Between February 1 and 28, 2018, the Austrian Space Forum, in cooperation with the Oman Astronomical Society and research teams from 25 nations, conducted the AMADEE-18 mission, a human–robotic Mars expedition simulation in the Dhofar region in the Sultanate of Oman. As a part of the AMADEE-18 simulated Mars human exploration mission, the Remote Science Support team performed analyses of the Dhofar area (Oman) in an effort to characterize the region as a potential Mars analog site. The main motivation of this research was to study and register selected samples collected by analog astronauts during the AMADEE-18 mission with laboratory analytical methods and techniques comparable with those that are likely to be used on Mars in the future. The 25 samples representing unconsolidated sediments obtained during the simulated mission were studied by using optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. The principal results show the existence of minerals and alteration processes related to volcanism, hydrothermalism, and weathering. The analogy between the Dhofar region and the Eridana Basin region of Mars is clearly noticeable, particularly as an analog for secondary minerals formed in a hydrothermal seafloor volcanic-sedimentary environment. The synergy between the techniques used in the present work provides a solid basis for the geochemical analyses and organic detection in the context of future human–robotic Mars expeditions. AMADEE-18 has been a prime test bed for geoscientific workflows with astrobiological relevance and has provided valuable insights for future space missions.
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