SpaceRef, Austrian Space Forum (September 27, 2012) — Between the 1st and the 28th of February 2013, the Austrian Space Forum, in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center in Marrakesh, will conduct an integrated Mars analog field simulation in northern Sahara, near Erfoud, Morocco, in the framework of the PolAres research program.
Directed by a Mission Support Center in Austria, a well prepared field crew will further the preparation of future human Mars missions by conducting experiments mainly in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology, life sciences and other fields.
During the 28 day field simulation 20 experiments from 10 different nations will be conducted. In preparation of the field tests 23 tons of hardware will be shipped to Morocco.
More than 100 people from over 20 nations and 5 continents will join efforts to take on one of the biggest Mars simulations ever. During the mission more than 15 Gigabyte of data will be produced on a dayly bases and sent to the mission support center in Innsbruck/Austria using LTE by T-Mobile.
The area near Erfoud in Moroccois considered as a relevant proxy for various types of geological features of Mars, as well as a diversity of paleo(micro)biological signatures, terrain topographies similar to the Martian deserts and a test site area size which requires a diligent exploration mission design.
The MARS2013 Mars analog field campaign is designed to:
* study equipment behavior involving the simultaneous usage of instruments with the option of a human-in-the-loop (via the Aouda.X spacesuit);
* test life-detection or geophysical techniques, perform terrain tests for rovers and test concepts for high situational awareness of remote support teams;
* study northern Sahara as a model region for Martian deserts and extreme life; and
* serve as an outreach platform to enhance the visibility of planetary sciences.
The actual field mission will take place during four weeks in February 2013. Based upon previous high-fidelity Mars analog mission simulations, the Austrian Space Forum has established a field campaign infrastructure and roadmaps implemented during MARS2013. Field activities will be scheduled through a “flight plan”, supported by a remote science team and directed by flight controllers at the Mission Support Center in Austria.
- Austrian Space Forum (OeWF)
- Ibn Battuta Center, Marrakesh, Morocco
- Austrian Embassy in Morocco
- Université Cadi Ayyad, Bd. du Prince Moulay Abdellah, Marrakesh, Morocco
- Int’l Research School of Planetary Sciences, Universita d’Annunzio, Italy
- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA
- Space Research Institute RAS and IKI, Russia
- Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Cognitique, Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux, France
- Politecnico de Turino, Italy
- Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique SA, Switzerland
- ABM Space Education & Mars Society Poland
- University College London, United Kingdom
- Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary
- Medical University Innsbruck, Austria
- Kiwispace Foudation, New Zealand
- Technical University of Vienna, Austria
- Association Planète Mars, France
- Medical University of Graz, Austria
- Italian Mars Society
- GLXP Space Technologies, Hungary
- Instituts für Prozess- und Partikeltechnik, Technical University of Graz
- NASA Ames Research Center, USA
- University of Innsbruck, Faculty for Biology / Institute for Ecology and Limnlogy
- University of Vienna, Faculty for Chemistry and Faculty of Physics
Industrial Partners & Sponsors (financial and technical contributions)
- T-Mobile Austria (4G/LTE network)
- Motorola Solutions (TETRA-network), Austria
- Dräger Safety Austria (infrared cameras)
- LANCOM (wireless long-range telemetry hardware), Germany
- Fair Rescue International (expedition gear), Austria
- BusinessCom (High Bandwidth Satellite service provider), UK
- TECHOS (hardware safety assessment), Germany
- Tripan Leichtbauteile (advanced honeycomb materials for structures), Austria
- Intarsico Moebelkonzepte (experimental OPS console), Austria
More details, fotos and experiments can be found online at: http://www.oewf.org/cms/mars-2013-presseinformationen.phtml