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Illustrating the Vienna Statement on Analog Planetary Research
In early May 2016, the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), together with a wide range of international partners, published the Vienna Statement on Analog Planetary Research (VSAPR), a single-paged declaration which outlines the current state, articulates benefits and names goals of space exploration analog research. Over the past two months, we wanted to highlight and illustrate its benefits through a series of infographics.
In the VSAPR, we stated several benefits that analog planetary research (APR) provides to space science, technology development and society as a whole. In order to explain the reason behind the VSAPR and to show the importance of analog research, we created several infographics that showcase the points the VSAPR makes. In this blog, we want to summarize our arguments and provide you with all our infographics. Feel free to use them in your own efforts to promote analog planetary research!
APR is a vibrant and multi-disciplinary field of research
Analog missions cannot be narrowed down to one field within the sciences. No mission can be done solely by engineers, or solely by geophysicists, or solely by biomedical engineers. Instead, APR brings together all these disciplines under a common objective. It draws upon the expertise and points of view of various fields and thereby helps widen the potential for creative solutions to difficult problems.
APR has matured so as to be considered a coequal discipline in the canon of sciences
Over the past years, APR missions have proliferated immensely. Not only have more actors started to conduct APR missions, but those missions have also become more professional by drawing on lessons learned from previous missions or other research groups. We believe that it is appropriate now to consider APR as a distinct and coequal discipline amongst the sciences.
APR is a key element in the preparation of human and robotic exploration beyond Earth orbit, as it anticipates and studies problems of practical nature
Many questions are unanswered before returning humans beyond low earth orbit again. Obviously, not all of them can be solved by APR, as many factors of human spaceflight simply cannot be simulated here on earth. But many others can: How does the interaction between the crew and mission control on the ground play out when there is a significant communication delay? How can EVA trajectories be optimized in order to maximize the scientific outcome of a mission? How can robots be used to assist crews during space missions? To these and many other questions, APR can provide efficient, cost-effective solutions.
APR fosters the collaboration of various levels of professionalism, nations and walks of life
As we and others have learned over the past years, APR helps bring together people from different backgrounds who work toward a common goal. It fosters international cooperation, helps junior researchers learn from and assist senior professionals (and vice versa) and generally creates an open and inclusive environment for research.
APR has found the broad interest of the public, as it deploys space capabilities on Earth and so triggers fascination and imagination and the next generation of explorers
As an expensive, publicly funded endeavour, human spaceflight relies on continued public support to sustain and justify the support it receives from society. APR is a great way to engage the public and let them participate in the awesomeness of space exploration. It also contributes to get young people interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields, a crucial need in a world more and more driven by science and technology.
APR has a direct impact on the discovery of new technologies and their application in society
APR, like space science in general, has already brought about several “unintended” spinoff technologies that can be turned into a commercial applications. Given that space science and engineering is at the cutting edge of technology development, it constitutes a welcome side effect of APR activities.
This concludes our series of infographics on APR in general, and the VSAPR in particular. We hope that you enjoyed it! We will keep promoting and actively engaging in analog research in order to contribute to renewed efforts of having humans explore our solar system. We hope that you will support us along the way and will participate in this awesome journey!