‘Oman is a safe, stable country and well known for hospitality’
“There are three main factors as to why Oman was chosen: the topographic and geographic location looked like Mars, secondly, Oman is a very safe and stable country and we have nothing to worry about, and this is really appreciated by the people from abroad.
“Thirdly, we are very well known for our hospitality in Oman, and the researchers have access to all facilities, so the government is helping them to take part in many experiments,” he said.
Some of the experiments that will be carried out as part of the project – AMADEE-18 - include a field test of the prototype Aouda spacesuit, which weights 45 kilograms and is designed to mimic the gravitational conditions and read life signs the way it would need to on Mars.
Gernot Gromer added: “It’s not just the simulation of missions, such as the ones we are doing, but additional services as well, when it comes to things like engineering, telecommunications, remotesensing, software etc.,”
“The government is really looking to inspire the next generation of students to develop interest in the STEM (science, technology, English, mathematics) subjects, whether they are elementary students in Muscat or high-school students in Salalah, and I genuinely think that is possible.”
“Oman is currently interested in researching and launching small satellites for itself, so there is an active interest among researchers here to get this underway,” he added. “We will be located in Marmul, which is near Salalah, because the topography there is very similar to the terrain on Mars. It is really off-grid and is great for our experiments.” Oman will be the laboratory in which several new space faring designs will be tested, including a hydroponic, airtight greenhouse that is designed to grow food on Mars, a radio communications array that is meant to function in areas of decreased gravity, and tests to see how the time of day affects the physical and mental capabilities of astronauts.