In the desert of southern Israel, a team of six scientists have begun simulating what it might be like to live on Mars.
The red-hued Ramon Crater will be home for about a month to the five men and one woman participating in the mission.
Their AMADEE-20 habitat is tucked beneath a rocky step. Inside they sleep, eat and conduct experiments.
Outside they wear mock space suits fitted with cameras, microphones and self-contained breathing systems.
Dr. Gernot Gromer, the director of the Austrian Space Forum running the project, says the more mistakes they make during the simulation, the better.
GROMER: "We have the motto of fail fast, fail cheap and have a steep learning curve, because for every mistake we make here on Earth, we hopefully don't repeat it on Mars because we have done it before."
The Austrian association is collaborating with the Israel Space Agency and local group D-MARS.
The six team members are constantly on camera with their vital signs monitored, and their movements inside the habitat are tracked to analyze favorite spots for congregating.
Thirty-six-year-old Alon Tenzer is on the simulation team.
TEAM MEMBER ALON TENZER: "We are six people working in a tight space under a lot of pressure to do a lot of tests. There are bound to be challenges. But I trust my crew that we are able to overcome those challenges, we learn how to work together, we train together and we are very confident."
Outside, other engineers and specialists will work with a drone and rover to improve autonomous navigation and mapping on a world where GPS is not available.
All together they will carry out more than 20 experiments in fields including geology, biology and medicine and hope to publish some of the results when finished.