Astrophysicist Cillian Murphy to simulate trip to moon

Astronaut and moon, courtesy of Pixabay.

Geneva Pattison

Astrophysicist Cillian Murphy is one of six international aspiring astronauts that have been selected to simulate a trip to the moon. The six crew-members will recreate the environment and conditions on a lunar space flight. Cillian Murphy will be an ‘analog’ astronaut, an astronaut used for technical tests to enhance the conditions of space flight for those brave few who boldly go.

In 2018, Murphy received a special traineeship award from the Irish Research Council, to work with the European Space Agency (ESA). Currently he is taking part in the HECATE mission (Human Exploration in a Closed Analog Terrestrial Environment), in the LunAres Research Station in Poland. The LunAres facility recreates the conditions for space travel through simulated situations, without simulating zero gravity.

The HECATE mission will last for two weeks, where the six crew members will study the impact of isolation on astronauts. They will also be studying plant cultivation in space conditions and test out new technology for improving spacewalking for astronauts. Cillian is the medical officer on the mission and will be responsible for all the psychological physical experiments for the mission.

Along with his space research projects, Cillian has also recently applied to an open astronaut call out by the ESA. The addition of new astronauts comes on foot of plans by the ESA to expand Europe’s plans for space exploration in the future.

Space, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In a press release, Cillian Murphy commented on his newest space ventures stating:

” The ESA traineeship I received in 2018 provided me with a life-changing opportunity to pursue my goal of becoming an astronaut. The experience of working with the ESA confirmed for me that I want to dedicate my career to astronomical research and space exploration. I am delighted to be participating in the HECATE mission to gain a simulated insight into what space travel is actually like. Following this, I aim to become one of the first Irish people ever to travel in space.”

The Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown commented on the HECATE mission saying:

“Curiosity about space has inspired us for hundreds of years, and the Irish Research Council is proud to have supported many excellent space researchers. The HECATE mission will provide rich data for researchers and inform future ESA space missions and partnerships.  It is very encouraging to see Irish participants, such as Cillian, involved in European space activities and it is just one example of the kind of opportunities that open up with Ireland’s membership of ESA.”

Find out more about Cillian’s work with LunAres from the link below.

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