It is not every day that astronauts can claim to return to Earth with a new species of life. But when the astronauts on ESA’s CAVES underground training course returned to the surface they were carrying a special type of woodlouse. CAVES training sends astronauts from all the International Space Station partner nations underground for a week to learn about working in multi-cultural teams under extreme conditions.
During their six-night stay in caves in Sardinia, Italy, their scientific research included meteorology, surveying, geology and cataloguing underground life. “Every year we scout the area to prepare for the training mission,” says Loredana Bessone, course designer and project manager. “This year, we noticed interesting-looking crustaceans in a small pond.”