In cave during the preparatory training of the CAVES 2011

ESA Astronauts Complete Underground Training Camp

October 22, 2011 / Italy, Europe

Participants in the European Space Agency training program recently spent six days underground in caves on the island of Sardinia in order to simulate the environment they will encounter in space with its isolation, confinement, and minimal privacy.

The international team, made up of America, English, French, Russian and Japanese astronauts, explored many of the islands caves, some previously unexplored. As part of their training they worked on a number of skills including mapping, photography, monitoring air flow, temperature and humidity, and taking geological and microbiological samples.

“Even for astronauts, life in the dark, cool, humid underground environment can be a completely new situation with interesting psychological and logistical problems,” – Loredana Bessone, European Astronaut Centre Astronaut Trainer to CBSNews

Be sure to check out a short video on the expedition, now available on European Space Agency website.

Mission accomplished: cave crew returns to Earth [European Space Agency] & Seeing the light: Astronauts “cave crew” returns to Earth [CBSNews]

Photo by V. Crobu/ESA

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