This week, an archaeological project, the first of its kind in the world, or more precisely in the solar system, began on the International Space Station.
The archaeologists, led by Professor Alice Gorman of Flinders University in Australia, and Associate Professor Justin Walsh of Chapman University in California, seek to understand how humans relate to the elements with which they live while in orbit.
ويد International Space Station Archaeological Project (ISSAP) The first archaeological study of a space habitat.
“We are the first to try to understand how humans relate to the elements with which they live in space,” Walsh says. “By bringing archaeological perspectives into an active space domain, we are the first to show how people adapt their behavior to an entirely new environment.”
As Earth-bound archaeologists excavate one-meter squares to understand the site and develop additional study strategies, the ISSAP project team will use masking tape to mark the one-meter areas of the International Space Station and then draw on daily photographs to study how the spaces are used.
“Instead of digging to uncover new layers of soil representing different moments in the site’s history, we will photograph the site every day to determine how it has been used and how it has changed over time,” Gorman explains.
Signed by NASA astronaut Kayla Barron on Friday afternoon GMT (International Space Station time zone), the boxes have been placed in a few work and leisure locations, including the kitchen table, workstation, EXPRESS unit shelves and wall opposite the toilet.
As part of the experiment, the ISS crew also chose an additional site, based on their assessment of what was interesting to document, with the last square placed on the station’s US laboratory unit, Destiny.
The daily shooting will continue for 60 days, with squares being photographed at roughly the same time every day for the first 30 days and at random times for the second 30 days.
Planning for the project has been underway since December 2015 with funding proposed for 2020, and this includes scanning surfaces for the space station’s crew and making audio and video recordings.
The research team said: “Because this is the first set of archaeological data that will ever be experienced in a space habitat, we’re not quite sure what we’ll find. It’s an experiment, after all, but we’re sure the results will shed light on aspects of life in space. Nobody knew it before, not even NASA.”
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