“Space Archaeologists” to Examine the International Space Station

iss © NASA

„Using millions of photos and documents, researchers will reconstruct life on the ISS to see how visitors interact with their tools and each other.

Most archaeological sites are pretty old and firmly on the ground, or rather, under the ground. But a new project is taking archaeology in orbit, with “space archaeologists” examining the culture and society that has developed on the International Space Station (ISS) over the 17 years its been in orbit, reports Megan Gannon at Space.com.

The genesis of the Space Archaeology program began in 2015 when NASA began looking for its newest class of astronauts. The agency encouraged scientists including doctors, geologists and computer scientists to apply, but Justin Walsh, an archaeologist at Chapman University in Orange, California, was miffed that social scientists weren’t included. “I thought that was too bad,” he tells Gannon. “If they’re thinking about sending people to Mars, sending people to deep space, or sending people to [the] moon for long periods of time, it would really behoove them to understand how astronaut societies are maintained, how astronauts create a kind of culture.”

That’s why Walsh teamed up with Alice Gorman of Flinders University in Australia, who specializes in documenting space junk and artifacts from the Space Age (which is now courting 60 years). The two have started a project to conduct an archaeological examination of the ISS, which has seen the involvement of five space agencies and been visited by at least 252 people from 18 countries since November 2000. (…)“

Read full article article by Jason Daley on smithsonian.com.

 

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