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Lunar Expedition 1
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Simulated moon base expedition completed

The Lunar Expedition 1 mission lasted for two weeks, experimenting on the crew’s changes in their biological clocks, at the Habitat Lunares base in Poland.

Space Garden, a private company dealing with “innovative space technologies”, simulated a lunar base to conduct 20 spaceflight experiments. These experiments recreated similar conditions found on the Moon (and Mars) that astronauts were made to experience. This simulation went on for two weeks that included a crew of six mock astronauts. The experiment was conducted at the Habitat Lunares base in Poland which was formerly a military airport.

Coming from a statement from the European Space Agency (ESA), the mission began on August 15 and ended on August 29. The chosen crew was kept isolated from the external world, completely away from natural light sources. This allowed the Lunar Expedition 1 to create lunar day and night cycles by playing around with the automated LED lighting systems. In this way, the changes in the crew’s biological clocks were explored by playing with the length of the artificial day. These conditions affected their circadian rhythms or the natural biological 24-hour day cycle so that researchers can study these effects. Along with just fiddling with the length of the day, prototypes of “physiological lights” emitting UV rays were tested to see if they can reset their body clock.

Habitat Lunares Crew
The Habitat Lunares Crew | Credit: Monica Alcazar-Duarte

Ultimately, these experiments will not only allow us to train astronauts for future prolonged lunar missions, it allows us to gather data to be used on any space mission. Almost half of the US Space Shuttle crews were dependent on medication to go to sleep while in orbit, according to surveys. Others have reported messed up body clocks that have been responsible for various health problems. Adequate lighting conditions will only lead to healthier astronauts, which have been recently updated on the International Space Station (ISS).

Apart from experimenting with the crew’s biological clocks, the lunar module is surrounded by Moon-like basalt rocks which simulated the surface of the Moon. This area was used for simulated Moonwalks. Experiments including group dynamics, efficient utilisation and management of limited resources (such as water and other life support systems), and stress under isolation were also conducted.

Source: Space

Abhijit Dey

Abhijit Dey

While indulging deep into conspiracy theories surrounding comic book movie plots, he can be found rewatching them looking for easter eggs. Otherwise, his weekends are spent on gaming and browsing memes.