Countdown begins for Mars simulation in Oman

The Oman Deserts Mars Simulation will start from February 1, said a lead media official of the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF). The simulation exercise will continue until February 28. Speaking to the Observer, Monica Fischer, the official, said the team will arrive in Muscat in the first week of February. “The simulation will begin from February 8 and continue until 28. As the preparations will begin straightway after the team’s arrival in Muscat, we can say the mission (AMADEE18) period is from February 1 to 28,” she said. “The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), in partnership with international research organisations, will conduct a four-week Mars simulation mission in the Arabian desert in Oman,” said a statement.

Directed by a Mission Support Centre in Austria, a small field crew will conduct experiments preparing for future human mars missions in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology, life sciences and others, it said. All human activities on the Martian surface will be simulated by OeWF’s astronauts Stefan Dobrovolny, (Austria), Carmen Köhler, (Germany), Kartik Kumar (The Netherlands), João Lousada (Portugal) and Iñigo Muñoz Elorza (Spain). In a video message, Kartik Kumar said, “With an exquisite array of over dozen experiments, AMADEE18 will bring an unprecedented level of scientific returns to the community.

Being in Oman will help us test some of the key workflows that will make our journey to Mars a success. It will bring us one step closer to the red planet.” The “analog astronauts” have been carefully selected to execute field activities. They also act as a public face and represent the mission as STEM-Ambassadors for media and educational activities. They will conduct experiments in an international and interdisciplinary environment.

Vinod Nair