Mock Mars Mission Explores Austrian Ice Caves (Pictures)

Team of WISDOM Radar

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. The team of WISDOM radar inside the giant ice cave makes measurements on the ice.

Daniel Schildhammer Taking Samples

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. Suit tester Daniel Schildhammer takes samples at the Dachstein giant ice cave.

Schildhammer at the King Arthur Dome

© OEWF/Andreas Köhler

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. Suit tester Daniel Schildhammer works in the King Arthur dome in the Dachstein giant ice cave.

Magma White Rover with Team

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. The Magma White rover stands with the Polish ABM Space Education team.

Aouda.X Spacesuit Simulator Arrival

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. On April 26, 2012, the first OeWF team arrives at the cable car station "Schönbergalm." Sebastian Sams moves the Hard-Upper Torso element of the Aouda.X spacesuit simulator out of the gondola.

Touring the Cave

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. After setting up the control stations, a first cave tour was arranged to choose the best locations for the upcoming tests.

Gondola Ride to the Command Center

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. On April 27, 2012, the team makes the gondola ride to the "Schönbergalm" cable car station, where they have established the local command center in a separate room of the restaurant.

Frischauf Coordinates with Schachner

© OEWF/Andreas Köhler

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. Flight Director Norbert Frischauf coordinates the last details of the rover parade with Tom Schachner of the Part-Time Scientists team.

Working Inside a Spacesuit

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. In the King Arthur Dome, suit tester Daniel Schildhammer demonstrated the usage of instruments and rock sampling techniques despite the limitations of a spacesuit.

Schildhammer Removes Spacesuit

© OEWF/Katja Zanella-Kux

The Aouda.X spacesuit tests were part of a 5-day Mars mission analog field test performed at Mammoth Cave in the Giant Ice Caves of Dachstein, Austria, by the Austrian Space Forum and international research partners in April-May 2012. After an exhausting day as suit tester, Daniel Schildhammer is relieved to take off the weight of the suit.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.