NOLS goes to Mars

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Astronauts dreaming to one day set foot on mars learn important skills at lander's national outdoor leadership school.

NOLS field instructor Shannon Rochelle said “it’s the edge of human exploration and we are training those folks who are heading out.”

NOLS and NASA are two organizations designed for exploration.

Former Director of NOLS professional training Rick Rochelle said “we both go on expeditions, and NOLS has been going on expeditions for over 50 years and we were specifically formed to train people to go on expeditions. Nasa is currently going on the highest tech most outrageous expeditions human kind has ever done so it’s a natural fit.”

The most important tool for astronauts to learn, is called expedition behavior, which helps teams get along in space.

NOLS curriculum and research manager John Gookin said “with small teams it’s just key that even if people don’t like each other that they cooperate well to accomplish goals.”

Shannon Rochelle stated “expedition behavior which is something we teach is really important for a small group of people living in a tin can.”

News 13’s Landon Harrar reported “NOLS instructors say Wyoming is a great place to train astronauts headed to mars, because of how secluded and similar the terrain here is to that of the distant planet”

Astronaut courses are typically a week long….instructors say that’s plenty of time to get to know each other.

Rick Rochelle said “you’re living together, you’re cooking together, you’re traveling together and you’ve got to trust each other so expedition behavior is critically important and it becomes very obvious in a weeks’ time.”

No expeditions are scheduled for mars yet, but NASA leaders are planning how to get there.

Rick Rochelle said “the next step is to land on an asteroid sometime in the mid twenty twenties. And NASA believes that once we’ve done that we will know what we need to know in order to go to mars.”

NOLS instructors say the courses astronauts take are not much different than those provided to regular students. Still.... Over 90 percent of current astronauts have taken at least one NOLS course