In October 2019, Mounir Alafrangy, BA History ’10, successfully completed a 45-day confined space mission at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Alafrangy was one of four crew members, known as analog astronauts, who were selected from a large pool of applicants to be part of Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Mission XX, a space mission simulation to the Martian moon Phobos. While they simulated a landing on Phobos, the crew stayed inside the HERA habitat in Houston for the duration of the mission.
HERA is a ground-based analog used by NASA’s Human Research Program to study the effects of isolation and confinement on humans. This research will help NASA better understand the hazards of human spaceflight as it prepares to send astronauts to the Moon and on to Mars, and bring them safely home again.
"My time with HERA gave me a unique perspective on the needs and opportunities within that environment. I’m looking to take what I’ve learned and create solutions for the space sector that will enable the human species to explore further into space and survive there for longer periods of time."
Portions of this piece originally appeared in an article by Colleen Kearney Rich, MFA ’95, for The George.
Published fall 2020