Future life on Mars is simulated in the Israeli desert

Future life on Mars is simulated in the Israeli desert

The Austrian Space Forum has set up a mock Martian base with the Israeli space agency in Makhtesh Ramon, a crater 500 meters deep and 40 kilometers wide. The six so-called "analog astronauts" will live in isolation in the virtual station until the end of the month.

"It's a dream come true," Israeli Alon Tenzer, 36, told AFP. "It's something we've been working on for years." The participants - from Austria, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain - had to pass grueling physical and psychological tests. During their mission, they will also conduct tests on a prototype drone that works without GPS and on automated wind and solar mapping vehicles.

The mission will also aim to study human behavior and the effect of insulation on astronauts. “The cohesion of the group and their ability to work together are crucial to surviving on Mars,” said Gernot Groemer, supervisor of the Austrian mission. “It's like a wedding, except in a wedding you can leave, while on Mars you can't.”

The Austrian Space Forum, a private organization made up of aerospace specialists, has already organized 12 missions, the most recently in Oman in 2018. The Israeli project is part of the Amadee-20 mission, which was supposed to kick off last year but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The interior of the base is austere, with a small kitchen and bunk beds. Most of the space is reserved for scientific experiments.

“What we are doing here is preparing a great mission, the greatest journey our society has ever undertaken, as Mars and the Earth are at 380 million kilometers away at their extreme point ", said Groemer," I believe that the first human to walk on Mars is already born and we are the shipbuilders who will allow this journey ".