In February 2018, I spent a couple of exciting days in Oman. There, I was allowed to participate in the Mars Simulation Amadee-18 mission. For a couple weeks, approximately twenty men and women from different countries lived as if they hadn’t landed in the Oman desert, but instead on the Red Planet. This wasn’t about fun and adventure (although the participants had quite a bit of that too), but instead about identifying problems and weak points in a real Mars expedition before one is actually attempted.
How do teams work best together? What is the optimum method for feeding and supporting yourself? How long does the equipment last and what number of spare parts should you take with you? What activities can the Mars explorers perform, and which ones must they perform? What medical needs do they have? Analog missions such as this are meant to test such things. The Austrian Space Forum conducts them every two to three years. Now you can apply for the next mission, tentatively planned for 2020.
The requirements are listed below:
- Age 25 to 45 (sadly I don’t make the cut!)
- Height 1.65 to 1.90 meters (5’ 5” to 6’ 3”)
- Minimum weight 55 kg (120 lbs)
- Good physical and mental fitness
- English language skills (fluent)
- Experience in a technological, scientific, or engineering field or pilot training
- Participation in basic training (five extended weekends in Innsbruck) and in the missions
- EU citizen (including Switzerland)