Mars Mission to carry samples from Oman to the Red Planet

Oman’s Mars simulation mission (AMADEE-18) formally concluded on Monday with an assurance that samples from Oman will certainly make its way to the Red Planet.

AMADEE-18, conducted by The Austrian Space Forum – in partnership with a national steering committee in Oman, was an international Mars analog field simulation.

A team of Omani students will visit the space center in Austria next summer. Omani youngster, Osama al Busaidi, also had taken part in the mission with astronauts and scientists from across the globe.

Speaking to the Observer, Dr Gernot Gromer, field commander of the mission, said, “we have concluded the one-month-old mission and I would like to reaffirm that our members felt safe and well-received in Oman.”

The AMADEE-18 team had sought the deployment of 16 experts of different nationalities in the Sultanate.

He added that it will take several months to harness all these scientific treasures through a detailed data analysis by experts. “The next major mission will be in 2020 and we hope that Oman will continue to be an important part of future missions.”

Gromer added that over 200 researchers from 25 countries took part in the Mars in Oman expedition while 16 experts took part in the isolated phase in the deserts of Marmul in Dhofar region.

He added, “We have come here as researchers and Oman has helped us to be one step closer to the Mars. Oman has proved that our decision to come here was a right choice, and I want to ensure that samples from Oman will surely go to the Mars”.

Directed by a Mission Support Center in Austria, a field crew conducted experiments preparing for future Mars missions in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology and life sciences among others.

The field crew performed extravehicular activities (EVAs) and experiments, which included collection of a sample from the Dhofar desert using a container, created with a 3D printer as part of the A3DPT experiment.

According to the researchers, conducting a field research in a representative environment is an excellent tool to gain operational experience and understand the advantages and limitations of remote science operations on other planetary bodies.

This field mission was designed to be an opportunity to study equipment, procedures and workflow under Mars analog conditions with humans-in-the-loop.