The instrument HABIT will “visit” Mars in 2020 as a part of ExoMars mission, and, if successful, it will be the first Swedish instrument ever operating on the surface of Mars. Before cruising for more than eight months to the Red Planet, it will be part of an inspiring new learning habitat, here on Earth, at Teknikens Hus in Luleå, to explain amazing and interesting things about Mars environment.
The Group of Atmospheric Science (GAS) of Luleå University of Technology, led by Professor Javier Martín-Torres, has developed this powerful science instrument. HABIT stands for HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiation and Temperature, and it will help to have a better understanding of the Martian environment, to assess the present habitability of the Martian surface, and to test a technology which could eventually be used by future astronauts to produce liquid water on Mars, an invaluable resource for future manned exploration of the planet.
HABIT is much more than a cutting-edge space technology. It is also a powerful education and outreach tool to inspire all kind of audiences that want to learn about planetary exploration. From September on, people visiting Tekniken sHus can find a complete new area where they will be able to touch, know, and learn about HABIT, and the science behind it, with a HABIT replica prepared to that effect in GAS INSPIRE Lab. Following the installation, a video created by GAS Team members will explain things as what is it made of, which are the main scientific goals of the instrument, or why this technology is so important for the future of space exploration.
But HABIT does not stop in Teknikens Hus. Since November 2018 a Tour Exhibition will visit several places in Sweden, such as science centers, high schools and universities, with the aim of sharing the space research dream with a wide and diverse audience, building a HABIT on line community. The HABIT Tour will last for 1 year.
This is a good example of the new kind of outreach promoted by GAS, called “From laboratory to the audience”, which tries to share top quality scientific results with all people in a very attractive and direct way, keeping in mind the audience interest about space.
We are lucky to have a Swedish instrument that soon will inhabit the desert-like landscape of Mars !!