bodies with the earth at high speed, which lead to deformation and sometimes melting of the earth. For thousands of years, earth craters have been destroyed by wind and rain. But on the moon, the only source of destruction is micrometeorites and random collisions with large bodies. Martian craters are also subject to destruction, but the atmosphere there is thinner and dust differs from that of the earth - this can change the time spent on destruction.
Can these cone-shaped cracks exist on other planets? Hansen argues that geologists are not sure for sure, but they suspect that this is possible. But just in case, Hansen is already learning to identify them by eye. The 39-year-old astronaut acknowledges that a trip to the moon may occur after the end of his career. But during his first space flight to the International Space Station, he would at least know how to detect and classify large craters from the air. And his training will fall into the manual for training future generations of astronauts.
“I saw how it works on Earth, but in a spacesuit everything will be different,” he says. “Your mobility is significantly reduced, in addition, it is physically very difficult to move around in a spacesuit.”
In addition to preparing to go into space, Hansen uses other types of insulation training. In April, he and three other astronauts locked themselves up at the Johnson Space Center as part of the HERA program for analog human studies in order to simulate a mini-station mission throughout the week. While astronaut recruits have already gone through smaller simulations earlier, HERA has become the most “high-quality” simulation to date, Hansen reported. The remaining astronauts who participated in the program are: Mike Hopkins (NASA), Janet Epps (NASA) and Satoshi Furukawa (Japan).
“Mike and Satoshi were already flying into space, so after spending time with them in that setting, doing the things they did in space, I learned a ton of everything,” Hansen says.