The European Space Agency (ESA) is now taking steps to turn to Lanzarote into its test field for future trips to Mars, and this week announced that in 2019, a ‘Rover’ managed from the International Space Station will explore areas of Lanzarote to test its robotics and communications technology.
ESA has been transporting astronauts, mission control experts, geologists and scientists from different disciplines to Lanzarote for two weeks to prepare the ground for the Mars missions ‘Rover’ tests next year, as it is convinced that “the island offers the most Martian landscape that can be found on Earth”.
Between 11 and 23 November, the ‘Pangea Project’ of the European Space Agency will bring the German astronaut, Thomas Reiter, the Russian cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Scerchkov and a researcher from the European Astronaut Centre of Cologne to Lanzarote.
All three have received instruction on geological processes and on how to interpret rock formations and exploration tools, before moving on to field work to put their knowledge into practice.
This team from ESA moving to Lanzarote in the ‘Pangea Project’ has already been working in one of the best-preserved impact craters in the world, the Ries Crater in Germany, and also trained in the Martian-like landscapes of the Bletterbach Canyon in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy.
ESA wants to train in Lanzarote, because this island “is one of the best places on Earth to understand the interaction of volcanic activity with water: two factors that are key to the search for life.”
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