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That's why Austria is simulating a Mars mission in Armenia

That's why Austria is simulating a Mars mission in Armenia

This time there are two women in the team of six: Carmen Köhler (photo) and Annika Melis.

© OEWF/Florian Vogeneder

The Austrian Space Forum's (ÖWF) Mars analog mission launches on March 12. 6 analog astronauts He will then live for about a month at a test site in Ararat Province (Armenia). Among the mission participants are two women and four men from different countries.

Preparing for real Mars missions

A number of things will be checked during the mission Research questionsFor example, how would isolated life on Mars affect… spirit Of the participants. Participants will also explore the surrounding areas, Soil samples Take and test Mars rovers and drones.

➤ Read more: Night Labyrinth: Video shows flying over Mars' massive valley

Armenia as host country

Analog astronauts will travel to Armenia on Thursday to help prepare the spacecraft equipment for help. “We always have a host country providing the infrastructure on site – geologically, that's how it should be region Be like Mars. This is the case in the Armenian mountains.

Armenia also has a long period story In space travel, they developed the first Mars rover. That is why Armenia was chosen as a partner country for this mission,” explains the head of the mission Annika Melis Future area. The Austrian Mars simulation mission is already the fourteenth mission of this type, and the last one was in 2020 Israel instead of.

Mission commander Annika Melis is looking forward to spending her time in the Mars simulator.

Earth headquarters in Vienna

The analogue astronauts will be isolated from the outside world until April 5. You can only communicate with him via chat Mission Support Centre In Vienna. The delay is 10 minutes because, according to NASA, it takes about 5 to 10 minutes to send radio signals to Mars and back as well. There will also be an on-site team who will be responsible for… protection The crew will take care of weak repairs – but this should not interact with the “Martians”.

The data collected during the mission's experiments will then be sent to Vienna. More than 250 international researchers participate in the project, who then evaluate the data and use it in their research.

The medical staff will also be based in Vienna vital signs Crew monitoring. Because participants will also have a special offer on their expeditions Mars suit prototype Clothes developed by OeWF. This allows participants to feel what it is like to be on Mars in a real spacesuit.

Habitats with plants

They are only allowed to take off the suit in the so-called habitat: “The crew has their own space to sleep and stay there. Sanitary facilities are there as well. We also have a laboratory for technology and experiments. There is an automated system for growing green plants,” Melis explains.

With the German there is one for the first time woman Mission command. “My motivation is that you can conduct interesting experiments in different scientific disciplines, work in an international team, and try things that you would not have been able to do otherwise,” she says. The Austrian is its co-leader Robert Wilde To the side.

Physicist Robert Wild is a full-time researcher at the University of Innsbruck.

Physicist Robert Wild is a full-time researcher at the University of Innsbruck.

Mars Dune Alpha

The Austrian Mars Simulator is not the only one, other organizations organize such missions as well. Since June 2023, people have been living at the base located in the US state of Texas “Mars Dune Alpha” Four volunteers also are in the simulated Mars environment. Participants receive about 140,000 euros for their year in isolation.

In the Austrian delegation, participants do not receive any money. Like analogue astronauts Progress Natural scientists and doctors from ESA member states can apply Between 25 and 45 years oldIt's old. You have been selected in a multi-stage process.

➤ Read more: NASA simulates the colonization of Mars: “Killing a robot”

As with the previous mission in Israel, different Mars instruments will be tested again this time.

As with the previous mission in Israel, different Mars instruments will be tested again this time.

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