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Landing Day: OeWF starts 12. Mars Analog Mission in Oman

An analog astronaut using a hammer during an experiment. Credits: OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

On February 8th 2018, The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), in co-operation with the Oman National Steering Committee began AMADEE-18, the OeWF’s 12th Mars simulation in the Dhofar desert in Oman.

Under Austrian leadership, the AMADEE-18 field-crew will conduct experiments in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology and life sciences to pave the way for future human Mars missions. At a press conference, held at the AMADEE-18 Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria the Austrian Space Forum offered media representatives an insight into the Mars simulation and its objectives.

“This mission unites people from 20 nations and 16 institutions from 6 countries. Our six analog astronauts originate from 5 different countries. Thus AMADEE-18 is definitely one of the best examples of successful international cooperation”, said AMADEE-18 Flight Director and OeWF-Board Member Reinhard Tlustos. He also stressed the importance of the OeWF’s partner organizations: “One of our major partners is definitely the Oman National Steering Committee. We could not have found a more reliable and professional support to our mission. Our Omani partners assisted in finding a suitable test-site, provided the base-station in the Dhofar desert as well as crew-transportation to the test site. We are indeed very grateful.” Tlustos also elaborated on the industrial partners of AMADEE-18: “An impressive diversity of high end companies provide us with their know-how and state of the art products proving crucial to the success of a mission of such magnitude.”

“Endeavours such as this Mars analog mission offer companies which are not part of spaceflight industry the unique chance to get in touch with this sector”, added Rüdiger Köster, CTO T-Mobile. “For T-Mobile it’s an outstanding opportunity to test our services in an extreme environment and use the gained insight to develop and improve our products for the benefit of our customers,” he continued.

Gernot Grömer (Austria). Field Commander & Backup analog astronaut;
Credits: OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

During the next three weeks, the mission-crew will conduct 16 experiments as well as test equipment and materials. Communication between the field crew in Oman, simulating Mars, and the Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria, simulating Earth, will be delayed by 10 minutes, mimicking the time lag between the two planets. For the duration of AMADEE-18 expedition, outlets at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz and the Vienna Planetarium will offer more insight into this Mars simulation as it evolves.

Following the simulation the Austrian Space Forum will conduct a conference in Mai 2018 to present preliminary results of the mission.

If you would like to find out more about AMADEE-18 and its industrial and science-partners, please visit:

#simulateMars #AMADEE-18


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