UTAH: This February, the Outer Space Team performed the second simulated mission to Mars. Ghanem Al-Otaibi and Dr Rawan Al-Shammari were selected after a very competitive process to represent Kuwait in an international team simulating a mission on Mars. Otaibi is the crew astronomer while Shammari is the Health Safety officer. The crew consists of people with five other nationalities (India, Canada, Costa Rica, Australia and Germany)
The team is called Earth2Mars, and was selected by the Mars Society in the United States for a two-week mission. The crew will stay at habitat for two weeks with conditions very near to the conditions that astronauts might face in the Martian Surface. The habitat is called the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) near Hanksville, Utah, and is operated by the Mars Society in the US.
Earth2Mars crew are living in an isolated environment with no connections with world. They eat dried food and vegetables grown inside the station. If they need to go for an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), they need to get the approval from the mission support during a three-hour window daily. They will go for an EVA wearing astronaut suits with safety considered as if in Mars. The EVA should only be approved when a clear scientific goal was indicated to mission support.
Otaibi as a crew astronomer was responsible to operate the telescope and perform a photometry project on several variable stars target. Shammari is a medical doctor who is studying the isolation effect on an international crew.
This is the second mission for Otaibi, and he is considered the first analogue astronaut in Kuwait as he performed his first mission in Feb 2019. Shammari is the first female as analogue astronaut in Kuwait, and this is her first mission. This mission is not the only space activity for the outer space team. Otaibi is the founder of the team and he started space activities in Kuwait since 2008.