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Oman desert used for Mars mission spacesuit tests

Members of the AMADEE-18 Mars simulation mission wear spacesuits while conducting scientific experiments during an analog field simulation in Oman’s Dhofar desert on February 7, 2018, in a collaboration between the Austrian Space Forum and the Oman National Steering Comittee preparing for future human Mars missions. (AFP)
DUBAI: Oman’s desert town of Marmul will be used to test the first spacesuit to be used on a manned mission to Mars, Omani daily the Times of Oman reported.

The Austrian Space Forum is testing a prototype spacesuit to be worn by astronauts on missions to Mars.

Named “Aouda,” the suit has been in developmental stages since 2011 and contains advanced technological and scientific tools that monitor the stress, fatigue and tension levels of the wearer.

“The chest piece of the suit is made from the same material that is used to make Kevlar armor,” one of the simulation astronauts, Stefan Dobrovolny, told the Times of Oman,

“When we began to look at ways to design the suit, we actually went to museums in Austria to look at medieval armor to see how well they protected people, because that was the inspiration for our suit,” he added.

Other features include a long-range communication system that allows transmission between astronauts and Earth, as well as a five-hour battery and life-support system.

“The batteries of the suit have been designed to last for some five or six hours, but in case one is low on battery, we have a cable that can be used to connect one suit to the other so that charge from one battery can be transferred to the other,” Suit operation crew member Michael Muller told the Times of Oman.

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