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Handle With Care: HERA Crew Member Inspects Samples

HERA crew member Patrick Ridgley handles rock samples stored within a glovebox during a simulated journey to the Martian moon Phobos.
A crew member on a simulated Mars mission at NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) inspects rock samples inside a glovebox.

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.

Credit: NASA


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

Learn more about how NASA innovates for the benefit of humanity at:

Nathan Cranford
Jennifer Turner
NASA Human Research Program Strategic Communications