Science

Watch: New group of UAE astronauts learn about the surfaces of the Moon and Mars

Dubai: There is no stopping the UAE’s manned space missions following the return of astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi on Monday following the successful completion of the longest Arab space mission. The country’s next group of astronauts continues their training for future human spaceflight missions.

Astronauts Mohammad Al Mulla and Nora Al Matrooshi, the duo forming the second group of Emirati astronauts, have received geology training as part of NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Class of 2021, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) , the agency behind the UAE Astronaut. program, he said Thursday.

In a social media post, MBRSC said its training included classes covering topics such as the surfaces of the Moon and Mars. In addition to studying what the Moon and Mars look like on the outside, the duo did field training on surface processes: how the soil on those planets works and how it changes over time. They are even drawing a geological map that helps show where different rocks and features exist on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.

It is hoped that this training will help them become better astronauts and scientists so that they can explore other planets in the future. MBRS also shared images of the two Emirati astronauts along with classmates and NASA trainers.

Extensive training

The duo is underway with their extensive training regimen, and both performed spacewalks at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, last month.

Following a recent series of demanding exercises including survival training at Fort Novosel in Alabama and detailed orientation at the Marshall Space Flight Center in the US, Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla are training at the NBL, the world’s largest indoor pool. largest space in the world used for simulated spacewalk training. It is a crucial phase on the path to completing your astronaut training.

Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla, who are part of the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme, were selected in the 2021 astronaut candidate class along with 10 of their NASA classmates. The 10 candidates were carefully selected from a pool of more than 12,000 applicants from across the United States for NASA’s astronaut corps and are currently undergoing a candidacy training program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. They will graduate in early 2024 as astronauts eligible to fly.

Ready for the next mission

Meanwhile, Al Neyadi, who is currently under medical observation in the United States after landing off the coast of Jacksonville in Florida, has expressed his willingness to undertake the next mission.

He told this to a senior MBRSC official who visited him in Houston.

Salem Humaid Al Marri, director general of the MBRSC, said he visited Al Neyadi after his successful return to Earth.

“He is in excellent health and the first thing he told me was, ‘I’m ready for the next mission,'” Al Marri said in a post on the microblogging site X.

The official said that “this embodies the spirit of the UAE Astronaut Program.”

“I’m very excited for what’s next. Stay tuned,” he added.

Al Neyadi is expected to return to the UAE to a hero’s welcome in a couple of weeks. After spending almost a week here, he will return to the United States to conduct more experiments.

Congratulating the young astronauts on their new training, Al Marri said in another post: “Studying geology is a crucial step in understanding and exploring the destinations in space that human spaceflight will take us to and extracting samples from their surfaces. “Each training session elevates the experience of the UAE Astronaut Program team, fine-tuning our preparation for future missions.”

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