Three weeks in the spectacle of Mars in the Negev desert – science

In the red, dry and rocky nothingness with mountains in the background, where the only sound is the sound of the wind and the sun beating wildly, man today has taken another step on his long way to the Red Planet.

The conclusion of the AMADEE-20 mission, which was postponed due to the pandemic and which involved some 200 people from more than 25 countries, marks the latest experience of the Austrian Aerospace Forum, one of the main institutions dedicated to anticipating the obstacles of the future. interplanetary mission.

“This is a milestone, it’s a small first step towards Mars,” explained to Evie Gernot Gromer, Director of the Forum, who considered that this, the thirteenth mission of this type of his institution, was “the largest, most comprehensive and complex expedition man has ever seen.”

desert volcano

Regarding the choice of Mitspe Ramon crater, 40 kilometers long and 500 meters deep, Gromer explained that it is “one of the best places to simulate Mars on Earth,” and although its geological characteristics are similar, it has distinct differences: its air is breathable for humans and its temperature and gravity vary. significantly compared to the atmosphere of the Red Planet.

Unlike previous missions, the base where the astronauts were isolated was completely closed, which made it possible to work in depth on psychological issues and group dynamics, beyond scientific experiments in biology, medicine, geology and engineering.

The six-man team, made up of Portuguese, Spanish, German, Dutch, Israeli and Austrian, was in contact only with a team in Innsbruck (Austria), a kind of land base with which they communicated via text messages, with a delay of 10 minutes, repeating the expected delay between Mars and Earth.

See also  Two new species of tarantula have been discovered and are already at risk of extinction due to humans

“We had a mission that combines the isolation and psychological burden that this entails, with the very advanced technologies in EVAs (Virtual Learning Environment) for a spacewalk,” Spaniard Iñigo Muñoz-Elorza, second in simulator command, after leaving the cockpit without a spacesuit for the first Once three weeks ago.

“Our spacesuit simulator is one of the most advanced simulators for analog missions and we’ve also got the support of several roving vehicles (space exploration vehicles) and UAVs, to fly and progressively map the area around the habitat where we then do the science,” Muñoz Elorza adds. , which, in total, simulates three missions that simulate life on Mars.

Solitude and experiences

The mission site was built by the Israeli company D-Mars in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency and consisted of two rooms: one with six bunk beds, a kitchenette and a small living room and the other a little larger and filled with computers, cables, communication devices and scientific equipment, where they conducted their experiments which even included a printer 3D to replace devices that can be broken.

According to Joao Losada, mission leader, the focus was on testing the spacesuit – about 50 kilograms and requiring two hours to wear it – and testing geological exploration procedures and detection of organisms, and investigating the extent of the contamination. It can be generated by the activity of astronauts on Earth.

“These types of missions are important because they allow us to test the equipment, experiments, and procedures that we want to use one day on the surface of Mars, to find in advance here on Earth all the problems, everything that can go wrong, before sending missions to Mars.”

See also  Real Madrid's revolutionary training method with oxygen regulating masks

When sending the first real expedition to the Red Planet, he noted that it will depend on will and international cooperation, but he acknowledged that based on current technology, it should take no more than 20 or 30 years.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top