Inigo Munoz-Elorza in Armenia

YEREVAN (Public Radio of Armenia) — The Austrian Space Forum in cooperation with the Armenian Space Agency kicks off its AMADEE-24 Mars analog simulation in Armenia on Tuesday, March 12.

Six astronauts – two women, four men from Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain will work in isolation from March 12 to April 5, to prepare for a future Mars mission. Over 200 scientists from 26 countries are involved in this international endeavor.

The test site in the province (marz) of Ararat was selected for its geological and topographic similarity to Mars.

AMADEE-24 field crew, analog astronauts (in dark suits) and the GOST team.

The six will live and work in a habitat specially designed for them. They will only leave the habitat wearing the OeWF’s Mars suit prototype. For the duration of the mission communication with the Mission Support Center in Vienna, Austria will only be possible with a 10-minute delay in order to simulate the distance from Earth to Mars. Conducting the experiments in the areas of human factors, robotics and geology, the analog astronauts will use a drone and robotic vehicles to explore and map their environment, take soil samples and transport heavy loads.

During the mission, the trainees will be cut off from the outside world and will thus have to rely solely on their team to complete their tasks and solve emerging problems.

The Austrian Space Forum will broadcast the last hour before the mission start live from the test site in Armenia and the Mission Support Center in Vienna, Austria. Scientists and mission members will shed more light on the goals and purpose of analog research and the special features of AMADEE-24. The highlight of the live broadcast will be the start of the mission, when the analog astronauts enter their habitat and close the door.

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Simulating Mars human-robotic surface activities in terrestrial analogs has evolved into an efficient tool for developing exploration mission architectures.

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