Image: Astronaut training in Sardinia, Italy

August 26, 2014
Credit: ESA/L.Bessone

ESA trainers and caving specialists are pictured here underground in Sardinia, Italy, setting the scene for space-like astronaut training next month.

The trainers descended into the caves on a 'dry run' without the to test their planned tasks and operations.

CAVES – short for Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills – offers astronauts, trainers and planners a chance to test -like procedures while exploring uncharted caverns in new environments.

This year, the CAVES team are stepping up the space realism and exploration while testing more technology and procedures.

Clambering down to basecamp hundreds of metres below the surface using safety tethers is similar to conducting a spacewalk, and this year the procedures have been updated to include astronaut terminology.

In space an object can quickly float away and be lost forever. While caving, dropped can be lost for ever in crevices or holes.

Passing equipment, cavers and astronauts must make sure the recipient is grasping the item before the first person lets go: 'make before break' in astronaut lingo.

No opportunity is missed to make the week-long stay underground resemble a space mission. The trainees will follow a timeline and procedures, including handling equipment and communication protocols, just as on the International Space Station.

Explore further: Training astronauts in uncharted caverns

Related Stories

Training astronauts in uncharted caverns

July 14, 2014

ESA trainers and caving specialists recently went underground in Sardinia, Italy to set the scene for space-like astronaut training later this summer.

Astronauts train by living in extreme conditions

June 25, 2014

ESA's team of astronaut trainers spent last week in the caves of Sardinia preparing for CAVES 2014, a two-week course for astronauts to get to grips with living in extreme conditions.

Cavenauts return to Earth

September 21, 2012

The international team of astronauts taking part in ESA's caving adventure have returned to Earth after spending six days underground. The voyage to the surface of our planet took them five hours from basecamp.

Astronauts going underground

September 12, 2012

ESA's CAVES training programme began its second phase last Friday as six astronauts ventured into the Sardinian caves in Italy that are their home this week. CAVES mimics elements of spaceflight to prepare astronauts and ...

Recommended for you

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

Cassini transmits first images from new orbit

December 7, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's ...

Saturn's bulging core implies moons younger than thought

December 7, 2016

Freshly harvested data from NASA's Cassini mission reveals that Saturn's bulging core and twisting gravitational forces offer clues to the ages of the planet's moons. Astronomers now believe that the ringed planet's moons ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.