#Guest Speaker Series | AMADEE-20 Mars Analog Mission: A Mars Simulation in the Israeli Desert

November 22, 2022

During the visit to Hanoi on 11/11, Israeli Analog Astronaut and Machine Learning Engineer Alon Tenzer had an exchange session with students from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) at VinUniversity about his unique experience while participating in the AMADEE-20 Mars Simulation Mission. The talk was attended by Associate. Prof. Pham Ngoc Nam – Vice Dean of CECS, Prof. Wray Buntine – Program Director of Computer Science, CECS, and Ms. Maayan Ben Tura, Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Israel in Vietnam.

Mr. Alon Tenzer was selected as Israel’s representative to participate in Mission AMADEE-20 as an Analog Astronaut in its flight crew. AMADEE-20 is a mission hosted by the Israeli Space Agency to simulate a crewed mission on Mars. Mr. Tenzer and other crew members lived in an isolated habitat in the middle of the Negev Desert in southern Israel and performed a series of more than 25 scientific experiments to study the tools, equipment, procedures and test techniques aimed to detect life on Mars.

During the exchange, Mr. Tenzer also shared with the students about the challenges he and other flight-crew members faced during the mission. In addition to adhering rigorously to the mission’s flight-plan (a highly detailed & personalised schedule), there are also mental challenges resulting from having to live in an isolated environment for several weeks. Thanks to the team’s years-long preparation and cross-team collaboration and support, the crew was able to overcome those difficulties and bring back important data for the researchers, pushing us one step closer in the journey of bringing humans to the Red Planet.

Answering questions from the audience, Mr. Tenzer also sent out a message calling on the international community, including Vietnam, to collaborate and advance towards the goal through means of scientific research or otherwise.

In addition, in his talk, Mr. Tenzer also shared with the students about the research and development work that his team at AI Singapore is doing in the field of Natural Language Processing. That includes developing tools and capabilities for local languages in Southeast Asia, including Vietnamese.