Julieth Contreras, a Mechatronics Engineering student at the Tec’s North Sonora campus, was selected to be certified as an analog astronaut, becoming the first from the State of Sonora.
An analog astronaut is one who participates in the simulation of space missions, under conditions very similar to those experienced in space.
The aim is to investigate how being in space affects human beings and to develop proposals that can be put into practice on real missions.
Analog Mission in Brazil: From Earth to Mars
Habitat Marte is an analog space station in the southern hemisphere which aims to simulate the development of aerospace skills.
The station hopes its participants will become interested in academic and professional careers related to space, science, and technology as a result of the simulation experience.
“I think my dream began on the walks I took to see the stars with my dad as a child.” - Julieth Contreras.
“In Brazil, the mission is focused on simulating the experience on the planet Mars and takes place both inside and outside the habitat,” explained Julieth.
The mission will take place from May 26 to 31, 2022, and the activities carried out will include: mental and physical training, specialized menus, and developing 3D designs to improve systems within the habitat.
She will also carry out an individual project, which she will write reports and logs about, as well as a research report to be presented at The Mars Society convention in Arizona.
From Poland to the Moon
The Analog Astronaut Training Center is located in Krakow, Poland, and is a private company created by professionals from the European Space Agency.
The mission in Poland will take place in September 2022 within a lunar habitat station, with the same CO2 levels as would be found on the moon.
Julieth explained that she will carry out a scientific research project that she will test within the habitat and then on a flight involving gravitational changes.
Her research will be presented in front of scientists and astronauts from different space agencies at the International Astronautical Congress.
Her path to the Moon and Mars
After Julieth participated in the International Air and Space Program at the NASA base in Huntsville, Alabama, she was selected for the missions in Brazil and Poland.
“Julieth’s achievement is a great source of pride for Campus professors who’ve followed her intellectual and personal growth,” said Fernando Piñal, director of Mechatronics Engineering at the North Sonora Campus.
“It also motivates us to continue supporting future generations of students and developing their talents,” he concluded.
Julieth said that her greatest inspiration is José Hernández, the astronaut son of rural migrant parents.
“José had dreamed about being an astronaut since he was a child, but he was rejected twelve times. However, he didn’t give up and NASA accepted him on the thirteenth try,” said Julieth.
This student said that knowing his story inspired her to fulfill her dreams.
“Since that moment, I’ve been interested in astronomy, astrophysics, and aerospace engineering. I think my dream began on the walks I took to see the stars with my dad as a child,” she concluded.
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