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MARS SIMULATION - Astronauts train again on Lanzarote

The European Space Agency (ESA) returns to Lanzarote to train astronauts for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA's Stephanie Wilson are taking part in the 5th edition of the PANGAEA program, which will take them to land on the island in the next few days.

The President of the Cabildo of Lanzarote, María Dolores Corujo, and the Councillor for Geopark Lanzarote and Archipelago Chinijo, Jorge Peñas, celebrate the recent return to the island of the European Space Agency (ESA), on the occasion of the celebration of a new geological and astrobiological training programme in planetary analogues for PANGAEA astronauts.

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA's Stephanie Wilson are taking part in the fifth edition of this intensive course, which will take them to different parts of Europe and land in the next few days in Lanzarote, to learn how to cope in geological environments and prepare to go to the Moon or Mars. On the island they will learn about the geological interactions between volcanic activity and water, two key factors in the search for life.

"The uniqueness of our volcanic landscapes and their resemblance to the lunar landscape have made Lanzarote one of the best training grounds in the world for astronauts, geologists and scientists, which is invaluable," said the president of the Cabildo of Lanzarote, María Dolores Corujo.

For the Councillor for Lanzarote Geopark and Chinijo Archipelago, Jorge Peñas, "it is a source of pride that Lanzarote will once again be the scene of space training, putting the island and its important geological heritage in the international spotlight".

Geophysicist, volcanologist and, most recently, commander of the International Space Station in 2018, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has spent more than 5,700 sunrises and sunsets in space. In addition, he also conducted underground explorations as part of ESA's CAVES training in 2019.

Stephanie Wilson is one of NASA's most senior astronauts and is part of Team Artemis, a select group preparing for upcoming manned missions to the Moon. She could be the first woman to set foot on the lunar surface. She has participated in three space shuttle missions to the International Space Station and has logged more than 42 days in space.

The European Space Agency has been transferring its human and technical teams to Lanzarote for more than five years thanks to a collaboration agreement signed with Geoparque Lanzarote and Archipiélago Chinijo.

Text: Chris Ernst | Photos: Editorial Network Montefuego media Services / ESA

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