Ukrainian engineer Serhii Yakymov became the head of the Mars Desert Research Station in the San Rafael desert in the US state of Utah, the Voice of America writes. The experimental territory simulates the possible life of astronauts on the surface of the Red Planet through geological and social research.
“We host various groups from all over the world conducting experiments or testing equipment. And this Martian station is classified as a geological analog because the geology of the surrounding desert is as close to the geology of Mars as possible,” Yakymov said.
Research team rotations span a minimum of two weeks, during which participants reside in designated modules and consume vegetables and fruits cultivated in the “Martian” greenhouse. Their ventures outdoors necessitate the use of spacesuits. Serhii has previously partaken in similar expeditions. Serhii asserts that managing boredom in isolation presents the greatest challenge. Over the last two decades, numerous studies have delved into human interaction within such confined settings.
“The latest research results, which a group from Europe conducted, established that the best crew that will fly to Mars should consist entirely of women,” Yakymov said. Women, unlike men, consume less resources – air, water, food, which are in short supply in space, research says.
Meanwhile, Serhii Yakymov harbors his own aspirations of venturing into space as an astronaut, aiming specifically for a journey to Mars. He has dedicated numerous years diligently pursuing this ambition. After he graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, majoring in “aircraft control systems,” his journey began. Eight years ago, he emerged as the chosen candidate from a pool of a hundred applicants designated for a forthcoming Mars expedition. Despite the failure of the initial mission, this setback did not deter the determined Ukrainian from pursuing his lifelong dream.
“I have been pursuing this dream all my life. But some steps must be taken. Of course, you can just sit on the sofa and say that I want to become an astronaut. Having lived in America for several years, I worked as an engineer in a small company, but I still could not work there in human spaceflight. And there was such an opportunity to join this case at the station,” Yakymov says.
The Martian Society public organization created the Mars Desert Research Station. Various donors, including billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, fund the experimental facility.
Currently, the flight of humans to Mars is a distant prospect, but research on the Martian station can be useful on Earth as well, Yakymov says. In particular, plant-growing research on the station will help make food more accessible to many resource-scarce regions of the world.
After working at the station, Serhii plans to work for NASA at the Space Center in Houston (Texas), where they train astronauts. However, to do that, the Ukrainian must first obtain US citizenship.
“Working in the aerospace field without citizenship is very difficult because many even private companies work for many government orders or orders from other states, and they all fall under secrecy,” explains Serhii Yakymov.