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I was looking through CNN's clickbait photo compilation Instant vacation: The world's best travel photos of 2018 and came upon the following image and caption.

What is the Austrian Space Forum, and what is the extent of their investigations into Mars exploration?

Dhofar, Oman: In February, the desolate conditions of southern Oman's Dhofar desert were judged ideal for field-testing technology for a manned mission to Mars by members of the Austrian Space Forum.

Martians in Oman?

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The picture shows 2 analog astronauts wearing the Mars analog spacesuit Aouda in the Dhofar desert in Oman, conducating the ScanMars experiment during the AMADEE-18 Mars simulation.

The AMADEE-18 Mars simulation was organized by the Austrian Space Forum (oewf.org), a citizien science organization based in Austria. The association consits of space professionals and people with a passion for space in collaboration with both national and international research institutions, industry and politics.

Since 2006 the organization is researching in the area of Mars analogs and conducted 12 Mars analog simulation in various different countries.

In February 2018 the AMADEE-18 Mars analog simulation was held in the Dhofar desert in Oman, which was also covered in newspaper around the world. The simulation involved more than 200 people from 25 countries.

Summary of the AMADEE-18 Mars analog mission:

Timelapse of the spacesuit simulator donning:

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "analog"? $\endgroup$ – Nathan Tuggy Apr 29 '18 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @NathanTuggy It's a common term in this context en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mars_analogs $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 29 '18 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the great answer! I've added your explanation about Mars analogs to the text; I'd never heard that term before! I also embedded the AMADEE-18 link within the text in the standard Stack Exchange way, and this SE site also allows for embedded YouTube videos. I added one but you might know of a better one. You are welcome to modify further, or add more links or images, I think this is a really interesting project. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 29 '18 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh thanks for your comments & edits. I added an additional video (summary of the AMADEE-18) but also left the donning video, as it demonstrates that it is quite complicated to put on the spacesuit simulator (it takes btw. 2-3 hours). $\endgroup$ – olidax Apr 30 '18 at 8:55

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