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Erfoud, Morocco (SPX) Apr 03, 2013
Last month in the northern Sahara desert in Morocco, an international group of scientists conducted a series of experiments in preparation for future human missions to Mars.
With 100 members from 23 nations, the project, led by Austrian Space Forum - in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center in Marrakesh - focused mainly on the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology, life sciences and other disciplines.
The field crew in Erfoud, Morocco, was directed by Mission Support Center in Austria, while the critical broadband satellite link was provided by global service provider, BusinessCom Networks, in association with teleport partner Constellation Networks Corp., and Oasis Networks providing field support.
Internet connection was critical to the project, since some of the experiments had to be carried out remotely from Austria, Poland and Hungary.
Gernot Groemer, programme officer for the PolAres research programme sums up the cooperation: "The business service provided by BusinessCom was really great - international and interdisciplinary research working environments sometimes need off-business-hours support and a lot of flexibility on the provider side - BusinessCom delivered both."
Thomas Turetschek, responsible for communications in the field crew, adds: "The internet connection delivered good performance and the installation was as easy as installing satellite TV. Moreover, the conditions in the area were quite demanding, yet the onsite service people were really engaged - also outside business hours."
The goal of the mission was to develop strategies for human-robotic interaction procedures and to emphasize planetary protection, in preparation for a future human-robotic Mars surface expedition. The project involved testing scientific instruments, concepts for human-robotic partnerships and engineering and operations trials.
The area around Erfoud consists of many geological features similar to those found on Mars, as well as a diversity of paleo(micro)biological signatures, terrain topographies similar to the Martian deserts and a test site area size which required a diligent exploration mission design. BusinessCom is pleased to participate in the success of this simulation that brings us one step closer to the first manned mission to Mars.
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
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