Ameri
Saleh Al Ameri has also done a ‘virtual’ spacewalk and drove a rover on the Moon’s surface collecting lunar samples using virtual reality headset, as well as other experiments on space travel. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Not sleeping for 48 hours straight was the most challenging experiment carried out by UAE analog astronaut Saleh Al Ameri, who will be completing his eight-month mission to train for long-term space travel on July 3.

“Personally, the most difficult experience I have conducted was sleep deprivation for 48 hours,” Al Ameri said in a video tweeted by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). “The challenge lies in the preparations, which include abstaining from caffeine and stimulants for three days prior to the experiment,” he noted, adding: “The psychological tests that we underwent at various points during the mission were also difficult. We compared the results before and after the experiment. After we were done, I recall we were all affected by sleep deprivation.”

Studying effects of spaceflight

Al Ameri has been in isolation at Moscow’s Institute of Biomedical Problems since he became part of the Scientific International Research in the Unique Terrestrial Station (SIRIUS-21) crew that has been studying effects of spaceflight on human physiology and behaviour since November last year.

After conducting 70 scientific experiments over the last eight months, he and three Russian and two American crew members — Oleg Blinov, Ekaterina Karyakina and Victoria Kirichenko from Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBMP), and Ashley Kowalski and William Brown from United States space agency, NASA — will leave the isolation facility on July 3, at 1.30pm UAE time.

Amer
After conducting 70 scientific experiments over the last eight months, Al Ameri and three Russian and two American crew members will leave the isolation facility on July 3. Image Credit: Suplied

Long-duration space exploration

Analog missions are field tests in locations on Earth that have physical similarities to extreme space environment and SIRIUS is an international, multicultural series of studies researching the effects of isolation and confinement on human psychology, physiology and team dynamics to help prepare for long-duration space exploration.

According to MBRSC, the 240-day mission replicates various stages and scenarios of a space mission that follows phases such as launch, orbit, landing and return.

NAT 220629 UAE analog astronaut Saleh AlAmeri 04-1656492657638
Analog astronauts simulate long-duration space missions and Al Ameri also conducted lunar tests and performed a lunar landing simulation, as part of SIRIUS-21 crew. Image Credit: Supplied

Performing spacewalks, handling payloads

Earlier, Al Ameri has completed a new experiment on the robotic arm Canadarm2, a 57.7-foot-long robotic arm that is extensively used in capturing cargo spaceships, performing spacewalks, handling payloads and maintenance and other activities aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

He also conducted an EEG (electroencephalogram) experiment to help researchers see how the brain reacts and cognitive function changes, while being in an isolated and confined environment for a long time.

Read more

Analog astronauts simulate long-duration space missions and Al Ameri also conducted lunar tests and performed a lunar landing simulation, as part of SIRIUS-21 crew. He has also done a ‘virtual’ spacewalk and drove a rover on the Moon’s surface collecting lunar samples using virtual reality headset, as well as other experiments on space travel.

UAE’s participation in the SIRIUS mission is an integral part in developing Emirati capabilities and contributing to the development of the Mars 2117 Programme, aimed at establishing human colonies in Mars by 2117.