We could be closing in on that day when man will finally make its first landing on the planet Mars. But to get there will require intense preparation and… hi-tech gears of course! On an icy cave in Austria, a group of scientists are testing everything from space suits and rovers to 3D cameras and communications and radar devices. The team of scientists also tested sterilization gear to make sure that anything that found on Mars will be from the red planet itself. “If we were on Mars looking for traces of life it has to be done so cleanly we are sure that if we find something it is from there and not a stowaway from Earth,” Gernot Groemer, leader of the project, said.

According to the scientists, the Dachstein ice cave was chosen because ice caves would be a natural refuge for any microbe on Mars seeking steady temperatures and protection from damaging cosmic rays. Groemer added that it is likely that any life on Mars will be found in a similar environment. During the testing, an obstacle course was developed which included four snow-mountain passages, almost 40 meters of rock climbing and more than 60 meters of snow terrain. Learn more on the OWF site (German) or KarstWorld (English)

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