Scientists Test Future Mars Mission Gadgets in Austrian Ice Cave

May 3, 2012 / Austria, Europe
Eisriesenhöhle the Giant Ice Caves, Dachstein, Austria

Photo by Andrew Bossi/Wikipedia

A giant ice cave in the Austria’s Dachstein mountain recently played host to scientists from the Austrian space forum (Oesterreichisches Weltraum Forum) testing technology for a future expedition to Mars.

Known as Eisriesenhöhle, the ice cave was chosen because similar caves on mars could act as a natural refuge for Martian microbes.

Scientists from 11 nations participated in the three-day long excursion, field testing spacesuits, three-dimensional cameras, radar, rover vehicles, communications and sterile testing systems.

If we were on Mars looking for traces of life, it has to be done so cleanly we are sure that if we find something it is from there and not a stowaway from Earth, Gernot Groemer, Project Leader

Another field test is planned in the northern Sahara desert next February, with an expedition to Mars expected to occur some 20 to 30 years from now.

Icy caves setting for Mars mission tests [stuff.co.nz]

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