This year, in mid-April, a team of Catalan scientists traveled to a remote corner of the Utah desert to simulate what a future manned mission to the red planet would be like. His trip has been the first of Hypatia project: an initiative created to develop research projects, promote scientific dissemination and increase the visibility of women scientists. Now that their journey has been successfully completed, the machinery is put back into gear to prepare for the next mission. As explained by the promoters of this project, in 2025 Hypatia II will take off and, from now on, The crew members of this future Martian expedition are sought.

At the moment, only the names of two selected for this mission are known: the Mathematician Anna Bach and the engineering student Helena Arias, two professionals who were in the reserve of the previous expedition and who are now preparing to be part of the next ‘trip’ to Mars. There will be a third professional who will also be the team for the first Hypatia mission because, according to the protocols of the ‘Martian camp’, «the commander has to be a person who has already been in the simulator.» The integrated Hypatia II team will consist of nine crew members, so there are still six places available for the next Catalan stay on the ‘red planet’.

The selection process will be focused on women scientists of different ages and disciplines

He selection process to choose who will get the prized ‘aliens’ tickets opens shortly on Hipatia’s social networks. For the moment, according to those responsible for the mission, they are looking for each other»women scientists of different ages and disciplines«willing to develop research projects, carry out Martian experiments and, above all, with the ability to inspire the new generations.

martian simulator

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The second mission of the Hypatia project will take place in a ‘martian simulator’ located in the desert of Utah (United States). Is about an alien habitation developed by the Mars Society in which you can find everything from a biology and geology laboratory to various space observatories, rooms for developing engineering projects and living areas for crew members. From the inauguration of these facilities until 2017, almost 200 crews from all over the world visited this Martian habitat.

But what is special about this place? And why is it called a Mars ‘simulator’? It turns out that these facilities, located in the middle of the desert, simulate many of the conditions that we will find on Mars. On the one hand, because they are surrounded by a soil rich in minerals such as iron. And on the other hand, because in these environments we live Extreme weather conditions such as, for example, temperature fluctuations, humidity percentages less than 10% and gusts of wind up to 60 kilometers per hour (all this also happens on Mars but with even more extreme figures).