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Michael Jackson in Arizona caves - NASA is rehearsing for moon walks

During NASA's Operation Artemis, astronauts will patrol the lunar surface. To prepare for this, the space agency is conducting a week-long field experiment in the lunar-like landscape of the San Francisco Volcanic Field near Flagstaff, Arizona, to practice moonwalk scenarios

Astronauts Kate Robbins and Andrea Douglas push a tool cart loaded with lunar tools at the San Francisco Volcanic Field north of Flagstaff, Arizona, as they practice moonwalk activities for the Artemis 3 mission. Credit: Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel
Astronauts Kate Robbins and Andrea Douglas push a tool cart loaded with lunar tools at the San Francisco Volcanic Field north of Flagstaff, Arizona, as they practice moonwalk activities for the Artemis 3 mission. Credit: Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel

During NASA's Operation Artemis, astronauts will tour the moon. To prepare for this, the space agency is conducting a week-long field experiment in the lunar-like landscape of the San Francisco Volcanic Field near Flagstaff, Arizona, to practice moonwalk scenarios.

Astronauts Kate Robbins and Andre Douglas serve as crew members, wearing dummy space suit sets. As they travel through the desert, they will complete a variety of technology demonstrations, equipment tests and scientific operations related to Artemis.

During the experiment, two combined teams will work together and practice lunar activities from start to finish. The field team includes astronauts, NASA engineers and experts in various fields in the Arizona desert who will perform the simulated moonwalks, while a team of flight controllers and scientists at the Johnson Space Center in Houston monitor and guide their activities.

Astronaut Kate Robbins looks at a geological sample she collected during a simulated moonwalk. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel
Astronaut Kate Robbins looks at a geological sample she collected during a simulated moonwalk. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel

"Field experiments play a critical role in testing the systems, equipment, and technologies we will need to successfully perform lunar operations on the Artemis missions," said Barbara Janovico, director of field experiments at Johnson. "Our teams of engineers and scientists have worked together seamlessly so that we will be ready every step of the way when astronauts walk on the moon again."

The experiment includes four simulated moonwalks with operations planned for Artemis 3 and beyond, as well as six operations of advanced technologies. In the sessions, the team will demonstrate technologies that may be used in future Artemis missions, such as the capabilities of displays and navigation data streams in the form of an overhead view using augmented reality or light beacons to help the team return to the lander.

Prior to the field experiment, the team of scientists at Johnson competitively selected and tasked with developing the experiment's science objectives followed a planning process designed for the Artemis missions. Their preparation included creating geological maps, a list of scientific questions and preferred locations for moonwalks for the primary and secondary "landing sites" of the experiment.

"On Artemis 3, the astronauts will be our science operators on the surface of the moon with an entire science team supporting them from Earth," said Sherry Achilles, the experiment's science officer at Goddard Space Flight Center.

Astronaut Andre Douglas collects soil samples on the first of four simulated moonwalks in Arizona. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel
Astronaut Andre Douglas collects soil samples on the first of four simulated moonwalks in Arizona. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel

The experiment will assess gaps and difficulties associated with operations at the lunar south pole, including data collection and communication between the flight control team and the science team in Houston regarding rapid decision-making protocols.

At the end of each moonwalk, the flight control team, the scientific team, the team members and the experts in the various fields will meet to discuss and document lessons learned. NASA will take these lessons and apply them to the Artemis missions, commercial carrier development, and other technology development.

NASA uses space experiments to simulate missions to prepare for deep space missions. The Arizona desert has been used as a testing ground for space exploration since the Apollo era because of many things that resemble lunar soil, including craters, replicas, and volcanic landforms.

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One response

  1. And they forgot one thing. Moon gravity walk. The body also needs to get used to this way of walking. A possible way to deal with this form of walking. is the development of a modular unit that will be attached to the space station and that will be able to simulate the gravitational force of the moon. Astronauts destined to fly to the moon as part of their preparations for the flight will be launched to the space station, during their stay at the space station they will enter this unit, they will activate a device that will rotate this unit around itself at a speed that will create lunar gravity. Such a mini-experiment was conducted on the Gemini 12 flight. The astronauts began to rotate the spacecraft around its own longitudinal axis and indeed clearly saw how a pencil floating inside the spacecraft was drawn to its side. This is actually Dyson's principle, he also accompanies the work of Arthur C. level clerk The giant spaceship described in the work is 50 km long, which rotates around itself, thus creating an internal gravitational force.

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