In preparation for future manned missions to Mars, the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) is simulating a Mars expedition on Earth for the 13th time. The test site for the current AMADEE-20 mission is located in the Negev Desert in Israel. Network components from the German infrastructure supplier LANCOM Systems are to ensure communication without a hitch and stable data transmission in the field. Today marks the beginning of the second half of the three-week isolation phase for the six astronauts.
It is still written in the stars when the first manned Mars mission will become a reality. Preparations for the journey to the Red Planet are in full swing, however. As part of the AMADEE research program, the Austrian Space Forum simulates a Mars expedition every two to three years under conditions that are as realistic as possible. Since 2012, LANCOM Systems has been supporting the research team with extremely sturdy radio and network technology made in Germany.
LANCOM hardware is also providing the foundations for the mission-critical communications infrastructure in the field during the current expedition in the Machtesch Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert in southern Israel: Powerful routers and climate-stable outdoor access points mounted on photo tripods use radio links to generate a Wi-Fi network that covers the entire area. Both communication between the astronauts and data transmission to the "base station" take place via the wireless network.
Spacesuit transmits vital data
Sensors in the analog spacesuits continuously monitor vital data such as CO2 and oxygen levels, body temperature and heart rate. WLAN antennas integrated onto the back of the spacesuits transmit the vital data as well as live videos recorded by the helmet camera via the wireless network. Data from the 25 planned scientific experiments is also transmitted via the Wi-Fi network.
Until 31 October, the astronaut team – one woman and five men from Austria, Germany, Israel, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands – will be conducting research for future manned space missions to Mars in complete isolation from the outside world. In sum total, more than 200 researchers from 25 countries are involved in the international mission under the auspices of the Austrian Space Forum.