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First Mexican analogous simulated mission to Mars to be held in December
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mexico, Oct. 31 (Notimex).- A group of young Mexicans will perform for the first time a analogous mission to the "red planet" at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, United States. The group of the Exploration Mission-1 (MEx-1), made up by six crew members, will carry out scientific experiments in the American desert that will simulate the environment on Mars from December 15 to 30 this year. To make the test experience more real, the astronauts will have a support and support team "on Earth", from Mexico. The members of the historical mission are Tania Robles, who will be the commander of the group; Juan Carlos Mariscal, executive officer; César Serrano, engineer; Genaro Grajeda, health and safety officer; Federico Martínez, astronomer; and Walter Calles, scientist. Exploration Mission - 1 (MEx-1) is a team made of young and professional Mexican students, the National Polytechnic Institute, the Technological Institute and Higher Education of Monterrey and the Autonomous University of Baja California. "The analogous missions serve to validate or make an environment as close as a mission to space would be. They can be simulations of the journey or stay in some other planet or celestial body, "said Carlos Mariscal. For 15 days, the six Mexicans will live almost isolated, since they will only maintain contact with mission control in Mexico, where they will be informed of the mission's status, the climate and the activities to be carried out during the day. "The simulation is in the middle of the desert. It is as if a camp were set up on Mars, we will be living inside a habitat that has an astronomical observatory, greenhouse, common areas of research and coexistence of the crew, "he said. In an interview with Notimex, Mariscal stressed that to carry out the experiments in the desert, they must also use space suits, go through all the protocols as if they were on the "red planet". Since part of the mission will be carried out at Christmas, the technical support team on the "Earth", in particular, members of the Faculty of Psychology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, for its acronym in Spanish) will measure the impact that isolation will have on the crew during the holiday season. Juan Carlos Mariscal commented that his intention is to consolidate MEX-1, as a long-term project, in order to take advantage of the experience of this first crew to transmit the knowledge acquired to a possible second generation. "So far we have contemplated attending only this first analogous mission, our idea is to lay the foundations for there to be a MEX-2, which are integrated if possible by new people," he said. Mariscal, who was part of the UNAM Space student team, explained that these type of groups are a hotbed of talent, from which future members of MEx-1 can emanate, where they can validate the technology they develop for the competitions. NTX/ICB/LCH/ASTRO16/JCG read more
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