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Have any of us ever imagined living isolated within four walls, far from practicing his normal life for several days, without sunlight touching the fabric of its lines, or people surrounding him being attracted to conversations from time to time, then what to say if you are isolated for 8 months during which you do nothing, Other than conducting scientific experiments in isolated conditions that simulate in detail space missions.. Yes, that is exactly the case for Emirati space simulator Saleh Al Ameri, who is currently carrying out the first Emirati mission to simulate life in space, as part of the “Sirius 21” program in an environment completely isolated from the outside world. It is carried out in the Ground Experimental Complex of the Medical and Biological Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, with the participation of 5 simulation pioneers from America and Russia.
In the search for a deep insight into the conditions that astronauts may be exposed to, and the preparation and collection of information that may be useful in future space explorations, the importance of conducting simulation tests on Earth in conditions similar to space life, in order to develop similar scenarios for future missions to space, While these missions are similar to the nature of real missions, and their tests vary to include space technology used, human isolation, communication with the ground station, and space experiments, as well as experiments to understand the harsh conditions in space.
Space simulation missions are pivotal experiments that lay the foundations for designing and implementing future space missions, while drawing a road map for exploring Mars and other planets. Countermeasures help humans confront the dangers we may face in space as well as test new technologies.
Al-Amiri is currently conducting 71 experiments with his companions from the American and Russian space agencies, who chose to take on this challenge themselves in order to serve humanity and promote scientific research, 71 experiments during the duration of the mission, including 5 Emirati experiments from 4 universities in the country, covering the fields of physiology, psychology and biology. While this is done without any contact with the outside world, in a way that simulates long space flights completely, and they develop different stages and scenarios for a manned mission to the moon, and these stages include launch and travel in orbit as well as landing and return to Earth.
The crew works in a sealed body that simulates a spacecraft, with the aim of evaluating the impact of isolation on the psychological and physical state, mental and physical performance, as well as on the main physiological systems of the human body, and ensuring control of the health status of the test subjects, according to environmental standards and health conditions of isolation, while mission objectives include Create an integrated database of scientific data obtained during the implementation of the project.
The rooms of the experimental complex consist of autonomous life support systems controlled by an executive system, forming a habitat that operates according to specified parameters, including the ventilation system, air conditioning, atmospheric purification, gas analysis and support for certain conditions of pressure, temperature, humidity and gas composition, as well as the water supply, And sanitation, electricity, electric lighting, video surveillance, and fire extinguishing systems, while some other features are available such as the provision of housing units of varying sizes, day-night cycles and innovative working conditions for research according to the requests of the test-takers.
The complex contains unique facilities for conducting typical studies of space flights for different periods of more than 500 days, while it is considered a simulation platform with multifunctional experimental units, and it can accommodate a number of 3 to 10 people from the crew, while the experiment is controlled and all systems are monitored by the crew and standards Environmental, from the program’s Experiment Control Center.
The joint scientific research project, which is being carried out in cooperation between NASA and the Biological Research Institute in Russia “Sirius”, simulates the conditions of a long-term manned space mission in order to study the biological and psychological problems that humans may be exposed to due to isolation in a confined space environment. The program is for a period of up to 5 years, as two phases of the program have been completed so far, the first phase included “Sirius 17”, and it was for a period of 17 days, during the period from 7 to 24 November 2017.
The second stage, “Sirius 19”, lasted 120 days and took place between March 19 and July 17, 2019, while the third stage, “Sirius 21”, began on November 4 and lasts for 240 days, and it will be an isolation experiment that simulates the main features of a future space exploration mission, while from It is planned to launch “Sirius 22/23” during 2022 and for a period of 12 months.
Now, about 100 days after astronaut Saleh Al-Amiri began his mission, he has completed a simulation experience of walking missions on the moon’s surface, using virtual reality devices, smart suits equipped with physiological sensors and spacewalking suits, while the coming days will witness new experiments, Science is waiting for its results to plan manned space flights into deep space in the coming years.
And about the types of food that astronauts eat in simulation missions, engineer Mohammed bin Nachouk, director of the Emirates Space Simulation Project, told Al-Bayan that there are 3 shipments of food cargo that are sent to mission personnel through vehicles that dock with the space station in which the astronauts are located, the first before The mission begins in a short time so that when the astronauts arrive at the space station, they find food that helps them to spend their mission safely and its contents are sufficient for the next 4-5 months, while the second shipment arrives after two months have passed, while the third shipment of food arrives after the middle of the scheduled mission period.
He continues that the quality of food consists of canned foods for types of meat or fish, down to legumes such as oats and other grains of high nutritional value, to which hot water is added in order to be fit for consumption, while all of them are required to be long-term, and contain vitamins and calories. The heat needed by the astronauts’ body during their space flight, and it should be easy to store and not take up much space inside the space station.
He points out that there is a vigorous follow-up by nutritionists to monitor the performance rates of the astronauts’ body systems and to identify their needs, and that therefore, sufficient nutritional supplements are sent with loads of food shipments to compensate for the physiological needs of the body’s systems.
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