Middleeast

How Oman's Dhofar region doubled for the Red Planet

Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT) February 28, 2018
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An AMADEE-18 analog astronaut heads out to conduct experiments in Oman's Dhofar region. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
AMADEE-18 is run by the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) and aims to trial technologies that could be used on a future Mars mission. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Organizers say the Dhofar region was chosen to host AMADEE-18 because of its remoteness as well as its striking visual similarity to Mars. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The AMADEE-18 field crew is composed of 15 OeWF members, but a further 150 specialists from universities and research institutions around the world have contributed to the project.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Radio communication between the astronauts and mission control in Austria has been delayed to mimic the the 10 minutes it would take for a signal to travel between Mars and Earth. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the AMADEE-18 Mars simulation mission conduct scientific experiments during an analog field simulation in Oman's Dhofar region. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
OeWF field commander, Gernot Groemer, said AMADEE-18 is about road-testing technologies and becoming familiar with the workflows the first human visitors to Mars will experience.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A soil assessment rover -- an autonomous robot that maps terrain -- and geophone devices which search for underground water sources are among the devices to be tested.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The mental and physical stresses on crew members have also been closely monitored. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
An increasing number of national space agencies and private sector companies are now part of the race to Mars. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
An analog astronaut on a buggy stops outside inflatable residences for members of the AMADEE-18 mission in Oman's Dhofar region. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images