AMADEE-18 Mars Analog Mission

In February 2018, the Austrian Space Forum – in partnership with the Oman National Steering Comittee for AMADEE-18 – conducted an highly international Mars analog field simulation in the Dhofar region, Oman. Directed by a Mission Support Center in Austria, a small field crew conducted experiments preparing for future human Mars missions in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology, life sciences and other.

Conducting field research in a representative environment is an excellent tool to gain operational experience and understand 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.
  • a platform for testing life-detection or geophysical techniques, terrain tests for rovers and increase the situational awareness of remote support teams,
  • studying the test site as a model region for Martian deserts and extreme life,
  • serving as an outreach platform to enhance the visibility of planetary sciences


AMADEE-18 Science Workshop
From 25. – 27. May 2018 the AMADEE-18 science workshop will take place in Graz. The scientific findings of the Mars Analog Simulation will be presented for the first time.


The actual field mission took place during four weeks in February 2018. Based upon 11 preceding Mars analog missions, the Austrian Space Forum has established a mission support infrastructure, trained and certified flight controllers and field crew members as well as a programmatic roadmap to implement a coherent strategy.

Field activities are scheduled through a “flight plan”, supported by a remote science team and directed by flight controllers at the Mission Support Center in Austria. An expert media team  ensured a high international public visibility.

AMADEE-18 operation infographic


The AMADEE-18  Test Site in Oman

AMADEE-18 location
The deserts of Dhofar, the largest governorate in the Sultanate of Oman, have a resemblance to various Mars surface features, such as sedimentary structures dating back to the Paleocene and Eocene, salt domes of the South Oman Salt Basin and ancient river beds. The test site offers a wide range of sand and rocky surfaces combined with a broad variability in inclination.

The nearest major city is Salalah, expected temperatures at the test site in February typically range between 16-27°C with less than 10 mm of precipitation.

Kepler Station Oman (c) ÖWF (Florian Voggeneder)

Kepler Station Oman (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

Analog Astronauts Kartik Kumar and Joao Lousada on EVA.
Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)



Experiment Organization Short Description
A3DPT-2-Mars Junior-Reseachers
TU Graz, AT
3D printing operational workflow experiments for crewed Mars expeditions
AVI-NAV Institute of Smart System Techn., Alpen-Adria Univ. Klagenfurt, AT Drone with vertical take-off and landing capabilities for efficient area exploration and low latency visual feedback to the crew or/and ground personnel
EOS Junior-Reseachers
HTL Eistenstadt, AT
Radio Navigation System for EVA’s on GPSless planets
FATIGUE Medical Univ. of
Vienna, Dep. of
Anesthesia, AT
Analysing physical and mental fatigue in
Analog Astronauts during AMADEE-18.
Italian Space
Agency (ASI/URS), IT
Acquisition of reflectance and radiance
spectra in an environment analogous to Mars
Hortextreme Italian Space
Agency (ASI/VUS), IT
Mobile and inflatable green house with
hydroponics, to be used for the cultivation of
Husky Graz Univ. of
Technology, Inst. of
Software Techn., AT
An autonomous rover that supports
astronauts and aids in area mapping
MIMIC TU Graz, Signal
Processing and
Speech Communication
Laboratory, AT
A computerized analysis of verbal
communication to study the mechanisms of
psychological and physiological adaptation or maladaptation in extreme or stressful
MSTAT Ben Gurion Univ.,
Earth and
Planetary Imaging
Facility (EPIF),
Israel, IS
The situational awareness training aims to
simulate two seperated groups of astronauts
on Mars.
ScanMars Università degli Studi di Perugia (Italy) – Dipartimento di Fisica e Geologia&Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali (IAPS), IT Subsurface Characterization of a Martian
Analogue through 2D/3D Ground Penetrating
Radar datasets
SIT-AS University of Witten
Herdecke, DE
Examination of the situational awareness in
and between co-working teams on Earth and
simulated Mars
TEAM Western Univ.,
Dep. of Psychology
& Mission Control
Space Services, CA
Study on the level and fluctuation, over
time, of team cohesion, conflict and
performance and determination of “person”
factors (e.g. personality)
TumbleWeed Junior-Researchers
Sir Karl Popper
School, Vienna, AT
A wind propelled compact rover to be used
for efficient Mars exploration.
V(R)ITAGO Mars Planet Italy, IT Virtual Reality tool for astronaut training and
to aid the RSS team in analyzing geological
Student, OM
Water detection via a geophone mounted on
a rover, which measures the reflection of
ultrasound waves


Sophie Gruber and Stefan Übermasser
AMADEE-18 leadership team

Monika Fischer
OeWF Media Contact

Journal References

  • Losiak, A. at al. (2014): Remote Science Support during MARS2013: Testing a Map-Based System of Data Processing and Utilization for Future Long-Duration Planetary Missions, Astrobiology 14:5, pp 417-430
  • Groemer, G. et al. (2014): The MARS2013 Analog Mission, Astrobiology 14:5, pp 360-376
  • Groemer, G. et al. (2016): The AMADEE-15 Mars Simulation, Acta Astronautica, Vol 129, pp 277–290

Media References



in cooperation with

Oman Astronomical Society

Fortis Official timekeeper of the AMADEE-18 Mars Simulation.

This article is available in: German

AMADEE-18, Oman