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The LESA in operation during testing | Photo source European Space Agency

New device may make space rescue missions possible

Mobility & Transport

The Lunar Evacuation System Assembly (LESA) is the first system designed to allow rescue in space

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Spotted: The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA are testing a device that can assist astronauts in a rescue on the surface of the Moon. The device, dubbed the Lunar Evacuation System Assembly (LESA), is the first system designed to allow rescue in space.

The Extravehicular activity (EVA) suits worn by astronauts are intended to keep them alive in the vacuum of space. However, the suits are bulky, heavy, despite the reduced gravity of the Moon, and do not allow for a full range of movement. If an astronaut were to become injured the suits are not capable of allowing one astronaut to carry another.

The LESA can be easily manoeuvred next to a fallen astronaut, and includes a lifting mechanism and a stretcher. Once the stricken astronaut in on the stretcher, the rescuer adds wheels and transports them to safety. The entire process of deploying and securing a crew mate to the stretcher takes less than 10 minutes.

Tests on the LESA are being conducted 62 feet (19 meters) below the ocean’s surface, at NASA’s Aquarius laboratory near Key Largo, Florida. The Aquarius is the only operational permanent underwater research facility in the world.



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