UCF Helps NASA’s Future Mission to Mars

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NASA is working with UCF to send it’s first crew of astronauts to Mars.

NASA’s spokesperson, Candrea Thomas, says the training for this mission started more than 50 years ago.

“Going to Mars is something that most people have seen in science fiction but it’s absolutely a reality here at NASA,” Thomas said.

NASA officials say the spacecraft will look similar to the Apollo Mission rocket, a rocket used for traveling further distances in space.

Thomas says the crew will consist of five to seven astronauts and with the help of UCF, they will learn to travel as a team for more than ten months to step foot on the red planet.

“Space travel is very hard, human travel is extremely hard. When you take astronauts and send them to space, you have to take a look at the way the body deals with space, health issues, and the way they react when they come back to Earth,” Thomas said.

She says each astronaut will endure a series of physical and psychological tests.

NASA is teaming up with UCF to help train the crew to live together in confined quarters for a long period of time.

Three UCF Psychology Professors, including Dr. Eduardo Salas, received a one million dollar grant to research teamwork techniques for the mission to Mars.

“This grant is about getting to NASA, best practices about how to prove teamwork through team training,” Salas said.

Salas says the teamwork skills will help the crew stay focused on their task; looking for water and existence on the planet.

“It’s exploration, that’s what NASA does. That’s what we do as scientists; we explore and see what other things we can find. What if we find that there’s other life out there, that would be tremendous,” Salas said.

NASA officials say the mission to Mars is scheduled in 2030. They say for a mission this complicated, the launch date is practically right around the corner.

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