The AMADEE-18 isolation phase has now officially begun in the desert of south Oman as the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) in cooperation with the Oman National Steering Committee. The base for the project has been renamed Kepler Station in honour of the astronomer Johannes Kepler. In a statement, OeWF said that the AMADEE-18 field-crew will conduct experiments in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology and life sciences to pave the way for future human Mars missions.
During today’s press conference at the AMADEE-18 Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria, the Austrian Space Forum offered media representatives an insight into the Mars simulation and its objectives.
“This mission unites people from 20 nations and 16 institutions from 6 countries. Our six analog astronauts originate from five different countries. AMADEE-18 is definitely one of the best examples of successful international cooperation”, said AMADEE-18 Flight Director and OeWF board member Reinhard Tlustos.
He also stressed the importance of the OeWF’s partner organisations.
The statement said: “The Oman National Steering Committee assisted in finding a suitable test-site, provided the base-station in the Dhofar desert as well as crew-transportation to the test site. Several high-end companies provided their know-how and products crucial to the success of a mission of such magnitude.”
During the next three weeks the mission-crew will conduct 16 experiments as well as test equipment and materials.
Communication between the field crew in Oman, simulating Mars, and the Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria, simulating Earth, will be delayed by 10 minutes, mimicking the time lag between the two planets.
For the duration of AMADEE-18 expedition outlets at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz and the Vienna Planetarium will offer more insight into this Mars simulation as it evolves.