Exploration of Mars: Testing carried out in desert, preparing for life on Mars
Landing on Mars has always been a goal for scientists and astronauts. Last month, 15 space experts and astronauts from 8 countries formed a research team in Oman, to carry out experiments in preparation for future exploration of Mars. Zhu Xuesong has the details.
Space suit, space station, and sand dunes in cinnamon color. It looks like science fiction, but it's real life. Scientists and volunteers tests in the inhospitable conditions of the Oman desert to prepare for life on Mars.
DR. GERNOT GROEMER FIELD COMMANDER, AMADEE 18 MISSION "The resemblance of this topography is strikingly similar to Mars. We actually see topographic and geological features which have twins on the red planet. But not only the visual appearance but also the meteorology is strikingly similar. We see minerals that were in long-standing contact with water resources here in Dhofar are the same as we see on Mars as well."
The deserts of Doha have a resemblance to various features on Mars and offer wide range of sand and rocky surfaces as a perfect test site.
The experiment aims to prepare scientists so they will be well acquainted for future expeditions on Mars. In the meantime, they have to deal with psychological challenges of isolation and physical challenges presented by the terrain and heat.
DR. CARMEN KOEHLER ANALOG ASTRONAUT, THE AUSTRIAN SPACE FORUM "We have the space suit simulator, which weighs almost as much as I do. So conducting such experiments in such an environment for the weight is very interesting and I really embrace that challenge."
DR. GERNOT GROEMER FIELD COMMANDER, AMADEE 18 MISSION "You see this large inflatable dome structure in the middle with several auxiliary domes next to it. That is also something that we can expect at Mars as well. Because we simply don't have enough space to land with a rocket on Mars where all the containers and infrastructures there are already available, which means we land with a rocket and then inflate the infrastructures to have more living volume and working volume. That is what we have here as well."
They are supported by a team of some 200 people on the ground near their desert mission site as well as the simulation mission control center in Innsbruck, Austria. Communications between Oman and Innsbruck have also been established in a way that will mimic the distance between earth and Mars.
DR. CARMEN KOEHLER ANALOG ASTRONAUT, THE AUSTRIAN SPACE FORUM "On a daily basis, accumulating valuable scientific research and all these research, all these first data will be given to the mission support center in Innsbruck. There, the principals and investigators verify and look at the data and later on publish their research on period of journals."
All these data could someday be used not just to help people survive on the red planet but to thrive as well. Zhu Xuesong. CGTN.