Tuesday, September 2nd12.1°C
23201
22711

Kelowna man joins NASA's Mars mission

OK Kelowna scientist Ross Lockwood is not going to Mars, but he is helping NASA with a Mars simulated mission.

Lockwood beat out hundreds of applicants from around the world for the opportunity to spend four months inside a sealed environment high on the slopes of a Hawaiian mountain with five others.

The main purpose of the mission, starting March 28, is to help the space agency develop psychological guidelines that will be used to select future astronauts capable of making a real trip to Mars.

"It's incredibly exciting to participate in a research project that will be used to help in space exploration," Lockwood said. "I'm really looking forward to this, but I'm also a little bit nervous as well."

Lockwood, 27, is doing his doctorate in condensed matter physics at the University of Alberta.

Along with his longtime interest in space-related research and astronomy, Lockwood has worked in educational programs at the University of Alberta Observatory.

His scientific background and experience in various university leadership roles helped him succeed in his application to participate in the simulated Mars mission, which is led by Cornell University and the University of Hawaii.

The researchers will enter the 11-metre diameter dome built in an old rock quarry at an elevation of 2,500 metres on the slopes of Mauna Koa.

Inside the habitat, they will spend several hours a day taking psychological tests and continuing with their own research endeavours as part of the venture dubbed HI-SEAS, for Hawaii Space Exploration and Analog Simulation.

Lockwood is currently working as an adviser on a project to see whether surgical tools created by a 3-D printer might eventually be used as effectively as real operating room implements.

The researchers will emerge occasionally from their sealed environment, wearing simulated space suits, to take volcanic soil samples, map the rocky terrain, and replicate other tasks that will likely be done by future astronauts on Mars.

Lockwood hasn't yet met his fellow mission participants but group members have spoken to each other by phone and chat weekly on Skype.

"So we're not complete strangers to one another," Lockwood said. "I don't anticipate any problems with us all getting along together."

He plans to use Twitter and Facebook to chronicle his experiences though his communications would be delayed by up to 20 minutes — the time it would take messages to travel from Mars to Earth.

As for one day applying to the Canadian Space Agency to become a real astronaut, Lockwood said: "You just have to live your life hoping that, if an interesting door opens, you can maybe sneak your foot in there before it closes."

The Canadian Press

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments on this story are pre-moderated. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.



Read more Kelowna News

22598


Recent Trending





20007




FEATURED Property
1919532680 Old Meadows Road, Kelowna
2 bedrooms 2 baths
$287,900
more details
image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading



21186




23121

Kelowna SPCA Featured Pet

Tye
Tye Kelowna SPCA >




20327



22979



Okanagan Quick Links City of Kelowna
Airport Arrivals
Airport Departures
Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Transit
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Tourism Kelowna
Central Okanagan
Regional District

District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
Interior Health
UBC Okanagan
Okanagan College
School District 23
Okanagan Regional Library


Kelowna City Council Audio
Audio
July 14, 2014 @ 1:30 pm
Live broadcasts, archives, schedule >


Member of BC Press Council
22395