AMADEE-18 Picture of the Day: Isolation Phase

Sunset seen from Keplerstation (Dhofar Desert, Oman) Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

21 Day 21: 28th February 2018

Last sunset from Mars! More Sience. Greater fidelity. Closer to Mars. The 12th Mars Simulation AMADEE-18 is over. Thank you to all the people and partners involved. You made this mission possible and together we are getting closer to mars!

Photo: (c) OeWF

20 Day 20: 27th February 2018

Its demobilization time! The Amadee18 Mission coming to an end!  We are glad to have a partner like Lancom at our side who provided us with the equipment for a stable and secure wifi network to ensure connectivity with our analog astronauts during EVAs.

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

19 Day 19: 26th February 2018

We just finished our last AMADEE-18 EVA. Conducting field research in a representative environment like the Dhofar region in Oman is an excellent tool to gain operational experience and understand the advantages and limitations of remote science operations for future Mars exploration.

Field crew member Claudia Kobald harvesting the sprouts. Photo: (c) OeWF (Gernot Groemer)

18 Day 18: 25th February 2018

To establish sustainable settlement, future astronauts may grow some of their meals inside greenhouses. The AMADEE-18 experiment HortExtreme is a mobile, inflatable vertical farming system for the hydroponic cultivation of microgreens. After 12 days of careful monitoring our field crew was allowed to eat the freshly harvested sprouts.

Laura Bettiol, Flight Plan | Nina Sejkora, Flight Plan Lead | Christine Czakler, Remote Science Support (from left to right) Photo: (c) OeWF

17 Day 17: 24th February 2018

Our Flight Planning Team is responsible for the schedule of the field activities, wherein safety aspects, weather forecasts, traverse planning, or individual needs of the scientists must be considered as well as any used goods, human factors, or the needs of the crew. They are in constant exchange with Remote Science Support (RSS) which records and collects the scientific data from the field.

FP Lead Nina Sejkora using the Virtual Reality console. Photo: (c) OeWF

16 Day 16: 23rd February 2018

Donning our Aouda suits takes quite some time, and since they are very heavy, the analog astronauts can only wear them for a few hours each day. During this time, they try to get as much “science” done as possible, which is often a tense race against the clock. In order to optimize the scientific output of our analog missions, we are testing the use of virtual reality tools to practice the workflows of several experiments, helping us to perform them more efficiently. In today’s picture of the day, flightplan lead Nina Sejkora is using the V(R)ITAGO station to run the Hortextreme experiment.

Dr. Bernhard Tilg of the regional government of Tyrol visited the MSC today. Photo: (c) OeWF

15 Day 15: 22nd February 2018

Today, Dr. Bernhard Tilg of the regional government of Tyrol visited the Mission Support Center (MSC) to learn more about our AMADEE-18 mission. He was received by OeWF Board Members Sophie Gruber and Reinhard Tlustos and given a tour through the MSC, getting to know some of the teams behind the mission. In our picture of the day, Flight Director and OeWF Board Member Willibald Stumptner shows the flight control room to Dr. Tilg, going through each position and explaining their tasks.

The EOS experiment in action. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

14 Day 14: 21st February 2018

Every day, most of us use global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), such as GPS or Galileo, to help us determine our position and move around. Unfortunately, we have not yet established a GNSS around Mars. How, then, will future astronauts determine their position when they set foot on the Red planet? One of the experiments of AMADEE-18 tries to answer this very question: The EVA Orientation System (EOS) consists of three ground stations – two fixed and one mobile – which help our analog astronauts orientate while moving around. In today’s picture of the day, analog astronaut João Lousada carries the mobile station of EOS while walking away from one of the fixed stations. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

AMADEE18 Leadership Team member Sophie Gruber talks about our Mars mission at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz. Photo: (c) OeWF (Gerhard Groemer)

13 Day 13: 20th February 2018

Last Thursday, we dispatched Sophie Gruber of the AMADEE-18 Leadership Team to the Ars Electronica Center (AEC) in Linz, which is one of our official expedition outlets for AMADEE-18. There, she gave a lecture about our ongoing Mars analog mission, where she showcased various pictures from Mars, our Kepler Station in Oman as well as of the analog astronauts in their Aouda suits, explained the experiments that are being conducted and answered questions from an engaged crowd. The lecture was part of a broader program at the AEC this month which highlights various elements of our AMADEE-18 mission.

Analog astronaut João Lousada taking a sample, using a 3D printed container. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

12 Day 12: 19th February 2018

When planning a space mission, one wants to travel as lightly as possible. Lifting equipment into space is expensive, especially if the targeted location is as far away as Mars. One proposed approach to this problem has been to carry 3D printers on space missions, and then use in-situ resources to assemble and repair the necessary crafts directly in space. In 2014, a 3D printer on the International Space Station produced the first ever 3D printed object in space. Likewise, AMADEE-18 features the A3DPT experiment, which uses a 3D printer to produce tools for analog astronauts to use during their EVAs and assist in repair and maintenance tasks. In this picture, analog astronaut João Lousada is holding a 3D printer container to take a sample from the Dhofar desert. The golden frame is made of metal and will protect the plastic container from getting damaged, which could put the samples at risk of contamination. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

#DieAstronautinnen Dr. Insa Thiele-Eich (right) and Dr. Suzanna Randall (left) with the MSC crew. Photo: (c) OeWF (Paul Santek)

11 Day 11: 18th February 2018

Yesterday, the Mission Support Center (MSC) got another special visit: Dr. Insa Thiele-Eich and Dr. Suzanna Randall of the initiative #DieAstronautin, who aim to become the first female German astronauts. As they are currently preparing for a journey to space, they were also curious to learn about our efforts to prepare for a journey to Mars. We gladly showed them around the MSC, explained the various tasks of our MSC crew and even had them take over some of the tasks themselves. We wish them best of luck in their endeavour and hope that we will get to welcome them again in the future! Photo: (c) OeWF (Paul Santek)

An analog astronaut riding his quad through the vast Dhofar desert. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

10 Day 10: 17th February 2018

One of the objectives of our analog missions is to find out how future crews of astronauts will perform under conditions of extended isolation. To simulate this, our analog missions require vast, remote locations, just like on Mars. The desert of Dhofar provides the perfect conditions for this, as seen in today’s picture of the day. AMADEE-18 also features an experiment, MIMIC, which will study how isolation and other factors affect crew members during the mission. We’re looking forward to the results! Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

Analog astronauts on quads in the hilly, Mars-like terrain of the Dhofar desert. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

Analog astronauts on quads in the hilly, Mars-like terrain of the Dhofar desert. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

9 Day 9: 16th February 2018

Our analog astronauts are pretty skilled at driving on quads with a heavy spacesuit simulator – especially in this type of terrain, their training becomes very important. Also, a little geology fun-fact: do you see the little wavy structures on the ground in the sand? They are called ripples, are formed by a current (in this case, wind; it can also occur with water though, maybe you have seen ripples at a beach before) and they also exist on Mars – neat! Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).


Analog Astronaut Joao Lousada on a quad at night. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

Analog Astronaut Joao Lousada on a quad at night. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

8 Day 8: 15th February 2018

Someone’s looking very cool – it’s our analog astronaut Joao Lousada on the quad at night! You can see that the suit has lights, so the analog astronauts can at least see a little bit if it’s dark. Also, have you noticed the blue light? The other suit has a violet light, so you can distinguish the two. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).


Analog Astronauts with Husky Rover. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

Analog Astronauts with Husky Rover. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

7 Day 7: 14th February 2018

Today, it’s a black day during our mission – no experiments will be conducted today so that everyone can get a break and relax. Tomorrow, we’ll be back up to full speed doing experiments – also Husky, pictured here, the autonomous rover from the TU Graz that supports astronauts and aids in area mapping will be back on soon enough! Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).


Vehicles on EVA in the Desert. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

Vehicles on EVA in the Desert. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

6 Day 6: 13th February 2018

If you can see one thing in this picture, it’s that it’s pretty windy and sandy in the surroundings of Kepler Station! The analog astronauts on their quads and the Ziesel are sure kicking up a lot of dust, which is then instantly blown away – a challenge for everyone but especially technical equipment! It is also why in our Picture of the Day from February 10th, Michael is using a plastic bag over the 3D-printer. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).


Dr. Saleh, president of the Oman Astronomical Society at the MSC. Photo: (c) OeWF (Paul Santek).

Dr. Saleh, president of the Oman Astronomical Society at the MSC. Photo: (c) OeWF (Paul Santek).

5 Day 5: 12th February 2018

Last weekend, we had a very special visitor at the Mission Support Center (MSC) in Innsbruck: Dr. Saleh from the Oman Astronomical Society! He visited the MSC and got a tour of the whole place, taking everything in very interestedly. We are happy and proud that he visited us! Photo: (c) OeWF (Paul Santek).


An analog astronaut using a hammer during an experiment. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

An analog astronaut using a hammer during an experiment. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

4 Day 4: 11th February 2018
An Analog Astronaut using a hammer for an experiment in the desert, with Kepler Station in the background. The experiment, called Water Explorer, aims to find subsurface water using seismic waves produced by hits with the hammer. It is another one of our junor researcher experiments. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).


Michael Mueller working on his experiment A3DAPT-2-Mars. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

Michael Müller working on his experiment A3DAPT-2-Mars. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

3 Day 3: 10th February 2018
Shown here is Michael Müller (TU Graz), working on the 3D-printer for the A3DAPT-2-Mars experiment. He’s one of our junior researchers. For his project, he does 3D printing operational workflow experiments for crewed Mars expeditions. Photo: (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).


Two Analog Astronauts on EVA. (c) OeWF (Olivia Haider)

Two Analog Astronauts on EVA. (c) OeWF

2 Day 2: 09th February 2018
This is a picture from yesterday’s EVA (extravehicular activity), showing two Analog Astronauts doing an experiment in the desert. It was a big moment, since it was the first EVA during the isolation phase. Photo: (c) OeWF.


An Analog Astronaut rides a quad in the Oman desert, in front of the newly named "Kepler Station". (c) ÖWF (Florian Voggeneder).

An Analog Astronaut rides a quad in the Oman desert, in front of the newly named “Kepler Station”. (c) ÖWF (Florian Voggeneder).

1 Day 1: 08th February 2018
Today, the isolation phase officially started! The base, pictured here in the background, has now been renamed “Kepler Station” in honor of the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. In this picture, an Analog Astronaut can be seen in the desert, riding a quad. (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

This article is available in: German

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