25/07/2018

GAS' member internship at EAC


Roberto Mantas Nakhai, master student collaborator in the Group of Atmospheric Science, has been selected as intern in the ESA’s Planetary ANalogue Geological and Astrobiological Exercise for Astronauts (PANGAEA) training programme, and will spend three months working on the development of a related project at the European Astronaut Center (EAC), Cologne, Germany.

Simulation of a space mission during PANGAEA programme
Credit: ESA.

Roberto will be working, in particular, on the development of the Electronic Fieldbook (EFB) system, which is part of the PANGAEA training and surface, a part of the preparation of astronauts whose goal is to provide them with sharper observational skills regarding identification of geological features, in order to improve their capability of choosing sampling targets and reporting relevant data during field operations. The training is meant to practice activities on Earth, the Moon, Mars and asteroids.

In this context, EFB is intended to improve the management of the real-time information gathered by astronauts, and to provide immediately a procedure guide back, optimizing this way the outcomes of the operation at issue while it is taking place, is it a planetary activity or an analogue simulation on Earth.

For achieving that the system must be able of processing the data gathered by different means – including pictures, videos, audio recordings, text notes, GPS locations and scientific data retrieved with analysis tools, such as spectrometers – and associate them to the retrieved samples, in order to increase their scientific value. It must be able to provide to the scientists located in a Control Room at least a relevant portion of the data acquired on the field so that, after a brief analysis, they can release back scientific and operational guidance to the astronauts.

The development of EFB is currently in the early stages and the task of Roberto will be to push it forward by adding new modules and features.