Space Studies begins sixth NASA Lunar/Mars mission Thursday

A team of three volunteers is scheduled to enter UND Space Studies’ Inflatable Lunar Mars Habitat (ILMH) at noon, Thursday, for the unit’s sixth NASA-funded “space” mission. The crew will reside inside and conduct a series of experiments and other scientific research until they exit the ILMH at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 24

The crew comprises Laura Banken, an online master’s degree student in Space Studies from Duluth, Minn.; FNU Anamika, from Jaipur, India, also a Space Studies master’s degree student; Dr. Michael Castro, a physician from Palm Bay, Fla., who has been selected for the second time in a row. Dr. Castro will also act as Commander for Mission VI, thanks to his previous experience during Mission V.

“This habitat is the only system of its kind in the nation on a university campus,” said Pablo de León, an Argentine aerospace engineer and Professor in the Department of Space Studies. He’s also director of the UND Human Spaceflight Laboratory. De Leon noted that the project is funded by the North Dakota-NASA EPSCoR grant.

The crew will enter the habitat at noon Thursday, Oct. 11. It is located east of National Weather Service facility at 4797 Technology Circle, west of the UND campus.