Six-member team of Israeli researchers completes mock Mars mission in Negev desert

The participants were investigating various fields relevant to a future Mars mission, including satellite communications, the psychological effects of isolation, radiation measurements and searching for life signs in the soil.

Six-member team of Israeli researchers completes mock Mars mission in Negev desert
Negev desert (Representational image)

New Delhi: After a six-member team from NASA completed an 8-month-long simulation activity of living on a Mars-like habitat in Hawaii in 2017, another six-member team of Israeli researchers on Sunday ended a four-day Mars habitat experiment in Israel’s Negev desert where they simulated living conditions on the Red Planet.

The experiment was held near the isolated Israeli township of Mitzpe Ramon, whose surroundings resemble the Martian environment in its geology, aridity, appearance, and desolation, Israel’s Science and Technology Ministry said.

With American space agency NASA's preparations for a Mars probe already underway and SpaceX chief Elon Musk being extremely vocal about his plans for his own mission, the Martian landscape awaits human domination.

While we wish it were that easy, it isn't really. There are numerous challenges that scientists face on a daily basis, but they know that giving up is not an option and numerous studies and experiments are underway to bring the Martian dream to fruition.

From landing sites to human housing on Mars, everything has been taken into account. However, one of the main concerns of the mission is human survival in the Martian atmosphere and in every aspect, experimentation is key.

The participants were investigating various fields relevant to a future Mars mission, including satellite communications, the psychological effects of isolation, radiation measurements and searching for life signs in the soil.

Participant Guy Ron, a nuclear physics professor from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the project was not only intended to look for new approaches in designing a future mission to the Red Planet but to increase public interest.

“D-Mars is half about the research, and the other half is about the outreach. A major part of this project is getting public interest and getting students interested in space,” he said.

The “D-Mars” project was being held in Israel for the first time in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency. It is one of a number of Mars simulation projects taking place worldwide.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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