Mission Plan – April 25th

Crew 265 – Mars Society

Crew Commander/Cartographer: Marc Levesque (United States)

Executive Officer/Crew Engineer: David Laude (United States)

Crew Engineer/Health and Safety Officer: Sergii Iakymov (Ukraine)

Crew Journalist: Sarah Treadwell (United States)

Mapping Technician: Benino Blanco (Mexico)

Mapping Technician: Isai Licea (United States)

MDRS Crew 265 is a diverse group of individuals selected from individual applications. Two members (Levesque and Laude) have been part of previous missions at MDRS, while all others will be at MDRS for the first time. The mission’s primary objectives will be to improve operations and media awareness of MDRS. Projects will include testing a new radio communications system, updating the EVA planning map, tracking energy consumption, testing station device batteries, and increasing social media presence. The crew’s daily priority will be to maintain all MDRS facilities, vehicles, and equipment in a safe and operable condition.

Below is a detailed summary of planned projects during the mission.

Radio Communications Project

Marc Levesque

The Mars Desert Research Station is situated in a secluded area surrounded by low hills. Radio communications between the Hab and EVA teams use small handheld radios on a UHF frequency of the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) band. These handheld radios are limited to five watts of power and rely upon line-of-sight communications. Previous MDRS crews have noted communications issues between the Hab and EVA teams, however. Of significance is the loss of communications between the Hab and EVA teams when the latter have traveled into areas beyond hills that block transmissions and reception, a common issue with UHF frequencies and line-of-sight communications in such terrain.

This problem has been noted by Station Support personnel and other crews. In 2016 Bernard Dubb offered solutions to improve communications at MDRS using a more powerful radio system retaining the handheld GRMS radios but adding a more powerful base station radio inside the Hab with an outside antenna. An alternative solution was the installation of a small repeater system away from the Hab.

During MDRS 216, the crew identified a location through geospatial analysis for the installation of a small radio repeater to potentially extend the range of communications between the Hab and EVA teams. This location on North Ridge was reached on foot during an EVA to determine the feasibility for the installation of a temporary repeater at that site, as well as for any maintenance required during its period of operation.

During MDRS 265, a small repeater will be installed on the North Ridge. It will operate in cross-band mode that allows a UHF signal to be re-transmitted to a VHF signal and vice versa. This will permit the Hab to transmit line-of-sight to the repeater on the currently-used GMRS UHF channel. EVA teams will then use dual-band VHF/UHF handheld radios programmed to transmit to the repeater using a VHF frequency licensed to Western New Mexico University. Because these project radios will transmit on a VHF frequency to a repeater located on a high point, it is expected that EVA teams will be able to travel much farther while still remaining in radio communication with the Hab.

The project radios will include the currently-used GRMS UHF channel, providing the ability to talk directly with the Hab, rather than through the repeater if necessary. These radios will also use longer antennas than the current MDRS radios and can transmit up to five watts.

During MDRS 265, EVA teams will travel to sites normally visited by EVA teams and beyond. Teams will carry an existing MDRS radio and a project radio to test the signal strength and voice clarity of each with a Hab communications operator. These indices and location coordinates will be noted on a project map to capture the difference in communication between the two radios. The intent is to determine the value of a new communications system using a VHF frequency for enhancing crew safety during EVAs.

EVA Planning Map

Marc Levesque, Benino Blanco, and Isai Licea

Prior to entering sim, the crew cartographer and mapping technicians will meet with the Station Director to review and assess needed changes to the current EVA Planning Map. During sim, the mapping cadre and other crew members will then conduct several EVAs to collect or ground truth via GPS various features, points of interest, road conditions, and other desired changes to provide the needed edits and additions. This work will build upon the GIS files developed by Henrik Hargitai and others from 2006 to 2016 to create the current EVA map. To leverage time in the field, the mapping project EVAs will run concurrently with the radio communications EVAs that will capture radio signal strength and clarity. After a review of the collected data by the Station Director, a map will be generated post-mission and submitted for approval and final printing.

Smart Home Technologies for an Analog Mars Habitat

Sergii Iakymov

Space exploration is hard on systems, and all manned spacecraft are automated. Automated technologies do most of the routine procedures on their own and only notify crew and ground control if something is wrong. No doubt future habitats on Mars will be very smart to free up time for the crew to do research. Analog astronauts at MDRS also require extra time for research. That time can be gained by implementing Smart Home technologies that will take over some routine procedures.

The project goal is to implement Smart Home technologies during an analog simulation at MDRS. We will study how automated technologies can improve daily life at the station, how much time it will free for the crew, and how it will help ground control to collect data from the station.

For this engineering research, currently available Smart Home devices will be used. Main points of this approach include:

1) Analog simulation at MDRS is relatively short, up to two weeks. Therefore, simplified setup procedures are necessary.

2) The approach will not interfere with station construction.

3) In case of a malfunction, any device will be easily replaced from inventory.

4) There is no need to design new devices.

5) Minimizing system development time by using existing free tutorials.

6) Research will show how this system will improve analog simulation.

7) Using plug-and-play devices where possible.

8) In some cases, where plug-and-play devices cannot be used, permission to wire into the power circuit will be obtained.

The type of Smart Home devices to be used include a Raspberry Pi server, control terminal, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, air pressure sensors, door sensors, smart plugs, smart light control, and remote controls.

The proposed engineering research will have two main phases:

1) The first phase will observe daily crew routine and how different electrical equipment is being utilized. Every day meetings will be conducted to survey crew requirements for the Smart Home system. At the same time, a Smart Home server and environmental sensors will be installed and configured.

2) The second phase will install Smart Home technologies based upon crew recommendations. After installation, crew training will be conducted, and the devices turned on. During phase two, all systems will be monitored daily, and crew feedback logged.

At the end of the project, all Smart Home devices will be unplugged and collected. Later, a project report will be submitted to the Station Director.

Battery Testing

Dave Laude

The many portable devices at MDRS use batteries, all with finite life and various ages, resulting in some device failures for nearly every crew. For this project a battery analyzer will be used to test all suspected failed EVA suit and all operating radio batteries. All batteries installed in EVA suits will be tested in parallel by charging to full and then running the fans continuously, checking battery voltage at time intervals for up to four hours. Following the tests, labels will be attached to each radio battery and suspect EVA suit battery indicating a test serial number, date of test, battery capacity, and “good”, “fair” or “failed”. All results will be sent to mission support.

Social Media Presence

Sarah Treadwell

This project will document the MDRS experience in a journalistic style, conducting interviews and issuing daily reports. Of particular interest will be to look at the human condition, examining the mentalities and psyches throughout the course of the crew’s mission. The project will utilize modern social media methods to share the experience for promotional purposes and to educate the public via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others. A connection to Blue Marble Space platforms will also help promote coverage of the experience and connection between the organizations. Permission to be interviewed and filmed will be obtained from each crew member prior to project commencement.

Submitted by:

Marc Levesque

Crew 265 Commander

Mission Plan – April 11th

Crew 245 Mission Plan 11th April 2022

SOL: 01
Name of person filing report: Vittorio Netti

The SMOPS crew has 13 experiments, both passive and active, mainly focused on crew monitoring and support. They are divided into four main categories: crew health, space suits and monitoring, space support technology, and planetary science. For the first category, Benjamin Pothier (crew journalist) will make use of electroencephalography to observe the changes in his brain during meditation sessions and we will perform a spit test for cortisol measurement to estimate two crew members’ stress levels before and after an EVA (PI: Nadia Maarouf, HSO). In the second category, crew gear (prototype flight suit and boots) and wearable sensors will be tested to monitor the movements of crew members during EVAs (PI: Paolo Guardabasso, XO), and each crew member will also wear an undergarment for continuous monitoring (PI: Nadia). We will also test some technologies that will support astronaut activities in future missions, such as purification of air from bacteria and satellite communication (PI: Luca Rossettini, crew engineer), 3D scanning of station modules and geological features (PI: Benjamin), 3D Printing of tools and drone flight (PI: Vittorio Netti, commander). Last but not least, we’ll take advantage of the geological analogy between MDRS site and Mars, collecting samples in search of micrometeorites and DNA traces (PI: Simone Paternostro, crew scientist).

This challenging list of experiments will require intensive EVAs, with the following main objectives: 3D Scan of MDRS modules and of geological features around the MDRS site; test of 3D printed objects in sample collection and other operations; drone flight to search for interesting geological features; test of shoes, flight suits, lower suit, helmet for ergonomy on different terrains and record data with wearables; sample collection (10 to 30 locations) for micrometeoroids and DNA samples. 1 EVA walking in the area around Hab (4 locs), 1 South (4 locs), 1 East (4 locs), 1 West (4-8 locs); antenna assembly and maintenance.

Throughout the mission we will also perform outreach and filming activities: Benjamin is currently working on a documentary on analogue missions and he will film the crew performing operations with cameras and drones; there will be an attempt to leave a camera outside during an EVA and leave it on overnight for a sky timelapse. We will also take time to acknowledge our sponsors.

Commander, out

Mission Plan January 18th

Mission Plan Crew 226

Team Colombia


From January 16th to the 30th, 2022, the second Colombian Mars Simulation Analog Mission will take place in the MDRS. The team is integrated by Colombian students, investigators and professionals in the areas of Science, Engineering and Tech strongly related to the aerospace field. Among other challenges for the mission crew will be to go through confinement and isolation in this habitat for 15 days, on a diet based on dehydrated food and limitations on the use of water and communications.

-The Colombian main crew, Crew 226, includes:

· The Mechanical Engineering student Felipe Torres, with the position of Crew Scientist.

· Carlos Salazar, Mechatronic Engineer candidate for a master’s degree in Engineering– with the position of Crew Engineer, both from the National University of Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia).

· Cristian Acosta, aerospace engineer from Blue Origin, in charge of Health and Security Officer.

· Maria Paula Bustos, Geologist and Master’s student in Geodesy and Geoinformation Science -Technische Universität Berlin, with the position of Greenhab Officer and Crew Geologist.

· Yael Méndez, Microbiologist, from Universidad de los Andes and Master’s student in Geosciences from Universidad Nacional de Colombia with the position of commander.

The Crew Organizer is David Mateus, Mechatronic Engineer and Master’s student in Space Studies at the University of North Dakota


Carlos SALAZAR (Crew Engineer)

Project Title: 3D Mapping for rovers using point cloud stitching and Kinect

Description: Build a system that gets point clouds taken with a 3D camera on an element like the Kinect sensor and joins them together to make a 3D map of the environment and locate itself in it. The following tasks have been defined:

· Get the points clouds using Kinect and point cloud library

· Process the point clouds taken

· Check and validate point cloud stitching algorithms

· Check and validate point cloud matching algorithms

· Integrate the developed modules

Methodology: The method of research selected for this project is going to be experimental, the samples taken with the sensor will be taken mainly in indoor areas or in a controlled environment, a portion of the solution will use methods from the point cloud library PCL using example point clouds. The idea is to check if those methods work with our samples and how a correct integration of all the modules can be made, identifying its weak points to propose and evaluate ways to improve them.

Maria Paula BUSTOS (Crew Green Hab Officer)

Project #1 Title: Germination of seeds in MDRS

Description: Evaluate the germination of seeds in the Mars Desert Research Station by cultivating the same kind of seeds in the germination machine located in the Science Dom and in the Green-Hab facility to determine which of both facilities offers the most efficient conditions for the germination of the cultivated seeds in the research station.

Methodology: 1) Cultivate one kind of seeds (based on the ones available in the station) in six pots and put half of them in the germinator machine located in the Science Dom and the other three pots in the Green-hab Facility. 2) Make daily measurements of the size of the leaves in the four pots. 3) compare results and determine which facility is more efficient to grow this kind of seeds in the research station.

Project #2 Title: Classical music and the growth of plants at MDRS

Description: Evaluate the growth of cherry tomatoes and mint plants in the station under the sound of the classical music of Johan Sebastian Bach by exposing these plants daily to Bach’s songs and comparing them to a control group that is not going to be exposed to this music, and determine if Bach songs have an impact in the rate of growth of these plants in the MDRS Green-hab.

Methodology: 1) Select two cherry plants and two mint plants that were cultivated at the same time and exposed to the same conditions during the last weeks and measure the size of its leaves and the number of fruits and flowers they have. 2) Expose daily for three hours one mint plant and one cherry plant to Bach songs. 3) Measure daily the size of the leaves and the number of fruits and flowers of each of the plants exposed to classical music and the ones not exposed (control group). 4) compare results and determine if the exposure to Bach classical music affects the growth of tomato cherry and mint plants in the research station.

Felipe TORRES (Crew Scientist)

Project Title: Feasibility of using bo-PET films to build an emergency Space Tent.

Description: Analysis of the insulating efficiency of a biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (bo-PET) film in order to determine the feasibility of building an emergency space tent for EVA’s in Mars and other aerospace applications using this material.

Methodology: Take measurements of Humidity and Temperature using a DHT11 sensor and Arduino. These measurements will be taken on different control volumes outdoors both with and without the thermal insulation provided by our material. To consider meteorological factors, these measurements will be taken at different times of the day and at different locations around the station. The insulative material will then be tested on different crew members, by providing a protective layer with the material and the body temperature will be measured with and without this insulative layer.

Yael Natalia Méndez (Commander)

Project Title: Clays identification through reflectance spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy.

Description: This project seeks to use Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) to analyze the impact that clays variations and recognize their mineralogy through the laboratory techniques (reflectance spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy), and compare that with the instruments applied in the perseverance rover.

Methodology: Collect samples of different types of clays found in the MDRS and they will be processed in Colombia by Grupo de caracterización tecnológica de minerales at Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Crew 228 Mission Plan


The MDRS 228 crew is an international crew selected by the Mars Society. Our team will travel to the Mars Desert Research Station this year to help put humans on Mars. We are engineers, artists, sociologists, astronomers, biologists, journalists, and physicians, who hail from all walks of life and eight nations. But most of all, we are explorers.

Although we started as a group of strangers who have never met before in person, we share a common goal to serve as “one small step” toward sending humankind to Mars. Over the 2.5 years, we have been carefully preparing for a productive mission on the red planet from all across the globe.

From September 26 to October 9, 2021, we will reside together as “analog astronauts” at the MDRS. Together, we will conduct activities in simulated space conditions. Many compelling experiments cannot be swiftly performed in space due to limitations in time, money, and equipment. Simulated missions like ours can provide humankind with crucial data about the validity of potential space exploration operations.

We will also be proudly wearing our mission patch, conducting research activities, and performing outreach projects. To see more about the symbology of our mission patch and details about our research and outreach activities, please view our mission website at:



Gender, emotions, and status in space analog facilities: ethnographic data collection (University of Iowa IRB #201911141)

By: Inga Popovaite

During her time at the MDRS Inga will collect data using participant observation methodology for the last chapter of her dissertation. This project is approved by the University of Iowa IRB (#201911141). This study will examine crew interactions from the structural (as opposed to the individual) perspective, and will contribute to the growing body of literature that examines group processes in isolated, confined, and extreme environments.


Gender, emotions, and status in space analog facilities: emotion journal pilot study (University of Iowa IRB #201911141)

By: Inga Popovaite

In addition to participant observation, Inga plans to test data collection instruments for another part of the research project that examines gender, emotions, and status in space analog environments (University of Iowa IRB #201911141). Crew members will be given individual journals and will be asked to write daily entries based on provided prompts. The prompts ask participants to reflect on their emotions, experiences, and interaction with other crews during the day. Unlike the actual future study, this time crew members will be asked to provide feedback on their experience while journaling, such as time commitment, challenges, etc. The goal of this task is to improve journals as data collection instruments before using them in the future.

MDRS GIS map update

By: Jin Sia

In collaboration with: Marc Levesque

The current GIS map of MDRS is in need of updates. Marc Levesque has requested that the necessary changes be communicated back to him by sending him physical copies of the map that have been marked up. Dr. Shannon Rupert has marked up one map of the area with corrections.

Additionally, Marc will provide the crew with new four copies of the map. He has requested that one of them also be marked up with the crew’s and Shannon’s edits.

Both edited maps will then be collected by Jin and mailed to Marc. Marc will then transfer these edits into the MDRS GIS map, which is in digital form.

Jin will also collect answers to the following questions and deliver them to Marc to determine next steps:

– What MDRS geographic data is currently archived in the NAD27 datum?

– What is the reason that the current MDRS standard geographic projection is NAD27?

– If the geographic data have been stored digitally in NAD27, could they be migrated to WGS84 as the new standard?

GIS mapping of MDRS area

By: Jin Sia

In collaboration with: Marc Levesque

Jin will experiment with setting up a GIS map that is a ‘living document’ meant to be updated by crew after crew, permitting the accumulation of scientific data beyond the two-week length of a rotation. The map is designed with the primary objective of facilitating EVA planning by presenting data in an easy-to-use digital format, with both scientific and safety information readily available. During the rotation, Jin will refine the workflow for entering and retrieving data.

The project aims to answer the following research questions:

– How can GIS minimize the time, effort, and required expertise for the planning of an EVA?

– How can GIS maximize scientific return and safety for the execution of an EVA?

– What workflow is best for adding and updating geographic data in a digital map?

– What insights can be extracted from the accumulation of geographic data?

The detailed project plan is available on request.

Future MDRS Research Project Conceptual/Exploratory Investigation

By: David Laude

Dave has been thinking of investigating the prospects of a research project for my next rotation should I be so fortunate. Dave doesn’t know if this particular project has been done before and I think it’s a good use of some time at MDRS. Dave would need most or all crew member’s voluntary participation. It’s very simple and can provide very important insights. What would a nascent Martian colony want to be different on Mars from the culture and civilizations on Earth for the better? Why not ask those in a Martian sim? Dave expects that two 1 hour sessions might be enough time.This type of research is outside his area of expertise and so he has reluctance to try a full research project during Crew 228.

In-situ, real-time metagenomics analysis of MDRS regolith using the Oxford MinION

By: Lindsay Rutter

In this project, Lindsay will add to a unique body of astrobiological research that has been conducted by scientists at MDRS. She will add the next logical “stepping stone” in this stream of work that started 16 years ago. Below is a timeline of the previous work and how her project will build to it.

2005: Moran et al. confirmed the presence of methane in the Utah desert soil around MDRS (Moran et al. 2005). The authors provided preliminary evidence (using growth medium) that the methane could be derived by microbes, a finding that, if verified, would be intriguing given that methanogens were not known to survive in desert regolith.

2011: Direito et al. (Direito et al. 2011) and Thiel et al. (Thiel et al. 2011) conducted 16S rRNA studies and PCR-based detection surveys at MDRS. Both groups confirmed high bacterial diversity in the Utah desert soil.

2020: Maggiori et al. (Maggiori et al. 2020) performed the first metagenomics study of Utah desert soil around MDRS using the nanopore sequencing technology of the Oxford Nanopore MinION (Jain et al. 2016). Metagenomics (the study of genetic material collected directly from environmental samples) is a new approach that allows biologists to examine all members in a microbial community at once (regardless of whether they can be cultured). They characterized a rich microbial community that included several methanogens, which verified the unexpected preliminary evidence from 2005 that methanogens can indeed survive in desert conditions.

This proposal would represent the first to investigate not just the microbial diversity (metagenomics), but also the microbial ecology (metatranscriptomics), of the Utah desert soil around MDRS. This would allow us to increase the resolution and understand not just what microorganisms are present, but also what biochemical pathways and substrates they use to survive. Overall, the project will use MinION to sequence DNA and RNA to identify methane-producing metabolic pathways of the methanogens that were recently

detected for the first time in the desert environment.

Maggiori et al. (Maggiori et al. 2020) performed their MinION sequencing on MDRS samples returned to their home lab. In contrast, Lindsay will perform “handheld” MinION sequencing in-situ at the MDRS as a proof-of-concept that sequencing can be done in remote space analog environments far away from sequencing facilities, all while under planetary exploration operations.

Mars City State Design for 1,000,000 Population: An Integrated Model-based Approach towards Martian Settlements

By: Marufa Bhuiyan

Mission plan: Marufa will be based in Hawaii during the mission and she plans to do virtual meetings with the crew to discuss Mars city state design for 1,000,000 population. In real-time it may take 100 years but we are talking about “imaginary time” here (at a 45 degree angle). Every crew can choose their locations, strategy and projects to contribute their ideas for a self-sustaining city on Mars. We are pleased to inform that Marufa’s abstract got selected last year, and this year’s conference i.e. 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention will be held on Oct 14-17, 2021. You can register here: https://www.marssociety.org/conventions/2021/. She will be speaking in a panel for 25 mins and 5 min Q & A. Before she speaks in the conference, she will be happy to share her internal databases, presentation and tools with the crew for Mars city state design for 1 million population. It should be fun, we can take each-others feedback for a case scenario e.g. let’s imagine if you were given the planet Mars, how would you like to rule! 🙂


Areonauts sharing their mission with elementary, middle, and high school students

By: Lindsay Rutter, Stuart Hughes, Yuzo Shibata, Olympiou Charikleia, Marufa Bhuiyan, Ludo Valentini, Inga Popovaite, Jin Sing Sia, and David Laude

This project is led by Stuart Hughes and Lindsay Rutter, with participation from all other crew members (Yuzo Shibata, Olympiou Charikleia, Marufa Bhuiyan, Ludo Valentini, Inga Popovaite, Jin Sing Sia, and David Laude). Lindsay Rutter gave virtual presentations about our mission to elementary students (4th and 5th grade), middle school students (7th grade), and high school students (11th grade) through the program “Skype a Scientist”. All together, the presentation about our mission was seen by about 250 students, many of whom sent in questions afterward.

Ludovica will also present the crew 228 and their mission to some high school classes in her hometown in Italy. The students will be encouraged to raise any questions and/or curiosity they might have about spaceflight analogs, Mars and the topic in general.

During the mission, our crew will answer all student questions at least in written format. The questions from the students spanned various fields from space farming to life support system engineering to planetary science to space medicine. With diverse expertise, our crew will work together to answer the questions as best as possible.

After we answer all questions in written format, we will select about 20 questions and answer them in video format. The in-situ crew will show off the habitat while answering questions and the remote crew will show how they support the mission remotely. Stuart Hughes will then collect the footage of our answers and edit it into an engaging and dynamic video. We will then send the video to all classrooms that participated. We will also send mission patches to several of the classrooms.

Areonauts at the Space Week 2021

By: Ludovica Valentini

Supported by the whole crew

Ludovica will present the crew 228 and their “hybrid” simulation, at the MDRS and from remote, during the Space Week 2021 organized by a municipality in the Italian region Marche. This will be achieved thanks to the in-situ crew collecting material such as videos and photos, and thanks to the contribution of the remote crew supporting with editing the footage from “Mars” and providing inputs and feedback about their remote simulation.

Media outreach

By: Inga Popovaite

Inga will be filming videos and taking pictures for Lithuanian media and for the University of Iowa alumni magazine.

Blogging from Mars

By: Jin Sia

On behalf of: Mars Society of Canada

Jin will be writing daily diary entries to be posted to the Mars Society of Canada’s website. These will be targeted at informing the general public about what life is like in a Mars analog.

Future Cafe on Mars: Year 2049

By: Marufa Bhuiyan

Following the instructions below we can envision how the future cities on Mars will look like in our Future Cafe 2049:

● Brainstorm ideas/drivers

○ Pick 2 drivers

○ Label poles: yes/no , high/low, more/less etc.

● Describe each quadrant:

○ Give each a name

○ Think about all the sectors

● Imagine waking up in that future. How would it feel or look?

● Consider your case

● Name one action you would need to do in each future for your cause to be successful.


Movie nights

By: All crew

● Galaxy Quest

● Spaceballs

● Moonbase 8

● Away

Discussion nights

By: David Laude

David is initiating evening discussions about anything interesting that each crew member in turn can suggest.

Radio Reception Experiments

By: David Laude

David Laude has a 1924 radio with him. The crew is planning to set it up to see what signals can be caught from Earth.

Star Party: Find your constellations and name them if you can!

By: Marufa Bhuiyan

Marufa plans to lead a start party helping other crew members identify stars and constellations. She will introduce history, science and mythology connected to the visible night sky.

The Bradbury Landing Novel Ideas Club

By: Lindsay Rutter

Our crew can hold a book club to discuss our favorite books related to space exploration. For starters, we can discuss two books, Gila Lost and Found: Search and Rescue in New Mexico (by Marc Levesque) and Strangest of All: Anthology of astrobiological science fiction (by Julie Nováková).

Lindsay has virtually corresponded with Marc Levesque for about two years. Marc was crew commander of MDRS Crew 216 and will command another MDRS mission in April 2022. He is Incident Commander with the New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue, where he manages rescue missions for lost, injured, and stranded individuals. He worked for the US Antarctic Research Program in the 1980s, where he provided science support in one winter-over and two austral summer missions. Marc recently published this book and kindly sent a copy to Lindsay at the Rock Shop of the Hanksville Spaceport. Lindsay will bring the book to MDRS to share with the crew. We can discuss how some of the search and rescue schemes can be applied to Mars EVAs.

Lindsay met Julie Nováková at an AbGradCon conference, where Julie provided access to her book about the search for extraterrestrial life. The book is an anthropological format with short science fiction stories (mostly written by scientists) about possible scenarios of discovering life outside of Earth. Ethical scenarios are also raised. We can discuss these stories and engage in constructive debates about the ethics related to this field of life detection exploration.


Direito, Susana O. L., Pascale Ehrenfreund, Andries Marees, Martijn Staats, Bernard Foing, and Wilfred F. M. Röling. 2011. “A Wide Variety of Putative Extremophiles and Large Beta-Diversity at the Mars Desert Research Station (Utah).” International Journal of Astrobiology. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1473550411000012.

Jain, Miten, Hugh E. Olsen, Benedict Paten, and Mark Akeson. 2016. “The Oxford Nanopore MinION: Delivery of Nanopore Sequencing to the Genomics Community.” Genome Biology. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-016-1103-0.

Maggiori, Catherine, Jessica Stromberg, Yolanda Blanco, Jacqueline Goordial, Edward Cloutis, Miriam García-Villadangos, Victor Parro, and Lyle Whyte. 2020. “The Limits, Capabilities, and Potential for Life Detection with MinION Sequencing in a Paleochannel Mars Analog.” Astrobiology. https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2018.1964.

Moran, Mark, Joseph D. Miller, Tim Kral, and Dave Scott. 2005. “Desert Methane: Implications for Life Detection on Mars.” Icarus. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2005.06.008.

Thiel, Cora S., Pascale Ehrenfreund, Bernard Foing, Vladimir Pletser, and Oliver Ullrich. 2011. “PCR-Based Analysis of Microbial Communities during the EuroGeoMars Campaign at Mars Desert Research Station, Utah.” International Journal of Astrobiology. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1473550411000073.


Crew 228 Areonauts- MissionPlan (1).docx

Mission Plan – November 24th

Crew 216 – Team A.R.E.S.
Crew Commander: Marc Levesque (United States)
Executive Officer/Systems Engineer: Mike Lawson (United States) Health and Safety Officer: Andrew Kennedy (United States) Crew Researcher: Rich Whittle (United Kingdom)
Crew Astronomer: Michael Ho (Singapore)
Crew Journalist/Artist-in-Residence: Evgenia Alexandrova (Russia)

MDRS Crew 216 consists of a diverse group of individuals with interests that reflect the crew’s name: Arts Research Education Science. This will be the first experience for all crew members at MDRS, and the international character of the crew will likely be similar to those on future missions to Mars. The crew’s first priority will be to maintain all the MDRS facilities, vehicles, and equipment in a safe and operable condition. For this purpose, each crew member will be assigned primary and secondary tasks for which they will be responsible, based upon their crew position, capabilities, and interests.

Beyond these responsibilities, crew members will undertake projects while living in a Martian analog environment. Below is a detailed summary of planned projects and activities during the mission.

In-situ Fluorescent Mineral Prospecting in a Martian Environment Crew Member: Mike Lawson

Martian colonists will have to exploit local resources to survive and thrive on Mars. UV searches can identify possible sources of rare-earth ores, radioactive ores and other useful minerals, such as industrial gemstones for cutting, polishing and abrasive processes.

Traditional rock sampling, either by chipping rock faces or cone and quartering (alluvial gravel) would net only small samples (kilogram or smaller scale). A large scale survey would take many EVAs. An in-situ UV search of a rock-face or a gravel deposit can rapidly scan many tons of material in a matter of minutes. If a target “lights up,” it can then be sampled for further analysis in the HAB.

Specialized Equipment: A portable 6-watt Analytikea Model UVL-48 ultraviolet light source in shortwave UV mode will be on-hand. This survey can only be done during a period of darkness. The lunar cycle favors us, as the first week of Crew 216 is in a waning crescent moon phase, the second week is in a new moon phase. The UV light source is only six watts in power or less than a typical residential night-light. Consequently, new moonlight darkness is optimal. Some standard reference works on field geology and UV minerals will be brought on the mission.

Preparation: Extensive map and satellite imagery will be studied to identify target sites of interest. Two key terrain types are favored for the UV survey: rock faces in cliffs or canyons and alluvial gravel deposits. The former present an opportunity to rapidly scan multiple layers of rock and identify target-rich epochs in the Martian geologic history. The alluvial deposit survey capitalizes on Martian erosive forces self-selecting out “harder” materials of interest (in Mohs scale context), such as industrial gemstones. Four target areas will be selected based on imagery reconnaissance, two rock faces, and two alluvial deposits. Target priority is for ease of access to minimize travel risks during the EVAs.

Safety Protocols: This survey can only be done during a period of darkness, which adds an added layer of operational risk. Crew members attempting the night-time EVAs will be experienced operatives with extensive military and/or search and rescue experience. This experience includes field operations in periods of darkness. Travel to and from the sites of interest will be illuminated (either by hand lights or vehicle lights, depending on the mode of travel). The routes will be at least partially reconnoitered in daylight hours to ensure a safe route to the sites. Only brief periods of “lights out” scanning will be required at the target sites. The UV scanner will use UV eye protection for short wave UV. Chemical heat packs (similar to those used by athletes) will be on hand in the event of “frosting” issues with the sim-suit helmets, to simulate actual suit heating elements. Excessive “frosting” will be a cause for mission abort and return to the HAB. Extremely low night-time temperatures (under -10 C) will be a cause for mission abort. For this reason, the EVAs will be scheduled in the early evening for launch shortly before nautical twilight. The purpose is two-fold, to execute at the warmest period of darkness and to minimize the total time in absolute darkness.

EVAs: Up to four EVAs are planned for execution in the available 11 Sol window. Since they are planned night-time activity, they will not conflict with other team members’ EVA schedules, and a full support element from the remainder of the crew will be in the HAB. The first two EVAs will visit different target types so that any truncation of the planned EVA schedule will not result in total loss of survey diversity. If UV sensitive materials are found, samples will be gathered and labeled using typical geologic techniques and returned to the HAB for further study and identification in the on-site laboratory.

Report of Results: A paper detailing the results of the UV survey will be written and submitted to the Mars Society after the completion of the mission.

Documentary Film
Crew member: Evgenia Alexandrova

I am planning to make a film around one hour long in a style that I call "poetic documentary." I am not interested in a pure factual coverage of our experience and don’t want it to have a linear narration. The topics I would like to explore are: What is behind our dream for space? What are we trying to learn through learning about space? Our future? Or actually is it about our past and are we looking for understanding where do we come from and where we belong?

The first years of Mars colonization will be hardly easy for humankind: confined space, dehydrated food, heavy spacesuits, no green color in nature, and missing home. There will be not much intimacy, but there may be solitude. Still, we are driven by some dream, instinct, or curiosity to explore beyond. I would like to capture the evolution of the emotional state of the crew members.

At some point, I might concentrate more on some precise team member(s), as the audience becomes more attached to a film when there is a protagonist. This will imply filming every day during working hours but also outside of those: during diners, spare time, and nights. In documentary filming, we can never predict when something interesting is going to happen, so I will have to adjust to the experience. I would need at least four daytime EVA’s to capture the landscape and the work of the team members.

For those who agree to be filmed during an EVA, they will be equipped with a small microphone inside their spacesuit. I would also be extremely interested in a nighttime EVA if MDRS can grant the permission. As the mood of the film intends to evolve towards a dreamy atmosphere, I would absolutely love to film the stars and the station lost in a dark landscape, as well as fellow crew member Mike Lawson testing his tool which can be absolutely stunning by night.

I will also ask for at least one 40-minutes interview with each crew member at a time convenient for them. On the first day of sim, I will request a clear statement if there is any crew member who absolutely doesn’t want to be filmed.

Human Performance & Analog Mission Evaluation of Environmental Stressors via Behavioral Health Scales
Crew member: Rich Whittle

Mars analog astronauts undergo a rigorous selection and training process to ensure crew cohesion and mission success. However, even the healthiest, strongest individuals may face psychological challenges due to various stressors in extreme or abnormal environments. Examples of these stressors include isolation, confinement, close living quarters, the monotony of food, delayed communication with ground control, time pressure, scientific or engineering failures, sleep difficulties, fatigue, etc. In our effort to further human space exploration in a safe and effective way, we must thoroughly understand and protect the psychological and physiological well-being of the crew, before, during, and after the space analog mission.

Research Aims: This project aims to study crew member behavioral traits, including anxiety and depression levels, before, during, and after space analog missions using standard questionnaires before, during, and after the mission. This will allow us to better understand psychological well-being in response to known and unknown environmental stressors. This project further aims to study the correlation between crew anxiety and depression levels and the possibility of a “third quarter phenomena” (TQP), whereby the first quarter of the mission may be characterized by crew excitement or anxiety, the second quarter by boredom and depression, and the third quarter by increased emotional outbursts. An addition to the study will examine basic physiological changes in subjects over the course of a short duration analog mission to explore transient changes.

Analog Missions: We will conduct our experiments in two different analog missions: MDRS – Mars Desert Research Station (Mission 216) and AMADEE-20 (Austrian Space Forum). MDRS is located in the Utah desert with the Mars analog simulation lasting 15 days. The AMADEE-20 Mars analog simulation will be conducted in the Negev Desert in Israel, with a duration of 30 days.

Surveys: Five surveys will be administered, each taken at various points pre/during/post-mission: PANAS (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule), POMS (Profile Of Mood States), Sleep Quality Survey, ICE-Q (Isolated and Confined Environments Questionnaire), and PsychScale.

Survey Timing: One-time pre-mission, two in-mission (approximately days five and 10), and one post-mission. Also included will be a measuring of the heart rate and blood pressure at the same time each morning using Omron Sphygmomanometer.

Supplements Significance: This project has the potential to inform prevention strategies including resilience training for the mental health and overall well-being of analog crew members at the individual and group level.

Enrollment/Recruitment: Crew will be contacted prior to the mission to receive information and confirm if they would agree to participate. All crew members will be eligible to participate, and those that do will be required to sign a consent form detailing the process of the research, any risks, and their consent to participate. This will take place on the first day the crew meets before the mission.

Note: This research is not for clinical findings, but for research only. Findings will not be given to participants for clinical purposes.

Mars Society and MDRS Educational Materials Crew Member: Michael Ho

My project is to spread awareness of The Mars Society objectives and the Mars Desert Research Station by developing a public presentation. This will include the following activities: 1) Filming Crew 216 members’ introductions; 2) Recording the experience of maintaining physical and mental well-being living in a confined space with strangers for 14 days; 3) An introduction to the physical structure and utilities of MDRS; 4) Meals, water & energy resources and waste conservation practices at MDRS; 5) Diurnal and sleep cycles; 6) EVA procedures; 7) Emergency drills; 8) Flying drone footage of MDRS, surrounding desert features, and accompanying EVAs on rovers.; and 9) Taking pictures and observing celestial objects through telescopes in the Musk Observatory. Note: Each crew member will be asked to sign a release if they agree to be filmed for this project.

In-situ Resource Utilization for Medical Applications Crew members: Rich Whittle and Andrew Kennedy

This will be a continuation of a Crew 215 project to collect gypsum samples to produce Plaster of Paris for application in medical interventions stemming from splinting to preliminary dental impressions. This project will require several EVAs pending the outcome of material testing.

MDRS Mapping and Communications Crew member: Marc Levesque

Mapping: The current map at MDRS was developed by Henrik Hargitai et al in 2017 from digital GIS files. These files were obtained from the developer to provide the option of updating the map that could include the removal of unwanted features or the addition of new features to make the map more current. Once the post-mission processing is completed, an updated map will be offered to the MDRS to replace the existing map in the station and digital files provided for operational support.

This project will require EVAs to capture new data points via GPS, which might be accomplished during other planned EVAs or separately depending on the number of features to collect and distances from MDRS. Additionally, the GPS units will be used to collect the tracks of any EVA activity and to mark the location of crew members at regular intervals while conducting their EVAs. The latter will assist the communications person monitoring EVAs to know precisely where each crew member is during their EVA. At the end of the mission, these data sets will be used to develop a map of Crew 216 EVA activities for the mission record.

Communications: The current MDRS radio communication system uses FRS/GMRS handheld radios that are limited to an output of 2 watts, which limits how well EVA teams can communicate with the Hab and each other. A system utilizing VHF frequencies would expand the range of radio communications to enhance the safety of crew members. Such a system would include handheld radios with 5-watt output, a base radio at the Hab with a capacity up to 50 watts, and a tower with the high gain antenna installed next to the Hab. A further enhancement to the system would be the deployment of self-contained field repeaters in the surrounding area to expand the range of communications even further. This project would possibly require two EVAs to confirm possible repeater sites after a terrain analysis was conducted in GIS. If the project is implemented, the Mars Society would need to obtain an FCC license that is available for non-profit or educational organizations.

An additional communications project will be to attempt amateur radio contact with the International Space Station (ISS). Depending of the ISS orbital schedule, Crew 216 will attempt to make a contact with a licensed astronaut on the ISS. This will utilize a mobile radio in the crew commander’s personal vehicle set up in cross-band mode that will allow the contact to be accomplished from inside the Hab via a handheld radio. This project will require two short EVAs to turn on the mobile radio in the vehicle prior to the contact attempt and then turn it off. Crew members Levesque and Lawson are licensed amateur radio operators and will undertake the contact attempt.

Submitted by: Marc Levesque
Crew 216 Commander

Mission Plan – May 6th

[title Mission Plan – May 6th]

[category mission-plan]

Mission plan MDRS Crew 212 6th May- 18 th May

LATAM III is a Latin American and European venture that has three objectives Science, Outreach and collaboration. Our crew consists of 7 crew members from 6 member states that will be performing 9 experiments these range from biological, engineering and astrophotography. In this brief report, we will explain our goals and how we will achieve them in two weeks.

1. Crew Description

1) Camila Marlen Castillo – Crew Commander

2) Vittorio Netti- Crew XO/HSO

3) Mariona Badenas-Agusti- Crew Astronomer

4) Camilo Zorro- Spacesuit Engineer

5) Héctor Palomeque – GreenHab Officer

6) Paolo Guardabasso- Crew Engineer

7) Zoe Townsend- Crew Journalist

2. Goals

We are representing a range of cultures from around the globe. We hope that in these two weeks we will work collaboratively to produce high quality scientific experiments and make life-long friends. Whilst undertaking out experiments we have also planned a variety of activities in the evenings that would help to develop this close friendship, these include a cultural night; where each of us will present national dishes and games from out countries. We plan to undertake this early on in the SIM as an ice breaker event. Other plans we have, includes celebrating the birthday of one of our crew members and also making sure that each day we have meals together

3. Experiments:

Solar observation/astrophotography/Stellar clusters

The Martian atmosphere is very thin in comparison to that of the Earth, so astronomical observations from Mars will be less affected by undesirable atmospheric effects like seeing and absorption. Given the remote location of the MDRS, which results in little light pollution near the MDRS Observatory, this Mars analog site offers a fantastic opportunity to conduct observations of the sky. Over the course of two weeks, we will use the MDRS-14 Robotic telescope (Celestron 14’’ Edge HD, 355.6 mm aperture, 3910 mm focal length, f/11 focal ratio) to generate colour-magnitude diagrams of selected open clusters and look for potential asteroids or other minor bodies; employ the MDRS-WF astrophotography instrument (StellarVue70, 70mm aperture, 336mm focal length, and f/4.8 focal ratio) to generate images of deep-sky objects; and utilize the MDRS Musk solar telescope to investigate the solar chromosphere through a Hydrogen-alpha filter.


The X-5 Drone is an experimental concept for an autonomous aerial platform designed to complement the initial human crews on the Martian surface. The X-5 is powered by lightweight’s flexible double-junction solar panels, which assure a dawn-sunset flight autonomy. Thanks to its VTOL capabilities, the Drone can autonomously take off and reach the mission objectives without the need for direct control from the crew. The X-5 Payload is composed by 2 cameras (one fixed global-shutter camera and one for navigation) and a huge range of sensors. The camera can be switched for more mission-specific payloads such as multispectral sensors or thermal vision devices. The operational scenarios covered by the X-5 are photogrammetry mapping, surface composition analysis, and search & rescue missions.


In recent years, the possibility of using aerial vehicles on Mars has drawn the attention of engineers and scientists: drones have the potential to revolution planetary exploration, as they can travel higher and faster than rovers can but still allow high-resolution sensing. The main aim of the VESTA experiment (from the Roman goddess protector of the household) is to evaluate possible uses for drones in the proximity of the MDRS, in terms of operational complexity and utility of such an instrument, with regard to safety and crew time and necessary training. Two different scenarios will be evaluated: weather monitoring and settlement inspection.

Observation Rover

The next step in Space Exploration is the settlement on new bodies. In the future, the settlements reliance on Earth should be kept minimal relying on the compounds found naturally; in many cases, this can mean digging or mining this material. This project is the creation of a sample drilling station that can work in situ and with the integration of a rover. The rover will travel autonomously to areas of interest and deploy the drilling station. Data such as penetration depth, and speed, soil hardness and duration of mission will be recorded for analysis of the topology in the region. The project is a collaboration with the University West of England in Bristol and help from Catapult Satellite

Space Farming

Growing crops on the Mars surface will be necessary for its terraforming and human settlement. Despite Martian regolith seeming to have all the nutrients for plants development, unfortunately many of these nutrients are in low assimilable form. For that reason, bacteria interactions with regolith components will be an alternative for promoting nutrients uptake and plant nutrition, but microorganisms selected for this task need to survive against Mars environmental conditions. Regarding this scenario, extremophiles could play a key role due to their survival and adaption mechanisms under hazardous environmental conditions. This project, focuses on the application of Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria (PGPB); isolated from extreme environments, over lettuce to study the effect of biofertilization into a soil similar to Martian regolith. We expect to have better production yields on lettuce growth parameters when it is inoculated with PGPB.

Keep talking

Physical confinement and isolation during long missions to Mars will influence even the best trained crew members. Space psychology is constantly investigating group interactions, with the aim of finding new methods for crew selection and training. For this human factors experiment, the members of Crew 212 will play a cooperation game each day, in order to observe and document the team’s problem-solving capabilities.

Ethnography study

The current work has an aim to carry out an ethnography observance in situ during our MDRS rotation. As an initial concept, ethnography is a research method that allows to dig out qualitative data about the behaviour of subjects and social groups. It can be analysed in the light of sociological and anthropological categories. It will let assess the isolation and confinement conditions and how they affect the group dynamics, with that to establish hypotheses about how this could affect the social web of a crew in a real mission.

Pulse oximeter measurement

Pulse oximeter measures will help to evaluate the functionality of sim suits through measures of pulse and SpO2 % in one of the crew members with different routines.

Software for macroscopic characterization

When isolating bacteria from soil, researchers describe macroscopic characteristics first. This helps to classify bacteria according to the size, shape, border and elevation of the colonies they produce. The aim of this project is to develop a software with image recognition capabilities that can help to classify bacteria according to their macroscopic characteristics. By the end of this project, the software will be able to produce a report with the amount of bacteria present on a plate and a clear classification of their morphology.

4. Other projects

In addition to our projects, various members of Crew 212 have and will be undertaking various interviews and science communication outreach. A selection of interviews include: Venezia nuova: la Repubblica, Mars Planet website blog, STEMinist vlog, ARA Catalonia and Recerca en Accio. Also, the LATAM III mission has been selected as a vendor at the science dome for WOMAD festival. In addition, two of our crew members were selected to participate at AMADEE20 in which they will also partake in the science workshop of AMADEE20 where they will be presenting their drones and talking about the performance at MDRS.


MDRS Tripulación 212 6 Mayo – 18 Mayo

LATAM III es un equipo latinoamericano y europeo que tiene tres objetivos: Ciencia, divulgación y colaboración. Nuestra tripulación consiste de 7 miembros de 6 estados miembros que estarán realizando experimentos en campos tan diversos como la biología, la ingeniería y la astrofotografía. En este reporte, explicaremos nuestros objetivos y como los alcanzaremos en dos semanas.

1. Descripción de la tripulación

1) Camila Marlen Castillo – Comandante de tripulación

2) Vittorio Netti- Oficial ejecutivo / Oficial de salud y seguridad

3) Mariona Badenas-Agusti- Astrónoma de tripulación

4) Camilo Zorro- Ingeniero de trajes espaciales

5) Héctor Palomeque – Oficial de GreenHab

6) Paolo Guardabasso- Ingeniero de tripulación

7) Zoe Townsend- Periodista de tripulación

2. Objetivos

Representamos una variedad de culturas alrededor del globo. Esperamos que estas dos semanas sean de trabajo colaborativo para producir experimentos de alta calidad científica, y estrechar lazos de amistad para toda la vida. Además de realizar nuestros experimentos, también planeamos una variedad de actividades en las noches que nos puedan ayudar a desarrollar una amistad cercana. Esto incluye noches culturales, dónde presentamos platos nacionales y juegos de nuestros países. Planeamos realizar esto al inicio de la simulación, como evento para romper el hielo. Otros planes incluyen celebrar cumpleaños y tener comidas juntos.

3. Experimentos:

Observación solar/astrofotografía/Cúmulo de estrellas

La atmósfera marciana es muy delgada en comparación a la de la tierra, así que las observaciones astronómicas desde Marte serán menos afectadas por efectos atmosféricos innecesarios. Dada la locación remota de MDRS, que resulta en poca polución de luz cerca al observatorio MDRS, este análogo marciano ofrece una fantástica oportunidad para realizar observaciones del cielo. Durante las siguientes dos semanas, usaremos el telescopio robótico MDRS-14 (Celestron 14 Edge HD, 355.6 mm aperture, 3910 mm focal length, f/11 focal ratio) para generar diagramas color-magnitud de cúmulos abiertos seleccionados y mirar potenciales asteroides u otros cuerpos menores. Además emplearemos el instrumentos de astrofotografía (MDRS-WF) (StellarVue70, 70mm aperture, 336mm focal length, and f/4.8 focal ratio) para generar imágenes de objetos de cielo profundo, además de utilizar el telescopio solar MDRS Musk para investigar la cromósfera solar a través del filtro alfahidrógeno.


El dron X-5 es un concepto experimental para una plataforma aérea autónoma diseñado para complementar a las primeras tripulaciones humanas en la superficie marciana. El X-5 está equipado por paneles solares ligeros, flexibles y unidos, que aseguran una autonomía de vuelo dawn-sunset. Gracias a las capacidades del VTOL, el dron puede despegar autónomamente y realizar objetivos de misión sin necesidad de control directo de la tripulación. El X-5 está complementado por 2 cámaras y un gran rango de sensores. La cámara puede ser cambiada por otros complementos de misión, como sensores multiespectrales o implementos de visión termal. Los escenarios operativos cubiertos por el X-5 son el mapeo fotogramétrico, el análisis de composición de superficie y misiones de búsqueda y rescate.


En años recientes, la posibilidad de usar vehículos aéreos en Marte ha atraído la atención de ingenieros y científicos: Los drones tienen el potencial de revolucionar la exploración planetaria, ya que pueden viajar más alto y rápido que los rovers, pero permiten, igualmente, una sensibilidad de alta-resolución. El principal objetivo del experimento VESTA (de la diosa romana protectora del hogar) es evaluar la posibilidad de usar drones en la proximidad de MDRS, en términos de complejidad operacional y utilidad de dicho instrumento, considerando la seguridad y el tiempo necesario de la tripulación. Dos escenarios distintos serán evaluados: Monitoreo del clima e inspección de asentamiento.

Rover de observación

El siguiente paso en la exploración espacial es el asentamiento de nuevos planetas. En el futuro, la dependencia de estos asentamientos en la tierra debería de ser mantenida al mínimo, utilizando, en cambio, los compuestos hallados naturalmente en el nuevo hábitat. En muchos casos, esto puede significar excavar o extraer este material. Este proyecto trata de la creación de una estación taladradora de muestras que puede trabajar in situ y con la integración de un rover. El rover puede viajar autónomamente a áreas de interés y aplicar la estación de taladro. Datos como la profundidad de la penetración, la velocidad, la dureza del suelo y la duración de la misión serán grabados para el análisis topológico de la región. El proyecto es una colaboracion con la University West of England in Bristol y la ayuda de Catapult Satellite Applications.

Agricultura espacial

El crecimiento de cultivos en la superficie marciana será necesario para su terraformación y el asentamiento humano. A pesar de que el regolito marciano parece tener todos los nutrientes para el desarrollo de plantas, lamentablemente, muchos de estos nutrientes están en forma poco asimilable. Por esa razón, las interacciones de bacterias con los componentes del regolito pueden ser una alternativa para promover la absorción de nutrientes y la nutrición de plantas. Pero los microorganismos seleccionados para este rol deben de sobrevivir a pesar de las condiciones ambientales de Marte. Viendo este escenario, los extremófilos pueden jugar un papel importante gracias a su supervivencia y mecanismos de adaptación en duras condiciones ambientales. Este proyecto se enfoca en la aplicación de bacterias promotoras del crecimiento de plantas (PGPB por sus siglas en inglés) aisladas de ambientes extremos en lechuga para estudiar los efectos de la biofertilización en suelo similar al regolito marciano. Esperamos tener una mejor producción de los parámetros de crecimiento de la lechuga cuando es inoculada con PGPB.

Keep talking

La confinación física y el aislamiento durante misiones largas a Marte influirán incluso en las tripulaciones mejor entrenadas. La psicología espacial está investigando constantemente interacciones de grupo, con el objetivo de encontrar nuevos métodos para la elección de una tripulación y su entrenamiento. Para este experimento de factor humano, los miembros de la tripulación 212 jugarán un juego competitivo cada día, para así observar y documentar las capacidades de resolución de problemas de los equipos.

Estudio etnográfico

El presente trabajo busca realizar una observación etnográfica in situ durante la rotación en MDRS. Como concepto inicial, la etnografía es un método de investigación que permite obtener data de calidad acerca del comportamiento de sujetos y grupos sociales. Puede ser analizada bajo las categorías sociológicas y antropológicas. Permitirá evaluar las condiciones de aislamiento y confinamiento y como afectan las dinámicas de grupo, y con esto establecer hipótesis acerca de cómo esto puede afectar las interacciones sociales de una tripulación en una misión real.

Medición de pulso y oximetría

Las mediciones de pulso y oximetría permitirán evaluar la funcionalidad de los trajes de simulación a través de medidas de pulso y SpO2 % en uno de los miembros de tripulación con distintas rutinas.

Software para la caracterización macroscópica

Al aislar bacterias del suelo, los investigadores suelen utilizar primero la descripción de características macroscópicas. Esto ayuda en la clasificación de bacterias de acuerdo con su tamaño, forma, borde y elevación de las colonias que produces. El objetivo de este proyecto es desarrollar un software para el reconocimiento de imágenes con capacidad de ayudar en la clasificación de acuerdo con características macroscópicas. Al término de este proyecto, el software debe de ser capaz de producir un reporte de la cantidad de bacterias presentes en un cultivo en placa petri y hacer una clara clasificación de la morfología.

4. Otros proyectos

En adición a nuestros proyectos, varios miembros de la Tripulación 212 tienen y participarán en varios trabajos de divulgación, como entrevistas y divulgación científica. Una selección de entrevistas incluye: Venezia nuova: La Repubblica, el blog Mars Planet, el vlog STEMinist, ARA Catalonia, N+1 y Recerca en Accio. Además, la misión LATAM III ha sido seleccionada para el domo científico del festival WOMAD. Además, dos de nuestros miembros de tripulación han sido seleccionados para participar en AMADEE20 en donde además participarán del taller científico de AMADEE2′, donde presentarán sus drones y su performance en MDRS.

Mission Plan – April 1st

Crew 208 Medical Makers Mission Plan
Commander: Julielynn Wong
Executive Officer: Dean Jin
Health & Safety Officer: David Kim
Engineer & Astronomer: Amanda Manget
Greenhab Officer & Journalist: Erika Rydberg

Medical Makers is a global community of innovators, patients, and healthcare providers who use low-cost technologies to make sustainable solutions to save lives, time, and money. Medical Makers host Medical Make-A-Thons worldwide to crowdsource low-cost, high-quality, life-changing 3D printable solutions for 3D4MD’s digital library. Our MDRS projects include:

• 3D printing drone maps of MDRS and the surrounding Mars-like terrain
• Evaluating a new drone controller during flight tests, including an outdoor inspection of a Martian habitat during a simulated emergency
• Evaluating a low-cost, high-fidelity, 3D printed thoracentesis trainer designed to allow Crew Medical Officers, their back-ups, and healthcare professionals to attain and maintain life-saving surgical skills to serve astronauts on long space missions and the 5 billion people who lack access to safe, timely, and affordable surgical care
• Demonstrating the technical feasibility of bike-powered 3D printing by Martian analogue astronauts — who are following the International Space Station exercise bike schedule — to empower the 1 billion people without access to electricity to use portable 3D printing technologies
• Testing a wearable sensor that monitors wear time for 3D printed prosthetic hands to reduce the risk of complications
• 3D printing essential items on demand locally to save lives, time and money for the 3.75 billion people who live in remote or rural areas, the 136 million people who require humanitarian aid, and astronauts on long space missions
• 3D printing low-cost, high-quality medical devices for healthcare providers who serve the 3.75 billion people who live in remote or rural areas and astronauts on long space missions
• Testing a reusable and simple 3D printable ostomy system for stoma patients who cannot afford disposable ostomy appliances, a growing global industry that costs healthcare systems $2.5 billion a year
• Using reusable, personalized, biodegradable 3D printed straws to conserve water at MDRS and reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills and oceans

Crew 208 Medical Makers is grateful for the financial support of Dr. Robert Milkovich and Mrs. Marijana Milkovich, Ron Rivkind at Filaments.ca, and Schulich Leader Scholarships, Canada’s most coveted undergraduate STEM scholarships. Our MDRS projects are also made possible thanks to Atila Meszaros, David Mateus, and Shannon Rupert at the Mars Desert Research Station, Dr. Scott Parazynski and George Guerrero at Fluidity Technologies Inc., Jade Bilkey, Crew 207 Medical Makers, and members of the Medical Makers YGK, YHM, YKF, YMM, YVR, YYT and YYZ Chapters.

Crew 208 Medical Makers Mission Plan.pdf