For a Mars expedition to succeed, we need as much data as possible.
[In October] the Austrian Space Forum – in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency as the host agency and D-MARS – will conduct an integrated Mars analog field mission in the Negev Desert in Israel – the AMADEE-20 Mars simulation. oewf.org
They’ll evaluate space suit design, deploy instruments and robotic vehicles, and simulate the time lags and Earth-to-Mars coordination that a real mission will encounter.
That last bit may be more difficult than you’d expect. Even with the International Space Station, friction arises between astronauts and earthbound controllers. I suspect that, on Mars, astronauts will demand more autonomy than ever, especially if they plan to stay for the rest of their lives.
Mars isn’t the organization’s only mission. They also launch cube-sats and have a mission underway to remove space junk from Earth orbit. “Scientific models estimate the total number of space debris objects in Earth orbit to be more than 170 million for sizes larger than 1 mm, having impact energies comparable to a gun bullet.” ADLER-1 That’s a lot of junk.
Mars simulations are proliferating here on Earth, but the only way for you to go to Mars today is via science fiction. Check out my Mars series, the first colony, for stories that nail it for realism.