Astronauts from five space agencies around the world are taking part in ESA’s CAVES training course– Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills.
The two-week course prepares astronauts to work safely and effectively in multicultural teams in an environment where safety is critical.
As they explore the caves of Sardinia they will encounter caverns, underground lakes and strange microscopic life. They will test new technology and conduct science – just as if they were living on the International Space Station. The six astronauts will rely on their own skills, teamwork and ground control to achieve their mission goals – the course is designed to foster effective communication, decision-making, problem-solving, leadership and team dynamics.
This year is the first international space cooperation to involve astronauts from China, Russia, Japan, ESA and America, with cosmonaut Sergei Vladimirovich, ESA astronaut Pedro Duque, taikonaut Ye Guangfu, Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide and NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Jessica Muir taking part.
After a week of training (pictured), the ‘cavenauts’ will say goodbye to sunlight and spend six nights underground, setting up basecamp in the Sa Grutta cave in Sardinia, Italy.