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Int’l Team of Astronauts Prepare for Mars Landing – in Israel’s Negev Desert

Six “analog astronauts” are living for a month in isolation on a simulated Martian base in Makhtesh Ramon, a 25-mile-wide crater in southern Israel, where they are conducting dozens of experiments and tests and gaining valuable experience in preparation for a future mission to Mars. NASA says a manned mission to the red planet could happen in the 2030s. Among the equipment being tested at the Israeli faux Mars base: A drone that functions without GPS, and wind- and solar-powered vehicles. The astronauts are also developing and testing a methodology to search for life on Mars. The Austrian Space Forum, a private organization of aerospace specialists, operates the project, called AMADEE-20, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency and D-MARS habitat.