Mars 2013

Between 01 – 28. February 2013, the Austrian Space Forum – in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center in Marrakesh – conducted an integrated Mars analog field simulation in the northern Sahara near Erfoud, Morocco in the framework of the PolAres research programme. Directed by a Mission Support Center in Austria, a small field crew conducted experiments preparing for future human Mars missions mainly in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology, life sciences and other.

Mission goals

  • an opportunity to study equipment behavior involving the simultaneous usage of instruments with the option of a human-in-the-loop (via the Aouda.X/.S spacesuit),
  • a platform for testing life-detection or geophysical techniques, performing terrain tests
    for rovers and test concepts for high situational awareness of remote support teams
  • serving as an outreach platform to enhance the visibility of planetary sciences and human spaceflight.

MARS2013 Mission Report
(8.77 MB pdf)


Experiment Organization Description
CLIFFBOT CRV Association Planete Mars, FR Cliffbot rover vehicle – terrain trafficability
COMPSTRESS Crew Fatigue Med.Univ. Graz, AT, Kings College, UK Sensorimotor Adaptation & Stress Physiology in
ERAS C3 MS Italy, IT Command & Control software project for data processing in the field
SREC Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Cognitique, Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux, FR Assessement of small rover exploration capabilities (ATV-like vehicles)
DELTA Austrian Space Forum, AT Human factors – work economics, time delay A.X vs unsuited
Puli-Rover Puli Space Tech, HU Mobility tests for the Hungarian GLXP rover
Hunveyor-4 Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, HU Surveyor-class robotic lander with remote access
LTMS-MOROCCO CSEM, CH Long term medical monitoring system, biomedical chest vest
Magma-White Rover ABM Space, PL Pathfinder-class rover system, mobility & human-robotic interaction
MEDIAN Univ. College London, UK Methane Detection by In-Situ Analysis with Nano-Landers
microEVA NASA JPL, USA Luminescence detection of viable bacterial spores and terbium microspheres
Deployable Shelter TU Vienna, AT Deployable Emergency Shelter suitcase for astronauts
PolAres programme-specific activities
Aouda.X/.S Austrian Space Forum, AT Series of engineering tests w.r.t. communication, trafficability and materials
MAT/EP Medical University of Innsbruck, AT routine medical survey during OEWF field campaigns; includes a field incident reporting system
Geosciences University of Budapest, HU
University Innsbruck, AT
Geoscience remote science support experiments; includes the management of all geophysical and astrobiological research activities.
ANTIPODES Kiwispace, NZ Communication experiment with Kiwispace, NZ – testing the experiment guidance over to an external Mission Support Center during an ongoing experiment.
Complimentary experiments
Peniculus University of Innsbruck, AT A student experiment, devised at the University of Innsbruck during the summer 2012 "Unicamp". One solar panel will be swept by a brush once a day, whereas the other will accumulate a fine layer of dust.
Distance measurement "Yellow Box" FH Mittweida Using a high frequency signal emited by a base station, the signal travel time is measured to calculate the distance to the receiver. This could be used for a triangulation method to determine the location of a field unit.
OPS Box "White" Intarsico Design The classical base station for receiving the telemetry of the Aouda spacesuits has been expanded by an ergonomic design variant.

This article is available in: German

MARS2013 Morocco Mars Simulation

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