With the highly anticipated Artemis missions on the horizon, humanity is preparing to return to the Moon. However, before embarking on these monumental journeys, extensive research, testing, and verification of technologies and methodologies are essential. ICEE.SPACE, an ESA BIC CZ-supported startup focusing on analog space missions, stands at the forefront of these efforts. Through their unique research and development, they aim to optimize crew dynamics, test tele-operating robots with time delay, xplore Heads-In Displays using Augmented Reality in space suits, and develop portable inflatable habitats for extreme environments. Following the success of their second flagship mission, CHILL-ICE II in Iceland, the ICEE Space crew is now headed to Spain to simulate the Martian environment.
APICES, short for Astroland Project Inside Caves for Earth-based Space exploration, is a mission held in June 2023 in the caves of Spain in collaboration with Astroland Interplanetary Agency. The mission’s primary objective is to develop ICEE Space’s capabilities to conduct standardized and adaptable analog missions in diverse extreme environments, effectively simulating conditions astronauts may encounter on Mars and the Moon. As we stand on the cusp of a new era of space exploration, the research foci of APICES align perfectly with the goals outlined in Terrae Novae 2030+, a strategy designed to investigate lunar and Martian terrains.
The APICES Crew: A Stellar Ensemble of Experts
At the helm of APICES stands an extraordinary team of scientists, engineers, and visionaries, each bringing their unique expertise to the mission, at Mission Control and at ground zero in the caves. Let’s meet the analog astronauts driving the success of this Martian expedition:
Aleš Svoboda – Mission Commander: Aleš Svoboda’s experience as an ESA Astronaut Reserve Commander equips the team with invaluable insights into the challenges astronauts face in space. His expertise in leadership and astronaut training is instrumental in fostering a cohesive and resilient crew dynamic.
Katie King – Sub-Commander and Crew Scientist: With a remarkable background in Nanotechnology and as the CEO of BioOrbit, Katie King plays a pivotal role as a crew scientist. Her expertise in scientific research enhances the mission’s focus on understanding the effects of extreme environments on the human body and biology.
Alejandro Gomez – Crew Engineer: As an associate professor at Universidad de Vigo, Alejandro Gomez spearheads the technical aspects of APICES. His profound knowledge of mission planning and engineering ensures the seamless execution of analog missions in extreme environments.
Javier Garrido – Crew Scientist and Psychological Research Lead: As a divemaster and BSc in Psychology, Javier Garrido brings expertise in extreme environments and psychological research. His valuable contributions focus on assessing the psychological impact of isolation on astronauts during extended space missions.
Margot Issertine – Medical Spacialist and Crew Scientist: Margot Issertine’s pursuit of a PhD in Space Physiology qualifies her as a medical specialist and crew scientist. Her research includes analyzing blood and UV-related factors in space environments to ensure optimal health and safety.
Martina Dimoska – Crew Engineer and Outreach Lead: As a communication expert, Martina Dimoska fosters outreach and engagement with the public and media. Her proficiency in space communication aids in raising awareness of the mission’s importance and implications for future space exploration.
The APICES Mission epitomizes ICEE.SPACE’s dedication to advancing human space exploration. With the exceptional expertise of its crew members, this groundbreaking mission promises to unlock vital insights into the challenges of lunar and Martian living. As the world eagerly awaits the outcomes of the APICES Mission, the exemplary efforts of ICEE.SPACE’s talented team remind us that the future of space exploration lies within our reach, driven by innovation, curiosity, and an unyielding passion for the unknown.
Source: ESA BIC Czech Republic