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Handle With Care: HERA Crew Member Inspects Samples

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

Inside the Human Exploration Research Analog, or HERA, crew member Patrick Ridgley analyzes rock samples in the habitat’s glovebox, which allows crew members to inspect samples without contaminating them.

Similar to astronauts on the International Space Station, HERA crew members handle several types of samples in the glovebox, trying to identify the samples based on their characteristics, such as color and texture. The task helps HERA crew members enter an investigative mindset, testing their autonomous problem-solving skills during deliberate communication delays throughout their 45-day simulated mission.   


NASA’s Human Research Program, or HRP, pursues the best methods and technologies to support safe, productive human space travel. Through science conducted in laboratories, ground-based analogs, and the International Space Station, HRP scrutinizes how spaceflight affects human bodies and behaviors. Such research drives HRP’s quest to innovate ways that keep astronauts healthy and mission-ready as space travel expands to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.