Last updated on January 22, 2018
Sonora, Mexico — NASA has announced it will be carrying out exercises in Sonora for its upcoming Mars mission in 2030.
NASA will carry out tests in northern Mexico with the aim of training astronauts for the multinational mission of humanity to Mars set for 2030, the Government of Mexico announced Tuesday.
The exercises will be carried out in the volcanic field of the biosphere reserve known as El Pinacate located in the state of Sonora in northwestern Mexico.
El Pinacate, located in the region known as Gran Desierto de Altar and bordering the United States with Arizona, is unique in the world as it has extensive dune fields in one of the driest regions of the Sonoran desert.
For the first exploration in the area, a team comprised of several specialists from Arizona State University, the dean of the Technological University of Guaymas, Sornoa, as well as researchers from the National Space Society and two postgraduates from the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, will set out for Sonora.
Others on the expedition include members of El Pinacate staff as well as directors and managers of science from the Mexican Space Agency.
“It is a little known historical fact that this region, with its unique characteristics in Sonora, was selected by NASA as a training spot for astronauts during the Apollo Program from 1965 to 1970
in what was the first lunar exploration made by humans,” said the general director of the Mexican Space Agency, Javier Mendieta Jiménez.
“Several groups of astronauts including Edgar Mitchell and Alan B. Shepard trained there,” he added.
El Pinacate is a dormant volcanic area with numerous volcanic phenomena and geological formations located on the El Pinacate Sheild (Sierra Pinacate). The area is around 2,000 square kilometers with three main peaks. It’s overall complex structure, comprised of red and black lava flows, is the most spectacular and young lava field in North America with extensive fields of dunes in the driest region of the Sonoran desert.