CAVES Underground Expedition

Training

The Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising Human Behaviour and Performance Skills (CAVES) expedition is a simulation of a space mission and an extreme training session, which is held four kilometres underground, in a cave.

This one-week underground adventure was designed by the European Space Agency (ESA) to train astronauts to live and work together as a team. CAVES meets two objectives by giving astronauts an opportunity to:

  1. tackle challenges associated with long space missions in a hostile environment
  2. participate in actual scientific studies with research teams, as they would on the International Space Station (ISS)

Learn more about CAVES training by watching this video by the ESA on CAVES 2012 (with the participation of Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques). (Credit: ESA)

A space-like environment in the depths of the Earth

The CAVES expedition prepares astronauts from around the world to:

Cavenauts dig adventure

Off for an adventure! The 2013 cavenauts begin their training by going down into the first cave. (Credit: ESA)

Non-standard working conditions

The cohorts of astronauts that participate in the CAVES expeditions experience the challenges, inconveniences and actual dangers of space exploration.

They have to work in extreme conditions, including the following:

In all, the environment is very similar to that of the ISS!

Our Canadian "cavenauts"

Since , three Canadian astronauts have participated in CAVES expeditions: David Saint-Jacques in , Jeremy Hansen in and Joshua Kutryk in .

Specifically, they spent their days:

CAVES 6

Dates: to

Location: Karst region, Slovenia

Canadian crewmember: Joshua Kutryk, Canadian Space Agency astronaut

CSA astronaut Joshua Kutryk taking part in CAVES expedition

Canadian astronaut Joshua Kutryk with his fellow "cavenauts" during the CAVES expedition. (Credit: ESA)

Mission objectives

  • Search for water, an essential activity for living on another planet
  • Study underground waters, which are vulnerable to pollution, in order to understand how to prevent contamination
  • Study microplastics

All the image from CAVES expeditions

CAVES 3

Dates: to

Location: Sardinia, Italy

Canadian crewmember: Jeremy Hansen, Canadian Space Agency astronaut

CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen taking part in CAVES expedition

Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen with his fellow "cavenauts" during the CAVES expedition. (Credit: ESA)

Mission objectives

  • Test a device's ability to enable communication through the cave's thick walls
  • Analyze wind, water and air characteristics
  • Find insects in the cave in order to make biological discoveries

All the image from CAVES expeditions

CAVES 2

Dates: to

Location: Sardinia, Italy

Canadian crewmember: David Saint-Jacques, Canadian Space Agency astronaut

CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques taking part in CAVES expedition

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques collecting samples during the CAVES expedition. (Credit: ESA)

Mission objectives

  • Conduct mapping and surveying activities
  • Make biological and geological observations
  • Collect a variety of samples in order to find new forms of life underground

All the image from CAVES expeditions

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