A twin of the Red Planet: Armenia to host Austrian Space Forum’s next Mars analog simulation
Posted on March. 14. 2023
The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) has chosen Armenia as the host country for its next Mars analog simulation AMADEE24 in March 2024.
“It is now our 14th simulation,” said OeWF Director Gernot Grömer at a press conference in Vienna on Wednesday, Futurezone reports.
The missions help test materials, analyze the defects in the system and seek solutions.
Every bug discovered in the process means one less vulnerability in space, where it can be life-threatening. The training in Armenia will take place on a rocky high plateau, as is also the case on Mars. “It’s sort of a geological twin of the Red Planet,” Grömer said.
The crew for the mission has already been determined: two women and four men from Austria, Germany, Israel, Italy and Great Britain will participate in the simulation. Anika Mehlis from Germany will be the first woman to lead the mission.
“For a month, Armenia will be the hub of Mars research,” said Grömer. He expects more than 250 international researchers to provide scientific support for the mission. “As far as I know, it will be the largest and most complex Mars simulation of the year,” said the 48-year-old.
Simulating Mars human-robotic surface activities in terrestrial analogs has evolved into an efficient tool for developing exploration mission architectures. They facilitate to understand the advantages and limitations of future Human planetary missions, becoming an added value for the development of remote science operations, helping to understand the constraints and opportunities of the technology and workflows.
The test sites are being selected for their geological and topographic similarity to Mars. Several factors must be considered to determine whether an area is suitable for Mars analog missions on Earth. First and foremost, the physical and geological characteristics of the terrain must be studied.
Therefore, soil and sediment samples from Armenia, collected during the preliminary exploration of possible AMADEE -24 Mars simulation areas, were investigated sediment-geologically.