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Austrian Space Forum will send six Analog Astronauts to Israel in October 2020
Today the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) announced the names of those six analog astronauts who will emulate a human Mars mission in Israel from mid-October to mid-November 2020. “AMADEE-20” is the OeWF’s 13th Mars analog mission. The selected analog astronauts are highly qualified experts who were trained by the Austrian Space Forum. Commander of this international crew will be aerospace engineer Joao Lousada from Portugal, an experienced analog astronaut who already participated in two previous Mars analog missions in Austria (2015) and Oman (2018).
” After serving as deputy commander during our mission in Oman I’m very proud to take the lead this in Israel this year. My crew and I will have the outstanding opportunity to work in a mission habitat that our Israeli partners custom-built according to our specifications for AMADEE-20. Emulating a human Mars mission presents many challenges and I’m positive that together with my skilled team and in cooperation with our Israeli partners we will complete this simulation successfully.”
List of selected crew members:
For more detailed CVs see below
Joao Lousada, Portugal, ISS Columbus Operation Systems Engineer, certified parachutist and rescue diver
Anika Mehlis, Germany, Microbiology, Engineering for Environmental Technology and Recycling, open water diver
Inigo Munoz-Elorza, Spain, Training Manager at the Galileo Control Centre, certified skydiver, paraglider pilot, and diver
Alon Tenzer, Israel, Mathematics, Computer Science and Aviation Science
Thomas Wijnen, The Netherlands, Mathematics and Physics & Astronomy, scuba diving and parachute license
Robert Wild, Austria, Physics, Wilderness First Responder, Advanced Open Water Diver
The Austrian Space Forum chose these experts from its pool of 13 international analog astronauts. Currently the Austrian Space Forum is the only organization worldwide to conduct this challenging and highly specialized training.
The selected crew will now start their specific mission training for AMADEE-20 and will then simulate a human Mars mission in the Negev desert in Israel. To do so the OeWF’s analog astronauts will work in isolation, supported by the OeWF’s Mission Support Center in Innsbruck.
Dr. Gernot Grömer, director of the Austrian Space Forum stresses the international character of the upcoming mission:
“80 scientists from 12 countries have developed equipment, procedures and experiments that will be tested by our analog astronauts during their 4-week stay in Israel. Participating institutions come from France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the USA and Austria.“
Avi Blasberger, ISA’s Director:
”Our cooperation with the Austrian Space Forum and hosting AMADEE-20 in Israel is in line with our policy to support science, to be part of the international efforts for human exploration and to further our outreach and educational program. We are proud to be part of it and will invest all the required efforts to ensure its success.”
AMADEE-20 will be managed by the OeWF and hosted by the Israeli Space Agency in cooperation with D-Mars, taking place from mid-October to mid-November 2020 in the Negev Desert, Israel.
What is Analog Research?
“Analog research is designed to test concepts, working procedures and equipment to find the weak spots so the actual mission can be realized as safely as possible,” says Dr. Gernot Grömer, Administrative Director of the Austrian Space Forum and continues,“ the purpose of simulating a Mars-mission on Earth is to prepare for future crewed missions on the Red Planet. To perform the experiments, the OeWF is one of only five research groups worldwide that has developed a prototype spacesuit which is worn by the OeWF’s analog astronauts during their mission.”
What is an Analog Astronaut?
The Austrian Space Forum’s analog astronauts are carefully selected experts who are trained to execute most of the science field activities while wearing the OeWF´s spacesuit prototype. They also act as a public face and represent the mission as STEM-ambassadors for media and educational activities. Analog astronauts conduct spaceflight-simulations in Mars-like regions on earth as well as test and evaluate workflows and human factors pertinent to human Mars exploration. Their training includes planetology, geology, astrobiology, media training, stress management, emergency care, fitness and above all operating the spacesuit prototype.
The OeWF is one of only five institutions worldwide which has so far developed such a prototype. It emulates the restrictions of an actual planetary surface spacesuit, like weight, resistance or limited sensory input, whilst protecting the analog astronaut from the environment and keeping him/her alive. An elaborate human-machine interface, including a sensor network and specifically developed software assist the analog astronaut during planetary surface operations. The 45kg heavy prototype has been developed to optimize interactions with other (robotic) components, like a rover, and minimize the risk of human contamination.
This article is available in: German
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