Preparing astronauts for a mission to the Moon looks like having fun at a playground

When it comes to preparing for challenging space missions, NASA resorts to grueling training. Future astronauts have to pass tough tests of intellectual and physical abilities at the limit of their capabilities. Yet, amidst all the impressive exercises, one video reveals the fun aspects of training that may seem like playground fun when seen by an outsider.

A recent video captures the moment when four astronauts of the upcoming Artemis II mission, Christina Koch, Victor Glover, Reed Wiseman and Jeremy Hansen, slide down a small hill while holding a bright orange inflatable “toy”. A first glance at the video may make you smile and think it’s just a simple child’s play. However, there is a serious purpose hidden behind this fun process.

According to the Office of Space Research, the astronauts are actually training for a vital operation — the evacuation from the NASA Orion spacecraft in the event of an emergency immediately after landing on the lunar surface. This is an exercise that requires not only descending a hill, but also quickly rising from the seats, complicated by gravity, which they will not have felt for more than a week in space.

The importance of this training cannot be overstated. Ensuring the safety of space missions is an important goal. To achieve this goal, the agency is focusing on every aspect of future missions. Such exercises not only allow astronauts to familiarize themselves with various aspects of the upcoming challenge, but also to identify possible problems that may not have been previously considered and that can be addressed before launch.

This stage of training for astronauts will continue until the launch of Artemis II, scheduled for November 2024. This mission promises to be historic, as for the first time in five decades, humans will see the Moon up close again — from an altitude of approximately 160 km. The crew will fly over its surface before returning to Earth. In total, the flight will last about 10 days.

After the completion of Artemis II next year, Artemis III will be launched in 2025, during which the humans will land on the Moon’s surface — for the first time since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

Earlier, we reported on how the ISS crew has fun during orbital maneuvers.