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The European Space Agency (ESA) moved to Timanfaya a few years ago, for a week, three astronauts, Pedro Duque, current Minister of Science, Innovation and University, Luca Parmitano and Matthias Maurer, and a dozen scientists in a training program destined to prepare future missions to Mars in those places on Earth that most resemble the red planet. Pedro Duque was so impressed by his visit to the island as he was convinced that the volcanic tubes of Mars will be a good refuge for future astronauts, who will be able to find in them protection from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun and the cosmic radiation.
The objective of that course was to take advantage of the characteristics of Timanfaya National Park, very similar to those of Mars, and to prepare future explorers to understand its geology, to know where to look for traces of water and possible signs of current or past life and, everything, to be handled autonomously. “There are a few areas on Earth where the activity of the volcanoes is as visible and as extensive as in Lanzarote. And, above all, where it has not been destroyed by the other forces of nature. Lanzarote is as if the volcano had erupted yesterday. And so it is more or less as are the volcanic zones of the Moon and Mars, because there is neither wind nor rain, nor tectonic plates going up and down, “explained Duque.