6 UCL students to take part in Utah desert “Mission to Mars”
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
A team of 6 students from the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) will take part in a scientific project named “Mission to Mars UCL”, simulating an exploration venture of the planet Mars in the desert in the state of Utah (USA), between April 11th and April 26th. This initiative is part of an international research programme focussing on the exploration of and manned flights to the planet Mars. The Mars project (Mars Analog Research Station project) is using conditions similar to those on an alien planet, which can be found in the deserts of Canada, Utah, as well as Australia and Iceland. The 6 UCL students will undertake their experiments from a prototype station based in the Utah desert for 2 weeks. The aim of this type of mission is to acquire essential understanding indispensable to set in motion human exploration of Mars, and to raise public awareness about the exploration of the red planet.
The team consists of 2 engineers, a male physicist, a female physicist, a biologist, and a linguist who will take on the role of reporter. Together, the 6 UCL students will carry out experiments, in particular mapping out communication signals and relief around the base camp. They will also try to map out an extinct stream from traces of erosion, define chemical elements of celestial bodies, carry out an experiment in microbiology, and create a video-diary.