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Byurakan Observatory Prepares for Astronaut Arrivals and Mars Mission Simulations


Byurakan Observatory Prepares for Astronaut Arrivals and Mars Mission Simulations

The Director of the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory in Armenia, Areg Mickaelian, revealed plans for astronauts to visit the country this year and undergo preparations for future flights to Mars. Mickaelian shared this exciting news during a press conference on Monday, emphasizing the significance of these initiatives for scientific research and exploration.


As part of these preparations, a dedicated film documenting the astronauts' visit and the associated research will be produced. The Byurakan Observatory is set to play a pivotal role in these endeavors, showing Armenia's growing role in space exploration.


The Austrian Space Forum has scheduled a simulation named AMADEE-24 to take place in Armenia this March. This simulation will provide astronauts with a unique training ground to simulate conditions relevant to future Mars missions. Mickaelian expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration and the scientific advancements it promises.


Highlighting the financial aspects of sustaining scientific endeavors, Mickaelian noted that the income generated from visits to the Byurakan observatory in 2023 exceeded 27 million drams. However, he emphasized that supporting scientific research requires more than just salaries. Approximately 82% of the budget is allocated to salaries, leaving 18% for additional needs such as research trips and equipment acquisition.


While acknowledging recent salary increases for Armenia's scientists, Mickaelian highlighted the ongoing challenge faced by other scientific institution employees who receive around 120,000 drams per month.


The Byurakan observatory has become an international hub for scientific exchange, with 193 foreign guests visiting in the past year. Notably, this surpasses the visitation rates even during the Soviet period's best years. The observatory has also hosted 47 seminars in the past 6-7 years, with participation from Nobel laureates, reflecting its global significance.


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