Aus­trian Space Fo­rum se­lects 19 ex­per­i­ments for Oman mis­sion

The Mars field sim­u­la­tion project will be held in Fe­bru­ary 2018 in Dho­far

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

The Aus­trian Space Fo­rum (OeWF), which se­lected Dho­far as the site for the highly pres­ti­gious Mars Ana­log Mis­sion (AMADEE-18), to be held in Fe­bru­ary 2018, has se­lected 19 ex­per­i­ments from in­ter­na­tional as well as lo­cal Omani sub­mis­sions to be part of the mis­sion in Oman.

OeWF, in part­ner­ship with the Oman Na­tional Steer­ing Com­mit­tee for AMADEE-18, will con­duct the field sim­u­la­tion in Dho­far for four weeks. Di­rected by a Mis­sion Sup­port Cen­ter 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, said the space or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The mis­sion will serve as an ana­log mis­sion for fu­ture manned mis­sions to Mars. “The sub­mis­sions re­ceived were from a mul­ti­tude of na­tions and var­ied from ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions such as West­ern Univer­sity in Aus­tralia to space agen­cies such as the Ital­ian Space Agency. The se­lected ex­per­i­ments are to be tested in the field dur­ing the mis­sion. The se­lec­tion process con­sisted of an in­ten­sive peer re­view ses­sion within the Aus­trian Space Fo­rum and marks the first step in prepa­ra­tions for the mis­sion, the agency stated.

Dr Ger­not Grömer, pres­i­dent of OeWF and Mis­sion Field Com­man­der, said, “We are very proud to an­nounce that we have re­ceived a num­ber of in­no­va­tive, cut­ting-edge ex­per­i­ment sub­mis­sions to be car­ried out aboard our 13th ana­log mis­sion in the Oman desert. I per­son­ally be­lieve, that many of the ex­per­i­ments se­lected be­long to some of the strong­est mis­sion ex­per­i­ments we have seen yet.”

He added, “As seen in ear­lier mis­sions we are also pre­pared to deal with changes of this ref­er­ence se­lec­tion that might oc­cur dur­ing the pre-mis­sion qual­i­fi­ca­tions. How­ever, we con­sider this list a very good rep­re­sen­ta­tion of sci­ence that will take place dur­ing AMADEE-18.”

To per­form the ex­per­i­ments, the OeWF’s Ana­log-As­tro­nauts wear the 45kg pro­to­type space­suit ‘Aouda’ with an in­cor­po­rated in­ter­face to as­sist the as­tro­naut. The space­suit is de­signed to de­liver the as­tro­naut’s vi­tal data and mimic the re­stric­tions of a space­suit that will be worn by as­tro­nauts on Mars. Aouda pro­vides move­ment re­stric­tions, lim­ited sensory in­put as well as the weight and an un­com­fort­ably high cen­tre of grav­ity typ­i­cal of a pres­sure suit worn in space. Thus, it en­ables the Aus­trian Space Fo­rum’s Ana­log-As­tro­nauts to test equip­ment, work­flows and ex­per­i­ments meant for the Red Planet un­der Mars-like con­di­tions.

(Sup­plied pho­tos)

An OeWF spe­cial­ist vis­it­ing a site in Dho­far

Dr Ger­not Grömer

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