Remote Science Support during MARS2013: Testing a Map-Based System of Data Processing and Utilization for Future Long-Duration Planetary Missions

Anna Losiak, Izabela Gołȩbiowska, Csilla Orgel, Linda Moser, Jane MacArthur, Andrea Boyd, Sebastian Hettrich, Natalie Jones, Gernot Groemer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    MARS2013 was an integrated Mars analog field simulation in eastern Morocco performed by the Austrian Space Forum between February 1 and 28, 2013. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the system of data processing and utilization adopted by the Remote Science Support (RSS) team during this mission. The RSS team procedures were designed to optimize operational efficiency of the Flightplan, field crew, and RSS teams during a long-term analog mission with an introduced 10 min time delay in communication between “Mars” and Earth. The RSS workflow was centered on a single-file, easy-to-use, spatially referenced database that included all the basic information about the conditions at the site of study, as well as all previous and planned activities. This database was prepared in Google Earth software.

    The lessons learned from MARS2013 RSS team operations are as follows: (1) using a spatially referenced database is an efficient way of data processing and data utilization in a long-term analog mission with a large amount of data to be handled, (2) mission planning based on iterations can be efficiently supported by preparing suitability maps, (3) the process of designing cartographical products should start early in the planning stages of a mission and involve representatives of all teams, (4) all team members should be trained in usage of cartographical products, (5) technical problems (e.g., usage of a geological map while wearing a space suit) should be taken into account when planning a work flow for geological exploration, (6) a system that helps the astronauts to efficiently orient themselves in the field should be designed as part of future analog studies. Key Words: Planetary surface operations—Planetary mapping—Remote science support—Analog testing—Long-duration planetary missions—Mars exploration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)417–430
    Number of pages14
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2014


    • Analog testing
    • Long-duration planetary missions
    • Mars exploration
    • Planetary mapping
    • Planetary surface operations
    • Remote science support


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