Opportunities to become an astronaut may be in short supply despite the massive uptick in human space flight plans. Not to worry space enthusiasts, it’s only semantics. A program developed by the European Space Agency is intended to coach future lunar workers in geology — a highly valuable skill when exploring our Moon and collecting samples. Moon Miners or Lunar Explorers are specific descriptive replacements for “astronaut”.

The Pangaea course offers leading European scientists and geological analogue environments to teach astronauts the basics of field geology and astrobiology. The course has a strong focus on developing skills to identify and document scientifically relevant samples in the field and communicate to ground control using efficient and geologically correct language. This teaches Pangaea trainees to become both autonomous field scientists and effective counterparts to the ground science teams that support scientific exploration in space.