Right now, an international group of analogue astronauts are pretending to be on Mars. They’ll be spending 2 weeks in a specially-designed habitat, built to simulate a Mars exploration mission. Taking place in Pila, Poland, the operation is called PMAS (Poland Mars Analogue Simulation) and is being conducted by the Space Exploration Project Group (SEPG) of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.
- The team will be conducting 18 experiments that evaluate both human and robotic efficiency, as well as psychosocial dynamics, space mission sustainability, and plant growth on simulated Martian soil.
- The habitat is designed to replicate realistic planetary exploration conditions, including a fully-isolated crew and time-delayed communications with a base team 89 miles away, at the Mission Support Centre in Torun.
- After simulating a lunar environment for the first three days, the volunteers are now experiencing Mars-like conditions and will conduct research in geology, botany, robotics, and other fields.
- The PMAS crew is to evaluate and assess the systems, capabilities, and operations needed for human exploration of both the Moon and Mars.
This project is overseen by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), which is a global non-profit, non-governmental organization representing university students and young space professionals. The PMAS crew and Flight Support Team comprise a group of international participants from 27 countries around the world. PMAS illustrates one of the many reasons space exploration is important – it can bring nations together peacefully, building a spirit of international cooperation. Space exploration is also important for innovation: many space-related inventions have been repurposed for everyday products, and others have catalyzed superior advances in medical technology.
Space travel, by its very nature, is inspirational – it allows us to continue our quest for knowledge, investigate the universe we inhabit, and discover if life exists beyond Earth. The PMAS mission could get us a step closer to answering one of our biggest questions: can humankind develop an enduring presence among the stars?
- ABM Space (Mission Support Centre)
- Space Garden Company (LUNARES Habitat)
- ESA Moon Village/ILEWG (International Lunar Exploration Working Group) (Lunar Simulation)