Swiss Space Centre’s IGLUNA Expert Team

The first ESA_Lab Demonstrator Project IGLUNA offered students opportunities to participate in an international, collaborative project on a visionary space topic: A Habitat in Ice.

IGLUNA is aimed at supporting and accelerating the ESA_Lab@ initiative. The Swiss Space Center coordinates IGLUNA project and leads the main systems engineering activities, coaches the students teams, organises the events, and communicates to the general public. IGLUNA is emulating European students and foster exchange through an international, interdisciplinary, and collaborative platform for demonstration of space technologies. During the project, university students apply their knowledge to solve a technical challenge, to sustain life in an extreme environment, increasing in parallel the maturity of technologies relevant to the space domain.

In one year, 20 student teams from various disciplines gathered their knowledge to design a habitat potentially suitable for an extreme environment, such as the Moon. More than 150 students from 9 European countries designed their prototypes during the autumn semester 2018 and built their modules in the spring semester 2019.

The IGLUNA is an exciting opportunity for students interested in space exploration. In this truly international, interdisciplinary, and collaborative project, the students can present and test their solutions to some of the real challenges of the space missions.

It has been a privilege to be one of the IGLUNA Experts for the 2019/2020 campaign and I am looking forward to working with the 2020/2021 campaign teams.

Exclusive to Madame Mars Newsletter: Sheltering in Place

As we adapt to life during the current global pandemic, many of our necessary mitigation practices suggest what living on Mars might be like. Most of our time is spent in isolation or in very small, familiar groups. Our range of activity is extremely limited; going outside could kill us. If we do leave home, we must wear PPE – on Earth a protective mask, on Mars a spacesuit. We are dependent on virtual communication, networked technologies, and remote support services – delivery from Amazon, supply ship from Earth. Madame Mars asked an interdisciplinary group of scientists, educators and artists to help envision how the shut-down, shelter-in-pace, mostly virtual lives we’re currently living might compare with living on Mars, and whether they’ve personally learned anything during this pandemic that might serve as useful advice for the humans who will someday settle there.

Here goes Klara’s contribution to the newsletter:

“Living in the times of a coronavirus pandemic with all the necessary restrictions and mitigation practices seems to suggest what interplanetary space flight and even living on Mars might be like in the future. But I believe it also works the other way round and that space exploration brings important know-how to our lives today. The knowledge we have about living in space and extreme terrestrial environments is very relevant these days, and can help us endure the constraints our daily lives demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ISS astronauts, crews in analogue space habitats, even personnel at Antarctic research stations can offer many ideas and tips on how to deal with confinement, prolonged periods of isolation, and psychological stress.”

For example, the ESA Astronaut support engineer Romain Charles  has spent 520 days locked in a mockup spacecraft and is a true expert on the subject. Here are his nine tips on how to live in isolation: 

Madame Mars is a transmedia production designed to prepare all of us for our futures in space, whether orbiting Earth, returning to the moon, or colonising Mars – and worlds beyond. Full newsletter available online!

Women of ESA salute the women making history on first all-female spacewalk

Happy and proud to be a part of the ESA team at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) and support the first all-women spacewalk on Friday 18 October 2019. The picture shows more than fifty women working at ESA’s technical heart ESTEC in the Netherlands, many working in daily Space Station support roles who gathered to show their support and highlight the role of women in space. Full story available from ESA website.

esa estec human robotic space exploration klara anna capova
Women of ESA salute the women making history on first all-female spacewalk.