A piece of Oman for Mars!

The nearly three-week-old AMADEE-18 (Mars in Oman) mission formally concluded on Monday, while assuring that some “samples from the Sultanate” will make their way to the Red Planet.
Dr Gernot Gromer, field commander of the mission, told the Observer: “We have concluded our mission. We came here as researchers and Oman helped us to get one step closer to Mars. Oman has proved our decision to come here was right. I want to ensure a part of Oman (collected samples) will surely go to Mars.”
According to him, the next major mission will be in 2020. “We hope Oman will continue to be part of our future missions.”
A team of Omani students will visit the space centre in Austria next summer.
Dr Gromer said 200 researchers from 25 countries participated in the Mars experiment, while 16 experts took part in isolated phases in the deserts of Marmul in Dhofar. “It will take several months to conduct a detailed analysis of the data obtained.”
AMADEE-18, conducted by the Austrian Space Forum in partnership with a national steering committee in Oman, was an international Mars analog field simulation.
Directed by the Mission Support Center in Austria, a crew conducted experiments preparing for future human Mars missions in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology and life sciences, among others.
The crew performed extravehicular activities (EVAs) and experiments, which included collection of samples from the Dhofar desert using a container created with the help of a 3D printer.
According to experts, conducting a field research in a representative environment is an excellent tool for gaining operational experience and understanding 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 workflows under Mars analog conditions with humans-in-the-loop.
It was a platform for testing life-detection or geophysical techniques, terrain tests for rovers and increasing the situational awareness of remote support teams, studying the test site as a model region for Martian deserts and extreme life and serving as an outreach platform to enhance the visibility of planetary sciences.