Israeli Scientists Complete Mars Habitat Mission In Negev Desert

Federico Mansilla
Febrero 19, 2018

What are the objectives of this D-Mars experiment?

A group of six Israeli researchers on Sunday finished one such experiment, which required them to spend four days in Israel's Negev desert under conditions similar to that of the Red Planet.

The mission was conducted in a D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) facility near the isolated Mitzpe Ramon, where the surroundings resemble the environment in Mars in terms of appearance, geology, aridity, and desolation. They ate food from capsules, lived in confined quarters, and had to wear spacesuit whenever they left the pod.

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The participants were investigating various fields relevant to a future Mars mission, including satellite communications, the psychological affects of isolation, radiation measurements and searching for life signs in soil. Guy Ron, a nuclear physics professor who took part in D-Mars, told Reuters the experiment also aimed to raise public interest in space travel.

According to the D-MARS website, the main goal of the project was "to promote space-related science and technology in Israel through the creation of analog infrastructure for academic research and technological development". "A major part of this project is getting public interest and getting students interested in space".

Organizers of the D-Mars project hope that the mission in the Negev desert would place Israel in the forefronts of human space exploration. This was the fifth mock Mars mission of the NASA-funded Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program. The project is one of numerous Mars simulation projects now taking place worldwide. The researchers began their eight-month stay inside a dome habitat on top of the Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, last week.

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