Pangaea edition 2017 will concentrate on Earth and planetary geology, interpreting orbital images, planetary protection, lunar geology and impact cratering. ESA personnel involved developing missions to the Moon will participate. The course is primarily designed for astronauts and will feature ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti taking part with Eurocom and ESA spacewalk instructor Hervé Stevenin, as well as members of ESA’s exploration strategy and future missions team.
Pangaea will prepare not only astronauts, but also mission developers to work with European planetary geology field scientists on operational concepts for exploration, operating rovers and the design of sample-return missions.
The team of astronauts, spacewalk experts, engineers and scientists will use the course to tackle aspects of taking geological samples, discussing issues from operational field tools to mobility constraints, location, avoiding contamination of samples, support tools and documenting their work.
Three field trips are planned for this year starting with a trip to the Ries impact crater, in western Bavaria, Germany, that was also visited by Apollo 14 astronauts in 1970.
After the last session of the course in Lanzarote, Spain, an extension campaign will test a series of technologies and protocols to increase awareness and prepare astronauts and operation engineers working in environments that resemble other planets.
During the course, ESA astronauts Matthias Maurer and Pedro Duque will use their experience from previous Pangaea courses as well as ESA’s CAVES underground training course and NASA’s NEEMO underwater simulation missions.
Pangaea will have three sessions:
European Astronaut Centre and Ries crater, Germany
- Planetary Geology and Planetary Protection.
- Impact Cratering: Field Trip to Ries Crater, Nördlingen.
Bletterbach, Italian Dolomites
- Sedimentary Geology of Earth and Mars.
- Field Trip to Bletterbach Canyon.
- Astrobiology and Volcanoes.
- Field Trips to various volcanic sites on Lanzarote.
The students that are taking part in Pangaea 2017 are:
- Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA astronaut and test pilot
- Hervé Stevenin, ESA astronaut trainer
- Matthias Maurer, ESA astronaut and scientist
- Pedro Duque, ESA astronaut and engineer
- William Carey, ESA robotics specialist
- Shahrzad Hosseini, ESA's human spaceflight and robotic exploration strategy
Last update: 8 September 2017