The Austrian Space Forum has embarked on a month-long experiment that will simulate the conditions of a colony on Mars. The AMADEE-20 Mars simulation is being carried out in Ramon Crater, a massive erosion cirque in Israel. The program was originally planned for 2020 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This leg of the experiment is part of a larger research program that started in 2018 and will run until 2028, with the goal of developing hardware and workflows for future human-robotic surface missions to the Red Planet.
AMADEE is based on the PolAres program, which included 11 major international Mars analog field campaigns. Collectively, these missions helped to create the Aouda spacesuit simulator, a rover program and more.
AMADEE-20 Mars is the program’s isolation phase, where a six-member field crew – five men and one woman – will live in isolation for the next month inside a 1,300-square-foot structure shaped like two yurts. During this time, they will conduct roughly 20 science experiments in the field.
The only point of outside human contact for the crew will be through the Mission Support Center, which will implement a communications delay of 10 minutes to simulate how long it takes for signals to travel from Earth to Mars. That said, crew members will have their vital signs constantly monitored and are under continual video surveillance in order to better understand the human element of the mission.
Daily progress reports will be posted over on the Austrian Space Forum’s website.