CAVES 2011. Microbiological sampling: one of the rooms visited by the
astronauts gleams with gold. It's known as cave gold. No known
microbiological studies on this phenomena have been done until now. The German space agency DLR cooperated with ESA
during CAVES 2011 and has now started a DNA analysis of the samples collected by the astronauts.
ESA’s cave training prepares astronauts to work as an international team in
real exploration conditions. Sending astronauts underground to survive and
explore Sardinian caves in Italy for almost a week is just one element of
their long training.
The Sardinian caves are isolated from the outside world. The astronauts need
to get used to confined spaces, minimal privacy, technical challenges and
limited equipment and supplies for hygiene and comfort - just like in space.