When two astronauts walk around a reddish and desolate terrain, dressed in their white suits and surrounded by dunes you can think that they finally made it to Mars. They are working on something, testing a geo-radar that has the purpose of mapping the Red Planet. The two are dragging a flat box across the auburn sand, leaving tracks behind. But sometimes, their geo-radar stops working. That is the moment when they both go back to their vehicles and look for guidance from the near base camp. However, they are not on Mars by any means, but in the Arabian Peninsula, in the remote Oman desert, on planet Earth.
This southern Oman desert, located near the borders of Saudi Arabia and Yemen looks so much like Mars that it’s impossible for the untrained eye to spot any differences. This is why over 200 experts from 25 countries chose it as their home for the next four weeks. Their job is to conduct a field-test technology for manned mission to the Red Planet. Their efforts are not at all in vain, as many important players like Elon Musk or former President Barack Obama have said that humans might walk on Mars in the next decades.
Simulating Mars’ environment in the Oman desert
But the United States and Russia are not the only active players when it comes to sending people on Mars. Recently, China has joined that game with its ambitious, yet vague, Mars program. Also, BlueOrigin, the famous aerospace corporation, has put forward some schematics for future Mars ships, bases and suits.
Experts are saying that with the recent Falcon heavy launch from SpaceX, the world might be one step closer to achieving its biggest dream. The possibilities might soon become endless, especially with such enormous progresses. As for the Oman desert, it does not only look like the Red Planet. It feels like it too, with its salt domes, structures and riverbeds.
Image source: flickr