NASA is tracking two explorers on a 2,268-mile (3,650 kilometers) journey across Antarctica to look into humanity’s ability to make due on Mars.
British explorers Justin Packshaw and Jamie Facer Childs are on the 32nd day of an 80-day journey through the southernmost mainland as part of the Chasing the Light mission — a grueling expedition that could give space organizations a superior comprehension of the psychological and physical effect of different worlds on the human body and mind.
The men are overcoming frigid temperatures and katabatic winds up to the recorded maximum of 200 mph (320 km/h) as they advance across the mainland — first, as they complete the 1,342-mile (2,159 km) leg from the port of Novolazarevskaya to the geographic South Pole, and later as they travel to every part of the leftover 926 miles (1,490 km) past Hercules Inlet to Union Glacier Camp — the main involved facility in Antarctica.
“Much like the extreme conditions found on planets in our solar system, Antarctica has an [harsh] environment that is useful for a range of human and biological research,” according to the Chasing the Light mission website. “Justin and Jamie’s mission will allow scientists to observe a rare scientific story of human adaptability, which will ultimately contribute to … human-centered space exploration.”
NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and Stanford University are gathering information from y wearable smart gadgets as the men walk and skii their way south. Outside of kites that utilize favorable winds to pull them along, the men are making the journey with no mechanical assistance.
They are likewise towing two 440-pound (200 kilograms) sleds that carry their food and equipment, yet in addition tests of their blood, saliva, urine, and feces were taken across the trek.
NASA is likewise testing the explorers’ ability to estimate distance visually, which can frequently be inconsistent when humans are placed in an alien environment. A renowned example comes from the 1971 Apollo 14 mission.
While walking across the moon gathering rock samples, astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell put their focus on visiting a distant crater, yet decided to turn around after assessing that it was more than a pretty far. Indeed, the two were just 50 feet (15.24 meters) from the crater’s rim.
The men have likewise been entrusted with getting key environmental information, including ice levels, radiation, and wind speed. As satellites don’t orbit directly above the South Pole, the estimations the two take will fill in a “satellite data gap” and could give significant experiences into environmental change, as per the Chasing the Light mission.
The pair’s journey was initially longer, with an extra leg of the journey taking them to the Antarctic’s “Pole of Inaccessibility” — the hardest part of the continent to reach. The route must be abbreviated, in any case, later wind and snow kept the explorers from traveling on key days.
“This continent demands respect and also flexibility as you can rest assured that nothing will go according to plan and you can only hope that you can adapt accordingly and make that decision at the right time,” Packshaw wrote in his day 27 entry to the team’s live journal. “Which is what we feel we are doing with this call. Onwards …”