Israeli scientists walking near solar panels during a project simulating life on Mars, outside Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel, February 18, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Mars Mitzpe Ramon

Israeli “Ramonauts” completed their dirt mission at the Mars simulator in the Negev. 

By: United with Israel Staff

A group of Israel scientists on Sunday concluded the first phase of a mission simulating life on Mars, conduced at the Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station in southern Israel.

Six Israeli scientists, dubbed “Ramonauts,” spent four days in an enclosed Mars simulation habitat and tested all mission-related aspects such as the habitat design, the space suits, the communication infrastructure and the work flows with the Mission Support Center.

In addition, they conducted five scientific experiments, including a geobiological experiment, a cosmic radiation experiment, a communication/workflow test, a 3D printing material experiment and a psychological experiment.

Located in the Mitzpe Ramon area of Israel’s Negev Desert, D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) is a space analog research center in Israel where astronauts go on a scientific journey of exploration that simulates an actual mission on the surface of the planet Mars.

Space analogs are currently becoming well-developed sectors of space science disciplines, used to train future human explorers, test related hardware and make space more accessible to the general public.

The Negev-based station is unique in that it does not harm the desert micro-environment while allowing access to a wide range of participants, both local and international.

The terrain of the Makhtesh Ramon crater, where the facility is situated, holds many similarities to the actual Martian environment in terms of geology, aridity and isolation.

There are a handful of similar research centers around the world.

“Ramonaut” Nadav Kushnir, the team’s food specialist, described the “mission” as “exciting, fascinating, and challenging.”

“I am thankful for the opportunity to deepen my understanding about extending the boundaries of humans and the universe,” he said.