Because the problems of the American space Agency NASA is returning humans to the moon, the Agency is trying to return has become so safe and prepared as possible. Not so long ago we reported about the launch of the 23-th mission NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations), in which the astronauts within a few days they will live and work on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Florida in a special underwater laboratory, conducting research and testing of technologies that the Agency intends to use in lunar missions beginning in 2024. So, in this expedition NASA, together with the European space Agency are conducting trials of a new prototype of a special device, which will be entrusted the serious task of rescuing people on the moon in case of need.
Since the bottom of the ocean is a perfect analogue environment, allowing to simulate not only the activities on the lunar surface, but also in the whole space, a space Agency resort to the practice of training astronauts under water. For the training of their astronauts for future missions to Earth’s satellite NASA uses underground laboratory Aquarius, located at a depth of 19 meters, 5.5 kilometers from the coast of South Florida.
Why it is difficult to raise the fallen man on the moon?
The European space Agency has developed a prototype Lunar Evacuation System Assembly (LESA, “the lunar system of evacuation”), which allows one person to lift from the lunar surface wounded astronaut and move behind them in a reduced gravity environment, and then lay on a stretcher for further transportation to the lunar module with normal atmospheric pressure.
The entire process of deploying a special folding pyramidal structure with wheels, special wheel stretcher and fixing them early crew member takes less than 10 minutes.
Testing devices LESA during the mission, NEEMO 23
Suits intended for working outside the spacecraft or the lander is very bulky, uncomfortable and pretty much limit the possibility of movement, noted in the ESA.
“Under no circumstances astronaut clad in a spacesuit to operate in space, can’t carry a wounded colleague on his shoulders. Our task is to develop methods that will allow to fulfill all necessary rescue operations in such a suit,” says hervé Stevenin, head of the ESA programmes for the training of astronauts in outer space.
“The LESA device can be transported as bags of a Golf, and then quickly deploy next to the fallen astronaut, to use the lifting mechanism to raise the stretcher, the use of which is very easy even alone. Securing the wounded astronaut on a stretcher, the rescuer will be able to deliver it in a safe place,” adds the engineer.
An early prototype of the device was tested by ESA with participation of European space Agency astronaut Pedro Duque and NASA astronaut Kjell Norwood Lindgren in 2017 in the framework of the mission NEEMO 22.
The mission NEEMO 23, a group that also includes two astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (ESA) and Jessica Watkins (NASA), spend this week testing the new version of the device LESA. To test the device Cristoforetti and Potts used the suits that mimic the suits for work in space and impede movement.
“ESA takes part in the NASA NEEMO program over the past eight years. Both agencies share the idea and the desire to return humans to the moon by 2024, so collaboration and testing new technologies within the mission, NEEMO 23 opens the way to potential future joint projects between our space agencies,” adds Stevenin.