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An international team of over sixty volunteers and project partners assembled on Sunday and Monday at the OEWF Mission Control Center in Innsbruck, Austria. Over the course of the two days, the team engaged in a dress rehearsal in preparation of the Mars2013 simulation.
Mars2013 is a simulation of a scientific mission on Mars. Using the OEWF’s Aouda spacesuit simulator, the project aims to conduct a series of space-related experiments under conditions similar to what real astronauts would experience. The OEWF is the only organisation in Europe that works on developing a spacesuit simulator for a human Mars mission.
For the occasion of the rehearsal, the ground floor of the Mission Support Center had been converted into a temporary “Mars environment” where a field crew rehearsed operations with the Aouda.X and Aouda.S spacesuit simulators and several experiments. Meanwhile, the crew in the Mission Support Center on the first floor provided background management and operational support.
In order to make the rehearsal as realistic as possible, strict separation was maintained throughout the simulation between the field crew “on Mars” and the crew in the Mission Control Center “on Earth”. In addition, all communication between the field crew and the MSC crew was on a time delay to simulate real-world communications between the Earth and Mars. The simulation on Sunday started out on a three-minute delay. On Monday, this was increased to the full ten-minute delay that will also be in operation during the Mars2013 mission in February.
The lessons learned during these dress rehearsals will be invaluable for the real Mars2013 mission, which launches in February 2013. Learn more about Mars2013 at the mission website, and follow the OEWF on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.
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