Austrian Space Forum selects 19 experiments for Oman mission
The Mars field simulation project will be held in February 2018 in Dhofar
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.
An OeWF specialist visiting a site in Dhofar
Dr Gernot Grömer