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A space boot camp in the Alps

A hand-picked group of international students spent a gruelling weekend at a space boot camp in Crans-Montana, in southwestern Switzerland. Though firmly on planet Earth, the aspiring astronauts were preparing for a space mission.

This content was published on February 18, 2020 - 19:30

The camp, set up on frozen Lake Moubra in canton Valais, is part of the Asclepios project, a space mission simulating a mission on another celestial body. The project is led by Space@yourService, a student association from the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). During the camp, researchers collected psychological and physical data to better understand how astronauts react in difficult and unfamiliar situations.

Participants from several countries were chosen from among 200 candidates, mimicking the selection process of the European Space Agency (ESA). The young team called in specialists to help, including EPFL professor and former Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier, French polar explorer Alban Michon and experts from the European Space Agency (ESA).

The simulated mission Asclepios will take place in April at an as-yet undisclosed location in the Jura mountains in Switzerland. Six astronauts will spend seven days isolated in a module that replicates the exact conditions of a space habitat. Everyday life inside the module will be based on real-life NASA and ESA missions. 

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