The space station will join Russia’s Mir Station and Skylab Fragments in the uninhabited South Pacific, which is home to more than 263 intentional fragments of space debris.
Additionally, by understanding the ways in which astronauts have used space and instruments on the space station, this entry can be used to design future spacecraft and habitats during the exploration of the Moon and Mars.
first of its kind
The first archaeological study conducted outside Earth was The brainchild of Justin St. P. Walsh, associate professor of art history and archeology at Chapman University in California, and Alice Gorman, associate professor in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University in Australia. They began the creative process of looking at the space station from an archaeological perspective in December 2015.
With the help of the International Space Station’s National Center for the Advancement of Science in Space and executive partner Axiom Space, Walsh and Gorman were finally able to see the first step of their realization become a reality this year.
“The International Space Station is an important site for the evolution of humanity living in space,” Walsh said. If this is a site on Earth, we will do everything we can to preserve it. But it’s not technically feasible, so the next thing archaeologists do, like when sites are flooded by a dam, for example, they document everything we can about the site, these documents and any samples that will be preserved for future generations.
The project began on the space station in January. The experiment, called the Quadruple Quarterly Quartile Research Experiment, or SQuARE, is simple.
Archaeologists often create a test pit at an important site, dividing it into a grid of squares for excavation purposes.
The layers of the space station, however, cannot be drilled, and scientists have not crept in to conduct a study.
The astronauts placed 3-foot (1 meter) tapes on the walls of the entire space station and photographed them every day for 60 days to show how these areas change over time.
The results can simulate how soil layers preserve different moments at archaeological sites.
The boxes were placed on the kitchen table where the crew ate, in front of the toilet, a workstation and two different science stations, as well as a place chosen by the crew. The six locations capture the everyday aspect of zero gravity.
Documenting a slice of life in space
Gorman said heritage sites are often considered places of historical importance on Earth, but they also exist in space.
The Apollo moon landing sites are a prime example, and while we leave human and robotic footprints in places like Mars, those places will spread.
“No one has collected this data before, so we don’t make it available to Mir and Skylab,” Gorman said.
“Space Archeology with SQuARES”. Using a ruler and color chart, we have documented the use and modifications of selected areas on the #ISS to help design future spaceships and habitats,” Maurer wrote in his tweet.
It can be especially useful when trying to determine where to put what Gorman calls “gravity substitutions,” or the bungee cords, clips, and self-tapping tapes essential to life in zero gravity.
“We would expect to find aspects of adapting to life in this kind of environment that no one knew before,” Gorman said.
“If you’re an archaeologist excavating a Viking longhouse, you might have ideas about what works and what doesn’t, but don’t have the opportunity to knock on a Viking door and say, ‘Hey, I have ideas here for how to design the next little village. But we have this opportunity.”
The SQuARE trial will end on March 22nd. When the crew, including NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn and Mark Vande Hay, return to Earth this spring, researchers will have a chance to speak with them.
Gorman Walsh plans to run a series of six additional experiments if they receive the funding.
Other experiences include recording the space station’s acoustic environment and documenting the search for privacy in a small habitat, something that could come in handy as crews prepare to time trial on the smaller portal that will orbit between the Moon and Earth as a support axis. Moon exploration.
In turn, the lessons learned by Gorman Walsh from his first experience aboard the space station can be applied to remote sites on Earth, such as artifacts left on Mount Everest decades after people climbed to its summit.
“This could be the beginning of different kinds of archaeology that we might see in the future,” Gorman said.
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