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Dhofar, Oman I © Juozas Salna / Flickr
Dhofar, Oman I © Juozas Salna / Flickr

Oman, an Astronaut's Home Away From Mars

Picture of Gehad Medhat
Updated: 16 February 2018

If you thought the idea of life on Mars was a million miles away, think again. Global space scientists have spotted a piece of land that resembles the red planet in the southern desert of Oman. Here’s everything you need to know.

The Marmul Desert in the Dhofar Governorate is a brown flat expanse, where temperatures reach 51℃ (125℉), which makes it very hard, if not impossible, for animals and plants to survive. The surface of the desert is distinguished by salt domes, riverbeds, wadis, various types of geomorphology and structures that are similar to those on the surface of Mars.

Because of this unique resemblance, 200 space scientists from more than 25 countries are launching the AMADEE – 18, the most courageous experiment that simulates a manned mission to Mars. The satellite simulation project will include 19 different experiments to field-test technology for four weeks.

These experiments will include testing the ability of spacecrafts and robots to move and collect samples on the desert’s surface, and testing a new spacesuit called Aouda. The astronauts in the simulation experiment will stay in a complete isolation for the whole month and will report to the center in Austria.

AMDADEE – 18 will emphasize the participation of Oman in scientific exploration and will put Oman on the map of space research. In addition, it is hoped that Oman’s safety and political security will encourage more cooperation and further experiments in the country.

Enjoy your exploration of this amazing country of Oman, and take lots of pictures. Who knows? You might just be discovering a unique place from an outside world.