Officials at the European Space Agency (ESA) announce that the training session for the six astronauts making up the international 2012 Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behavior and performance Skills (CAVES) crew is nearing completion.
The astronauts, Andreas Mogensen, David Saint-Jacques, Soichi Noguchi, Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel and Nikolai Tikhonov, will complete their current preparatory tasks on Friday, September 7, which is also when they will enter a cave system in Sardinia, Italy.
They will spend a total of six days in these caves, some of which were never fully mapped and investigated. Though it may seem counterintuitive at first, exploring a cave system shares many similarities to visiting another planet.
Astronauts will have to work in isolation, in very tight space, with no privacy, while at the same time solving issues related to various equipment breaking down, and to limited supplies.