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Along with Israel, Oman is in the final selection of candidates to host the Austrian Space Forum’s (OeWF) next Mars Analogue Mission “AMADEE-18”.
The Austrian Space Forum’s (OeWF) location scouts are lead by Mars Expert Dr. Gernot Grömer, President of the OeWF and Alexander Soucek, OeWF board member, and will be available for interviews in Israel as soon as they have concluded their travels. The Austrian Space Forum’s experts will visit Oman from 17th to 21st March.Hosting this enterprise presents a great opportunity to promote Oman as technology advanced and progressive. Oman will be part of the leading edge of research in one of the most promising fields. Inviting brilliant scientists from across the globe will give Oman the chance to enhance its international reputation by presenting the Middle East from a new and different angle.
The main purpose of a mars simulation on Earth is to prepare for future crewed missions on the Red Planet. To perform the experiments, the OeWF is one of the five research groups worldwide to develop the prototype spacesuit “Aouda” which is worn by OeWF’s Analogue-Astronauts during its missions.
WHAT ARE MARS ANALOGUE MISSIONS?
To prepare for future crewed missions on Mars, the Austrian Space Forum organizes Mars simulations on Earth. In 2015, the Austrian Space Forum and international partners conducted its 11thanalogue mission AMADEE-15- a two-week Mars simulation mission on a rock glacier in the Kaunertal, Austria that resembles Martian terrain. Communication between the Mission Support Center and the field crew was time-delayed to emulate the conditions of a Mars expedition. The astronauts performed crucial experiments in the fields of geology, astrobiology and engineering, thus gathering valuable data for future missions on Mars. Dr. Gernot Grömer, President of the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), emphasizes the importance of Mars Analogue Missions:
“Through testing equipment, software, procedures and workflows that will be implemented in future human missions to Mars we try to find out what is not yet working, what needs to be redesigned, rethought. After all, it’s better to find the flaw in Mars-equipment here on Earth rather than on Mars where spare parts are a 6-months-journey away at best.”
The Austrian Space Forum’s missions draw considerable media and social media attention across the globe. More than one million people followed the last mission and got a closer look at the cutting edge of research in Austria.
AUSTRIAN SPACE FORUM (OEWF) IS ONE OF 5 GROUPS WORLDWIDE TO DEVELOP A MARS-SUIT-PROTOTYPE
To perform the experiments, the OeWF’s Analogue-Astronauts wear the 45kg prototype spacesuit “Aouda” with an incorporated interface to assist the astronaut. The spacesuit is designed to deliver the astronaut’s vital data and mimic the restrictions of a spacesuit that will be worn by astronauts on Mars. Aouda provides movement restrictions, limited sensory input as well as the weight and an uncomfortably high centre of gravity typical of a pressure suit worn in space. Thus it enables the Austrian Space Forum’s Analogue-Astronauts to test equipment, workflows and experiments meant for the Red Planet under Mars-like conditions. By developing the spacesuit simulator the Austrian Space Forum also aims to optimize interactions with other (robotic) components – such as a rover – and minimize the risk of human contamination.
ABOUT THE AUSTRIAN SPACE FORUM (OEWF)
The Austrian Space Forum (Österreichisches Weltraum Forum, OeWF) is a national network for aerospace engineers, scientists and people with a passion for space. This citizen-science organization is involved in leading-edge space exploration research and serves as a communication platform between the space sector and the public; it is embedded in a global network of specialists from the space industry, research and policy. www.oewf.org
Dr. Gernot Grömer, President of the Austrian Space Forum, and Alexander Soucek, OeWF-board member, will be available for interviews to answer any questions you may have regarding the preparation for human Mars Missions and the Austrian Space Forum and its projects.
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