Inside the simulation that takes us closer to Mars

Think:Act Magazine "Own the future"
Inside the simulation that takes us closer to Mars

Portrait of Think:Act Magazine
Think:Act Magazine
华沙办公室, 中欧
2019年7月18日

A mock Martian base camp in Oman helps provide answers about sustaining life on the red planet

Photography

by Florian Voggeneder

Read more on the topic "Own the future"

It's the ultimate long-term project, but space exploration requires short-term planning too. How do you find out if you can live on another planet? Easy – recreate the conditions on Earth. In early 2018, a small crew of "analog" astronauts arrived at the place they would call home for the next four weeks: a simulated Martian base camp hidden in Oman’s inhospitable Dhofar desert. Organized by the Austrian Space Forum, the mission was to address one question: Do we already have the tools we need to sustain life on the red planet?

Imitation outer space

An analog astronaut stands in the Oman desert overlooking base camp, Kepler Station

An analog astronaut looks back to the hub of the simulated Mars mission, Kepler Station.

Laying the groundwork

Experiments in field spectrometry tested how resources might be evaluated 54.6 million kilometers from Earth.

Between fact and fiction

Gas flares from nearby crude oil processing plants illuminated Kepler Station's very earthly location, where team members' tasks included growing sprouts with experimental horticultural methods.

A self-contained world

Since spare parts will be in short supply on Mars, 3D printing is being looked at as a viable production option.

Far from home

Beyond logistical challenges, the mission also focused on how psychological obstacles, such as loneliness, can be overcome.

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Portrait of Think:Act Magazine
Think:Act Magazine
华沙办公室, 中欧
  • Photos Florian Voggeneder; Francesco Ciccolella; Kyle Dorosz; Jörn Kaspuhl; Jim Stoten/Bernstein/Andriulli ; Jeanne Detallante