After several decades without leaving Earth’s orbit, the return to the Moon is now a concrete objective. And the farthest goal is to travel to Mars. For Swiss astronaut Claude Nicolier, however, it should be only a temporary exploration and not colonized.
Following the successful departure of SpaceX to the International Space Station at the TTC on Monday, Claude Nicolier believes the major change of recent years at the level of space conquest is the transition from shuttle to capsule. Along with Soyuz, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and soon-to-be Boeing Starliners, we continue to use this “gem” with the “great success” that is the ISS.
For Swiss astronauts, the first Helvetian in space in 1992, the second concrete change to 2024, is the return of the moon to the United States with the Artemis program. And to explain that the purpose is double: scientifically exploiting the moon, but also training to stay on Mars for a long time.
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With this new program launched under the Trump administration, the Moon has to experience a relatively long stay on a celestial body other than Earth, in order to learn to live with lunar resources, partly in all cases, “making Before “The Big Leap of Mars”, Claude Nicolier is related.
“It will be difficult, it is a long journey. There are considerable challenges to settle on Mars and stay there for a relatively long time.” This is why solid tests conducted on the Moon will be precious in his eyes, and especially those on its hidden side, in a state of radio silence that is not present on its visible side, from where the Earth is still indicated. Are present.
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A few months or a year, no more
Claude Nicolier believes that an installation on Mars is still very uncertain. Swiss astronauts express skepticism, opposing the idea of SpaceX owner Elon Musk to establish himself on Mars, then to spread to the solar system, possibly on the satellites of Jupiter or Saturn: “The next few Not in decades, 500 or 1000 years from now, I have no idea. “
On the other hand, he believes that Mars’ discovery is far from utopian in the wake of the Artemis program: “When logical and human problems are resolved at the physical and psychological level, we will be able to send a small group.” To mars The explorers, five people of many nationalities, “want that. But he wants to be cautious about the duration of such a mission: a few months or maybe a year and a half before returning.” But to colonize from there, one such It is not wise to take steps. “
“Life on Mars will be difficult,” says Claude Nicolier, specifying that the atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide is thin. But if it is colder there than on Earth, the temperature distribution is favorable because the red planet automatically changes in 24 hours. And if they can fall to a few tens of degrees below zero, temperatures are not “unacceptable” and we can protect ourselves relatively easily. However, given the impossibility of getting out of pressurized vehicles or housing without putting on a diving suit, “this is not an exceptionally attractive lifestyle”.
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