Hypatia I, the first mission of female scientists to go to "Mars"
Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation is supporting the Hypatia I mission, a scientific project led by a group of Catalan researchers who will embark on a simulated trip to Mars through the Mars Research Desert Station (MDRS) space analogue facility in the Utah desert, in the United States.
For the first time, a team of nine Catalan women scientists, of different ages and from various scientific disciplines, have been selected to carry out a mission to the analogue facility, where they will live together for two weeks as if they were leading a real mission to Mars. The Hypatia I mission, which will take place from April 16 to 29, 2023, is focused on promoting research projects, developing scientific dissemination activities and shining light on the role of women scientists in the STEAM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math).
The Hypatia I crew will set out on a true adventure in conditions of isolation: they will have to eat dehydrated food, water will be limited and they will not be able to communicate synchronously with Earth in order to make the simulation feel realistic. Mobility will also be limited and all members will dress like astronauts when they have to venture outside.
Through this mission, the Catalan researchers will test equipment and conduct experiments to study the feasibility of a real mission to Mars. The topography and geology of the Utah desert is very similar to Mars, making this analogue facility an ideal location for this simulation.
In addition to carrying out research, the Hypatia I crew wants to contribute to scientific dissemination and inspire a love for science, especially among girls and young women. This involves making the role of women in the STEAM disciplines visible and fighting against gender-based discrimination in science and space exploration. It should be noted that half of the Hypatia I crew have participated in the Foundation's programmes to promote scientific careers.
This project is an example of the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation's contribution to the promotion of science and gender equality in the field of science and technology.