SCIENTISTS have described it as “a dress rehearsal for the biggest journey our civilisation has ever taken”, and it will take place in Andalucia.
The arid, Mars-like conditions of the Rio Tinto have persuaded boffins at the European Space Agency (ESA) that the former mining area in Huelva province is the ideal location for their tests.
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The team tried out a new space suit and a prototype unmanned rover called Eurobot, which they claim “can do anything that is too difficult, too dangerous or too boring for astronauts to do.”
In reality a manned mission to the Red Planet, which is 35 million miles from Earth, is still a long way off although scientists remain positive.
“There’s still quite a few new technologies that I believe would be needed – we need better ways of getting people there, with more powerful propulsion systems, to shorten the duration – things like that,” said Scott Hovland, head of human systems at ESA.
“But I am pretty positive than in our lifetime, we have a good chance of seeing something like that happening.”