Author Archives: Nadjejda

Meet the instructors: Matteo Massironi

Professor of structural and planetary geology Matteo Massironi can create the story behind a comet 400 million km away from Earth by analysing its layers. He is allowed sneak previews of the images captured by European space...

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Making space exploration real – on Earth

You are on a rock speeding through space. On this rock called Earth every single mineral tells you something about planetary formation. This week astronauts and space engineers will unlock the mystery of those minerals as they...

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From above to below, together

Different backgrounds, techniques and views. ESA’s journey of geological exploration, PANGAEA-X, entangled them all. Because, just like during the Apollo missions to the Moon, training astronauts in geoscience and the use of geophysical equipment on Earth is...

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The sculptors of space exploration

Some of the most relevant geological information is hidden inside the rocks. During the latest PANGAEA-X campaign engineers, scientists and an astronaut teamed up to test the performance of a robotic hammer that could one day be...

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Paving the way for the unexpected

The path of space exploration is made of rocks. Unveiling the secrets harbored by minerals in other planets and moons requires testing advanced technologies right here on Earth. One of the experiments carried out during the latest...

Hunting for Mars-like bacteria in a volcanic cave

A team of microbiologists, engineers and an astronaut partnered up during the latest Pangaea-X campaign to look for Mars-like life in a lava tube, and found more than 10 species – assisted by a smartphone. The results...

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The bowels of Earth in 3D

As a child, Tommaso Santagata would have never imagined that he would test some of the newest and most innovative 3D-scanning technologies for future space exploration. Last year, he spent five days of intense mapping in Lanzarote,...

Digging into the surface

The Pangaea-X test campaign brought together geology, high-tech survey equipment and space exploration. On the island of Lanzarote, Spain, Pangaea-X run for five days in November 2017 and mobilised 50 people, four space agencies and 18 organisations. ...

The beauty of science

Here I am on a plane leaving the beautiful island of Lanzarote. Fields covered with majestic lava flows, volcanic cones peppering the landscape: some are dark black, others of different red tones, giving hints to their age,...

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Learning to crawl on planetary bodies

Elapsed time: one year. In 2016 we took off on this extraordinary journey through European analogue environments, to learn first-hand from the best planetary field geologists how to crawl on planetary bodies in search for the best...