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Indian and Australian space scientists and students are carrying out experiments to compare how well human astronauts and robotic vehicles can work together and perform tasks on Mars.
The experiments that started Friday are being carried out at Flinders Range in South Australia, a rugged environment that simulates the planet Mars.
Acting Australian High Commissioner to India, Bernard Philip, welcomed the innovative collaboration between the two countries.
“Australia and India are developing many collaborative linkages in the exciting field of civil space science,” said Phillip in a recent statement.
“The Mars Research Study: Man vs Machine vs Wild” project, will compare how well human astronauts and robotic vehicles can work together and perform tasks on Mars.
The project will also involve joint research into geology and astrobiology. The Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) is participating in the study, along with the University of New South Wales, Murdoch University and Macquarie University.
A group of high school teachers will also attend as part of NASA’s Spaceward Bound program to develop classroom teaching materials.
“Geoscience Australia has helped the Indian Space Research Organisation calibrate its satellites, and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is tracking India’s satellite Mangalyaan on its voyage to Mars,” Philip said.
“This project will further strengthen this collaboration, bringing together current and future space scientists”.
Australian space industry company Saber Astronautics is managing the project in partnership with Mars Society Australia and Mars Society India, and with funding from the Australia India Council.
The development of joint space science educational programs is one objective of the 2012 bilateral memorandum of understanding between India and Australia concerning cooperation in civil space science, technology and education.