Analog astronauts to simulate life on Mars inside huge desert crater
So far, the OeWF has organized 12 international expeditions to Mars-like locations such as the northern Sahara of Morocco, Utah, southern Spain and Oman, and high altitude glacier missions.
The Amadee-20 is the organization’s latest mission in which it will cooperate with the Israel Space Agency to conduct an integrated analog field mission to Mars in Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert. The 40 kilometer long and 500 meter deep site has a topography similar to that of the Red Planet and therefore makes it an ideal setting to simulate the Martian environment.
The expedition will be led by a team of six highly trained analog astronauts who will live and work in a specially designed habitat. When performing activities outside the habitat, they will wear a prototype space suit developed by the OeWF.
The team of one woman and five men from Austria, Germany, Israel, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands will conduct more than 25 experiments that will help astronauts prepare for future Mars exploration missions. Two of the experiments are part of a European Space Agency (ESA) project in which the OeWF is participating. In one of them, the crew will focus on moon dust.
During lunar expeditions, moon dust is the main cause of a multitude of health and technical difficulties. To help astronauts overcome these issues, the team will test different methods that can protect technical devices from these issues. In addition, an ESA 3D printer will be examined to see if space-grade plastics can be created to facilitate scientific research in remote and harsh environments.
Other experiments involve testing drones, rovers, and analyzing the mental and physical health of astronauts in isolation.