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Innsbruck, Austria

Orgel C.,Eotvos Lorand University | Kereszturi A.,Konkoly Astronomical Institute | Vaczi T.,Eotvos Lorand University | Groemer G.,Austrian Space Forum | And 2 more authors.
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2014

Between 15 and 25 April 2011 in the framework of the PolAres programme of the Austrian Space Forum, a five-day field test of the Aouda.X spacesuit simulator was conducted at the Rio Tinto Mars-analogue site in southern Spain. The field crew was supported by a full-scale Mission Control Center (MCC) in Innsbruck, Austria. The field telemetry data were relayed to the MCC, enabling a Remote Science Support (RSS) team to study field data in near-real-time and adjust the flight planning in a flexible manner. We report on the experiences in the field of robotics, geophysics (Ground Penetrating Radar) and geology as well as life sciences in a simulated spaceflight operational environment. Extravehicular Activity (EVA) maps had been prepared using Google Earth and aerial images. The Rio Tinto mining area offers an excellent location for Mars analogue simulations. It is recognised as a terrestrial Mars analogue site because of the presence of jarosite and related sulphates, which have been identified by the NASA Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity" in the El Capitan region of Meridiani Planum on Mars. The acidic, high ferric-sulphate content water of Rio Tinto is also considered as a possible analogue in astrobiology regarding the analysis of ferric sulphate related biochemical pathways and produced biomarkers. During our Mars simulation, 18 different types of soil and rock samples were collected by the spacesuit tester. The Raman results confirm the presence of minerals expected, such as jarosite, different Fe oxides and oxi-hydroxides, pyrite and complex Mg and Ca sulphates. Eight science experiments were conducted in the field. In this contribution first we list the important findings during the management and realisation of tests, and also a first summary of the scientific results. Based on these experiences suggestions for future analogue work are also summarised. We finish with recommendations for future field missions, including the preparation of the experiments, communication and data transfer - as an aid to the planning of future simulations. © 2013 IAA. Source

Groemer G.E.,Austrian Space Forum | Storrie-Lombardi M.,Kinohi Institute | Sattler B.,University of Innsbruck
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2011

As part of the "PolAres" research programme, we are investigating techniques to detect and reduce forward contamination of the Mars regolith during human exploration. We report here on the development of a spacesuit simulator-prototype dubbed "Aouda.X," document the inability of current technology to produce a static charge sufficient to minimize dust transport on the suit, and present preliminary results employing laser induced fluorescence emission (L.I.F.E.) techniques to monitor fluorescent microspherules as biological contamination proxies. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Soucek A.,Austrian Space Forum | Soucek A.,European Space Agency | Ostkamp L.,University of Osnabruck | Paternesi R.,Austrian Space Forum
Astrobiology | Year: 2015

Space suit simulators are used for extravehicular activities (EVAs) during Mars analog missions. Flight planning and EVA productivity require accurate time estimates of activities to be performed with such simulators, such as experiment execution or traverse walking. We present a benchmarking methodology for the Aouda.X space suit simulator of the Austrian Space Forum. By measuring and comparing the times needed to perform a set of 10 test activities with and without Aouda.X, an average time delay was derived in the form of a multiplicative factor. This statistical value (a second-over-second time ratio) is 1.30 and shows that operations in Aouda.X take on average a third longer than the same operations without the suit. We also show that activities predominantly requiring fine motor skills are associated with larger time delays (between 1.17 and 1.59) than those requiring short-distance locomotion or short-term muscle strain (between 1.10 and 1.16). The results of the DELTA experiment performed during the MARS2013 field mission increase analog mission planning reliability and thus EVA efficiency and productivity when using Aouda.X. Key Words: Extravehicular activity (EVA) - Space suit mobility - Flight planning - Aouda.X - Suited versus unsuited performance - Productivity - Resource optimization - Analog missions - Human factors - Time delay. Astrobiology 15, 283-290. © Copyright 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015. Source

Groemer G.,Austrian Space Forum | Gruber V.,Austrian Space Forum | Bishop S.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Peham D.,University of Innsbruck | And 2 more authors.
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2010

AustroMars was the simulation of a crewed expedition on the surface of planet Mars, taking place in April 2006 at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. Six carefully selected "analogue astronauts" (out of 184 candidates) performed 20 experiments in the fields of robotics, analogue planetary and life sciences as well as human exploration. During the 2-week mission, the MDRS served as base for their research activities and exploratory excursions. Modelled after selection and training principles of astronauts and pilots, although in a nutshell, the crew underwent a training including education in science and engineering skills as well as physical and mental training. A dense flight plan, physically challenging experiments (including extravehicular activities) and a complimentary set of human factors research experiments offered a unique opportunity to study the impact of a high workload on crew vigilance. The data presented here focus on the validated pupillographic sleepiness test, salivary assay data (such as DHEA, Cortisol, P17-OH, Fasting Insulin and MB2S), a complimentary set of reaction and cognitive function tests as well as a novel technique using eye movements as indicator for vigilance, the Fatigue Monitoring System FAMOS. The data of the 6-person simulated flight crew were complemented by pre/post-flight measurements as well as by 3 test subjects (back-up crew). © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

News Article | January 15, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/science.xml

Audi is venturing into a mission to the moon, working alongside Google Lunar XPRIZE participant Part-Time Scientists to develop a moon rover. Called the Audi lunar quattro, the moon rover is made of high-strength aluminum and weighs 77.2 pounds. It will be shaving off some of that weight, however, as it continues development and integrates the use of magnesium. Some of its features include a swiveling solar panel and four wheels that can rotate 360 degrees, as well as two stereo cameras capable of 3D imagery. A third camera will be in place for studying materials and producing high-resolution panoramic photos. The Audi lunar quattro is rated with a theoretical maximum speed of 2.2 mph, which doesn't sound at all impressive but when you're up on the moon, safe navigating abilities and off-road qualities will be of better use to you than speed. A team of 10 Audi employees from across different technical departments have been assigned to assist the Part-Time Scientists, sharing their expertise on the electrical e-tron drive system and the quattro permanent all-wheel system. Their goal is to further enhance the rover's performance by improving its battery, power electronics and electric motors. Additionally, Audi will be providing assistance for tests and quality assurance. According to Google Lunar XPRIZE requirements, the rover must be able to drive at least half a kilometer across the moon and beam back high-resolution video footage and images to Earth. It must also be launched in space by 2017 on a rocket traveling 236,121 miles to the moon and land in a target zone north of the equator of the moon, close to where the Apollo 17 landed in 1972. The trip to the moon is estimated to take about five days and cost some $26.2 million. So far, the Part-Time Scientists are doing well in the competition, winning two Milestone Prizes, each worth $750,000. They were given the award for developing the rover and its accompanying optical system. Founded by Robert Bohme, Part-Time Scientists is made up of more than 70 members across Austria and Germany. They are one of 16 groups (down from 34) remaining in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Aside from Audi, the German Aerospace Center, the Austrian Space Forum, the Technical University of Berlin, NVIDIA and former NASA employee Jack Crenshaw also support the Part-Time Scientists.

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