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This is our generations’ journey – Dr. Gernot Groemer

Monday, January 24, 2022

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Article by Dr. Gernot Groemer,
Director of the Austrian Space Forum

We are on the verge of embarking on the grandest journey ever undertaken – a human mission to Mars, sometimes more than 380 Million kilometers away from Earth.

To do so, we need to practice. We need to understand the environment of the Red Planet, develop the machinery to allow for a safe landing, and come up with strategies for how to do science on Mars safely and effectively. This is exactly what analog research does: We put carefully selected researchers into remote Mars-like places for extended periods and let them work and live through the experience of being a future Martian.

One of these missions, probably one of the most complex and largest ones, is AMADEE-20, a 25.-nation endeavor, uniting more than 200 researchers, medical doctors, engineers, flight controllers, and many more. They do a one-month mission in the Israeli Negev desert – the 13th expedition of its kind led by the Austrian Space Forum.

We deployed a habitat station in the desert, provided by the Israeli Space Agency and implemented by D-Mars, our fellow explorers from Israel. At the time of this writing, the mission is still ongoing. More than 20 carefully selected scientific experiments in the fields of geoscience, human factors, and robotics will be carried out. It is such a privilege to work with so many bright minds who are united under the banner of space exploration.


This is no role-play. This is the real thing.


We work late nights, have a newly established Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria, who are monitoring the field activities, devise flight plans and let the world know about the mission.

This is the age of exploration. We are the generation of shipbuilders, enabling the grandest journey of our society yet to come. What an exciting time to be on board, and I wish many more people could experience what it means to look behind the next horizon. Just as Carl Sagan once said – somewhere out there, incredible things are waiting to be discovered.

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