Developing the safest and most efficient way to return to the Moon starts on Earth. European astronauts and spacewalk experts are preparing for the future of Moon exploration with electronic aids, upgraded geological tools from the Apollo era and improved scientific protocols.
In November, ESA conducted a moonwalk simulation in Lanzarote, Spain as part of Pangaea-X, a test campaign that brought together space exploration, high-tech survey equipment and geology.
Wearing a bulky spacesuit in an alien environment is one of the constraints humans will have to deal with on the Moon. The new operational concepts and equipment prototypes being tested take into account the limited movement these spacesuits allow.
Communication between the scientists and astronauts is also a key part in enhancing the efficiency of future expeditions to the Moon. The scientists at ground control used an innovative tool called the Electronic Field Book that shows all relevant data in one place and includes voice chat. The communications tool is an all-in-one, easy-to-use and plug-and-play device.
These Pangaea-X dry-runs are testing the waters for future exploration with a space gateway, from which a lunar spacewalk coordinator could guide astronauts on the Moon in cooperation with a planetary geologist in mission control on Earth.