Friday, February 23, 2024

Objective Mars: Inserm, from science to health

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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A loyal partner of the Futuroscope, Inserm returns for the third time to the Chasseneuil-du-Poitou Park, near Poitiers. After opening a photo exhibition there in 2009, and then helping to design the virus-attack gravity in 2014, the institute this time teamed up with the National Center for Space Studies (Cnes) to imagine the Objectif Mars gravity, which was launched in June 2020.

Objective Mars © Futuroscope / J.-L. Audi

Inserm has set out a fun trail overlooking the park’s first roller coaster ride – and very innovative. For fun of course but with the ambition to travel to Mars! The new attraction collides from the start: it appears to be down at the end of the park, but some of the solid outer bars, slightly sprawling and visible from afar, are interesting. With its €20 million investment, the largest to date for a Futuroscope, this roller coaster marks the beginning of a new era, highly immersive, and even more sensual. Screams of carriage escape partly permeate the waiting outside, as well as pre-boarding. This is where Inserm comes in.

Before embarking on a three-minute rail ride – which is the norm in the park – follow the handrails of a science course. Across the panels that line it, the visitor gathers a wealth of information, both amusing and incongruous, allowing to fix some solid knowledge about the space. Why do we age faster outside the atmosphere? Can you walk around Mars in a T-shirt? Covid-19 obliges, some trials planned, based on small manipulations, temporarily inaccessible. The fact remains that settling in the rickety seat of the astronaut, in the rocket before takeoff, sets the tone … towards Mars, the rest will be minimal. Finally, the boarding platform shows the flow of passengers from very high; Nothing like it to raise the pressure a bit.

Visitors experience the take-off capsule seats as part of the entertainment offered in the queue to the Objectif Mars . attraction
To ensure the training program for future astronauts, the Space Test Center offers a series of tests to familiarize candidates with the conditions of a flight into space. © Futuroscope / JL. Audi

Every hour, about 1,000 people are propelled at 55 km/h (more than enough!) in small spinning carts that rush down the roller coaster. This means that the pace is continuous. The ride has a few surprises in store: At its most intense moment, you’ll experience solar flares, encounter strong magnetic fields, and then pick up speed, until an absolutely stunning finish. When you think you’ve done the job, the attraction suddenly loses height… We won’t say more than that. If the buggies were really inspired by the original NASA training equipment, the experience remains affordable: they heat up, then they vibrate. In short, a captivating experience that combines science and relaxation. Thanks to Inserm, you might be able to answer this thorny question: Will you hear screeching on Mars, too?

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