Analog astronauts on the analogue of Mars

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Analog astronauts on the analogue of Mars

How to prepare for an alien expedition

On Mars, all kinds of dangers await man: radiation exposure, very low temperatures and a rarefied atmosphere, in which there are only traces of oxygen. If astronauts eventually visit the planet, any mistakes could be fatal.

To avoid at least obvious mistakes, scientists simulate the Martian situation on Earth.

For most of October, the six “analog astronauts,” a term for people who help simulate life on other planets, will live in a small base camp in Israel's Negev desert. Together with a team of scientists and engineers, they will also conduct about 20 different experiments.

The Negev is a rocky desert, due to its high iron content, the rock has a red tint. In this way, the area strongly resembles a Martian landscape. The only difference is that there is plenty to breathe in the Negev, and the temperature in October is between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius – compare with the average minus 60 on Mars.

There are six analogue astronauts, five men and one woman, representing Austria, Germany, Israel, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal. Their mission began on October 4 and will run until October 31.

The “Martian” expedition lives in a building with an area of 120 square meters. m, and experiments are also carried out in it. Power supply – solar panels. Astronauts sleep in bunk beds, they have a small kitchen. They can go outside the premises, but only in imitation spacesuits.

The project, called AMADEE-20, is a joint venture between the Austrian Space Forum, the Israel Space Agency and the local Israeli research center D-MARS. It was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Since no human has ever been to Mars, the study of analog astronauts will be, in particular, microorganisms that live on their bodies in large numbers. It is interesting to understand whether local desert microorganisms can penetrate the “station”: what if there are some bacteria on Mars too?

Various technologies will also be tested – self-driving reconnaissance drones, solar and wind powered vehicles, etc.

“Our motto is 'fail', we need to learn quickly,” explains Gernot Grömer, director of the Austrian Space Forum. “If we make mistakes here on Earth, we can figure out what's wrong and not repeat it on Mars.” …

Based on the materials of the article

Leonty Krivov

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