Learn about how scientist test equipment that can be used for a Martian exploration on the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.
Read the full transcript »
Testing Equipment for Martian Exploration Scientist think this terrain is pretty close to what humans will encounter when they step out onto the Martian surface. The region is remote, rocky and is little if any of water. It’s the Flinders ranges in South Australia and there’s not much here apart from a few astronauts. The scientist have been chosen by the mass society, an international body of scientists to create and test the equipment that will one day be used by humans to explore the red planet. Nathalie Cutler is a megatronic engineer, a space suit designer. She’s part of a team that is developing a space suit for the Martian explorers made of Lycra unlike anything used in space before. The idea of using elastic is to duplicate earth like atmospheric pressure. Without protection, blood vessels would simply rupture and astronauts would lead to death. The make it believe astronauts spends up to two hours at a time in the suits and the verdict, so far so good. But there is another problem apart from pressure and that’s solar radiation. Fatih Erwa works with Nexus finding ways to protect against solar radiation. He has come to the Flinders rangers to research what life when you on the planet made it like when there is little protection from the sun. NASA interplanetary scientist, Jennifer Heldman is running tests on something that is pivotal to the success of the man Mars mission, water. Explorers will have to find the source of water on mars. They could not possibly take enough with them. Perhaps the greatest threat to exploring astronauts may not be physical. Being a 2 ½ year journey away from earth would impose enormous stress on minds. Relationships would be placed with a great pressure. Phil Coombs is studying in how astronauts might cope with isolation. The scientists in the desert are away from home for only a month. The Mars expiditioners will be out of reach for a minimum of 5 years. At the end of the day, if the crew can’t get along and the crew can’t function together, a mission would be over. All the money spent on engineering and science would be wasted if people can’t carry up their mission properly. The Mars society is planning to build a space research center at the site. When it’s built, scientist will live and work here for months replicating conditions in a Mars settlement. They have already constructed equivalent labs like this in the United States and Canada. But is a human colony on Mars really a possibility?