Marmul: Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you they’re impossible to achieve.
That’s the advice astronauts and scientists on Oman’s Mars simulation mission, currently being conducted in deserts on the outskirts of the Omani town of Marmul in the Dhofar Governorate, want to give to students.
Drawing on their own experiences, researchers from the Austrian Space Forum (Österreichisches Weltraum Forum or OeWF) advised the next generation of students in Oman to follow their passion. The mission, AMADEE 18, is aimed at putting man on Mars.
“I think the most important thing is to imagine what your work and life should look like in a typical week in 10 to 20 years from now, and then do everything you can to model yourself into that very person,” Dr Gernot Gromer, Field Commander for AMADEE 18, said. “Stay focused. Don’t get distracted. Believe in yourself. Don’t let people tell you that you cannot make it and we will see you on Mars,” he said.
Also a part of the mission is Dr Stefan Dobrovolny, one of the four researchers who will be testing a prototype of the Aouda spacesuit, which man will wear as he sets foot on the Red Planet.
“The advice that I want to give to the next generation is, just go for your goals. Don’t let anybody hold you back. Just try to reach for whatever it is you want to reach for. Go to the internet, educate yourself, meet people who inspire you, take this inspiration and drive. Do whatever you feel like and reach for the stars. Go for it, don’t let anyone break you down,” Dobrovolny said.
His colleague Dr Carmen Kohler added: “I think it is very important to follow your dreams and live your passion. Always stay curious about where you live and what is surrounding you. Travel, look at the world, look at how things work, and always follow your dreams.”
Joining them in Marmul is fellow analogue astronaut Kartik Kumar. “I think the sky is truly the limit. There is nothing stopping you from going after your goals. If you live in a country with a more established space agency and space programme, it is often easier, because there are programmes that you can sign up for as a child, as a teenager, or as a young adult. But even beyond that, because of the wealth of online resources, if you have connectivity and internet access, it doesn’t matter in this day and age where you are in the world,” Kumar said.
“It is just about putting your mind to it and following your passion. It can even be something such as science and engineering, but there are many other interesting areas that go beyond that and are important factors in how we are able to explore the cosmos further. So, I would really say, follow your heart and don’t let anyone tell you that it is not possible,” he added.
Gerald Steinbauer from the Technical University of Graz and his student Michael Stradner designed the Husky autonomous rover, to map the Martian surface.
“Missions such as AMADEE-18 are perfect opportunities for students,” Steinbauer told the Times of Oman.
“For example, my student came here with me and he got fired up when he first heard about the mission. He spent over a year with a lot of energy and passion in order to prepare the rover and come here. In robotics, it is easy because you always have the possibility to build something, and that is very motivating for students,” he added.