‘Oman is a safe, sta­ble coun­try and well known for hos­pi­tal­ity’

Times of Oman - - OMAN -

“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.

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