Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck, Austria

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PubMed | 1 Austrian Space Forum
Type: Journal Article | Journal: 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.


PubMed | 1 Austrian Space Forum
Type: Evaluation Studies | Journal: Astrobiology | Year: 2014

On future human Mars missions, surface sojourn duration and resources will be limited. One possibility to approach a positive cost-benefit ratio of a human Mars mission will be to maximize the scientific research on the martian surface within the operational, environmental, and experimental limitations. Sophisticated mission operations and advanced planning strategies will be a basic requirement for Mars exploration and make operational methods an important research subject during current Mars analog missions conducted by the Austrian Space Forum. The Morocco Mars analog field simulation MARS2013, with a duration of 4 weeks and a simulated time delay of 10min for communication between field and mission support, was the most advanced Mars analog mission conducted by the Austrian Space Forum so far. Due to these constraints, planning strategies based on real-time adjustments and ground control were not applicable, leading to the development of the 3-days-in-advance planning strategy. Applying this methodology, 45.7% of the total EVA time was used for scientific experiments that satisfied 75.8% of the planned science goals. Taking into account all activities (donning of the suits included), the fraction of time used for scientific experiments made up only one-third of the total time, whereas it was planned to be above 50%. Here, we present details on the application of the 3-days-in-advance planning and on the results of the efficiency analysis of MARS2013.

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