Mission Plan – June 4th

Mission Plan, Crew 282 – Martian Biology III – June 4-10, 2023

Crew 282, Martian Biology III is a non-simulation biological survey of the Mars Desert Research Station sponsored by the Mars Society. Composed of scientists, historians, educators, and Mars Society personnel, the goal of this mission is to continue an ongoing investigation into the flora, fauna, and biota of the operational area surrounding this unique analog site. In 2019, Crew 210, Martian Biology I, the first expedition of this program, documented 40 vascular plant taxa for the station, building off collecting activity carried out during previous missions. Simultaneously, Crew 243, Mars Biology II, continued collecting vascular plants, finding 33 taxa newly reported for the MDRS operational area, and documented five lizard species, numerous mammals and birds, multiple insect taxa including ants and mosquitoes, advanced research on the history of Astrobiology, and provided online and in person educational opportunities to Canadian students. Martian Biology III seeks to continue documenting the biology of the station’s area and to continue our historical research.

Crew 282 will continue our documentation of vascular plants and lichens in the broader MDRS operational area – revisiting species rich habitats such as Salt Wash, Muddy Creek, and the Fremont River – and additionally carrying out a full day of botanizing in the Henry Mountains. These projects will be carried out by Paul Sokoloff, Jacopo Razzauti, Jordan Bimm, and Sergii Iakymov.

We will also continue documenting the mosquito and ant biodiversity of the station operational area at each of these sites as well, which will be led by Jacopo Razzauti. Jacopo will also be testing a new mosquito trap design.

During our biological investigations, Dr. Jordan Bimm will be conducting field research in support of his historical research project “Astrobiology in Action”. Through conversations and interviews with the MDRS assistant director and the crew, he hopes to further understand the long history and current practice of Astrobiology and the work of the Mars Society.

Post-mission, we plan to use the observation data and voucher specimen collections we collected on both Martian Biology II and Martian Biology III in peer-reviewed scientific papers, conference presentations, and a broad range of scholarly work, while the science communication pieces produced will share the story of MDRS and it’s unique biota for a long time to come.

Mission Fieldwork Itinerary

June 5, 2023 Fieldwork at Salt Wash (12N 504648, 4260207) [38.4902°, -110.9467°]

June 6, 2023 Fieldwork at McMillan Springs, Henry Mountains (12N 513393, 4213848) [38.0723°, -110.8473°]

June 7, 2023 Fieldwork at Fremont River (12N 518311, 4257841 [38.4687°, -110.7901°]

June 8, 2023 Fieldwork at Muddy Creek (12N 520729, 4246929) [38.3703°, -110.7627°]

June 9, 2023 Fieldwork at Salt Wash (12N 504648, 4260207) [38.4902°, -110.9467°]

Crew biographies, photos and mission patch – May 14th

Crew 281 Crew biographies, photos and mission patch 14May2023
Crew Bios
Ritupriya Patil, Executive Officer

Ritu is the Software Verification Operations Lead for Flight Controls at Joby Aviation in Santa Cruz, California. She has been testing the flight control systems for fixed wing, rotorcraft, and eVTOL aircrafts and has eight years of expertise in the aerospace industry. Ritu absolutely loves flight testing the electric air taxi she is currently working on. She is also involved in executing Control Law and Navigation Sensor tests using a range of software, processor in the loop, and hardware in the loop simulators representative of the eVTOL system. Ritu graduated with a master’s in aerospace engineering from UT Arlington, where she specialized in flight dynamics and controls. Outside of work, Ritu is an avid space enthusiast, and has completed multiple courses offered by the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences namely, Citizen Research Methods, Flight Test Engineering, Fundamentals of Astrodynamics, System Engineering for Human Space Flight. She has also collaborated on teaching Orbital Mechanics and Mission Simulation. Ritu is working on her private pilot’s license, and is an advanced open water diver. She is always working towards her dream to become an astronaut and set foot on Mars!

Ana Pires is a Researcher at INESC TEC’s Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems. She has a European Doctorate in Geosciences (Geological Resources and Geomaterials field), a MSc in Georesources and Geotechnics, and her background is Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. She is involved in several sustainable sea/marine mining projects, geotechnologies, geoengineering, and georesources. Her research is focused on Space-Earth-Sea interaction, Space Resources, Space Mining, geotechnics, geophysics, and the development of geo-technologies or geo-robotics for Space exploration. She was also the first Portuguese woman to finish with success the Scientist-Astronaut Program, under the framework of Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere) and the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS), supported by the NASA’s Flight Opportunities. Ana Pires is a Specialist Diver (SSI Certification), and she is passionate about exploring extreme environments. Since 2018 she has made efforts to promote human space flight, astrogeology, technology, robotics, and STEAM outreach activities in Portugal. Currently, she is the Co-Chair of Knowledge Management of “Space For All Nations|SFAN”, an initiative developed under the scope of the IIAS. In January of 2023, she was nominated for the ACTIVA Awards “Inspiring Women” in the Science Category, by the ACTIVA MAGAZINE in Portugal.

KC Shasteen is an engineer and researcher who recently graduated from the University of Arizona. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics from Midwestern State University and a Master’s degree in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Arizona. His thesis work involved using a physiological model to predict plant growth in vertical farms, using machine vision to monitor growth, and growing crops to calibrate and verify the model. He also has publications and continues to research ways to optimize growing facility designs for improving yields by adjusting factors such as planting density and HVAC control decisions. His long-term goals are to apply his engineering skills to design, develop, and create closed-atmosphere growing systems for use in food production and bioregenerative life support systems for off-world bases and, with luck, to personally help deploy and operate such systems on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system.

Megan Kane is a space professional with the goal of going to Mars. With a decade in the space industry Megan is now pursuing her PhD in Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona. After completing her Masters of Science at the International Space University Megan continued to pursue opportunities including a rehab mission at MDRS, NASA’a HERA mission and the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences’s Citizen Science projects. Today she runs the Lunar Mars Greenhouse at the University of Arizona researching Bioregenerative Life Support.

Rachel “RC” Jones

Amateur Radio Operator. With a passion for space communication, RC is striving to increase community interest in amateur radio. RC is working to support STEM education in the field of radio science. She is working with Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) to develop new STEAM materials.

Space Enthusiast. RC joined Project PoSSUM in class 1901; she has participated in EDU 101 and AER 101. Following her dream, she earned her private pilot’s license and achieved Padi’s Master Scuba Diver’s training to understand the unique challenges and needs of spacesuits.

Interdisciplinary. RC is building upon a strong background in space science and cybersecurity. Her current endeavors are founded on an extensive academic background with a BA in Political Science from LaGrange College, a BS in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity from the University of Maryland Global Campus, an MSc in Space Management from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, and a MA in Intelligence with a cyber focus from the American Military University. Currently, RC is pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Sciences from the University of North Dakota.

Mission Plan – May 14th

Crew 281 Mission Plan
Date: 05/14/2023
Overall Plan
The mission will be completed with 5 crew members. There are several research objectives for the mission described in the Research Projects section of this report. The mission plan is based around a 2 week mission to the red planet where the crew will conduct research, trial equipment, develop procedures, and provide a learning experience for the crew members.

● Megan Kane: Commander and Greenhab Officer
● Ritupriya Patil: Executive Officer and Crew Scientist
● Rachel Jones: Health Safety Officer
● Ana Pires: Crew Scientist
● KC Shasteen: Crew Engineer

The plan calls for 2-3 people to do EVA’s every day with the remaining crew members staying inside the hab. The plan is for the EVAs to occur primarily in the mornings. This will permit time to review any materials and prepare end of day EVA reports. Each EVA will include a 15 minute prebreath for safety of the crew.

The normal operations of the hab will be maintained as directed by the MDRS Handbook and Mission Support. Days will be split between operations, research, shared crew activities, and individual crew time. While each crew member has their research and operations focus, the activities will be supported by the entire crew. The crew engineer will be assisting with all of the technical aspects of the mission operations and research.
Research Projects
Greenhab – Megan
Two items of research related to the greenhab will be conducted:
propagation of Cacao (Chocolate) and
passive watering techniques to reduce labor and water consumption.

For propagation of Cacao three varieties of Cacao fruit will be used to propagate from seed. The research will be conducted in the Science Dome as the growth chamber needed for the early stage propagation is located there.

The passive watering system will be installed in the Greenhab. The process will involve selecting up to 10 planters in the greenhab to water using terracotta watering spikes. The consumption of water and labor time will be tracked for the control planters (using watering jug) and the test planters (using terracotta spikes).
Science – Ana
The research presented herein is related to geo-technologies and geomaterials characterization, for future construction and engineering on Mars. The main goals are to:

determine a traverse planning of the area;
carry out a geological and geomechanical characterization;
measure the rock and minerals hardness with 2 type of equipment Schmidt Hammer and Equotip (non-destructive testing equipment);
determine scanlines to carry out a geological assessment with a specific datasheet to register all the data;
collecting rocks and soils samples for future laboratory tests;
test a rock sampling device (scoop prototype) in a real environment and register all the adjustments/improvements for the future application in the field of ISRU.

Another part of the research is concerned with the long-term human presence on Mars and extreme environments. Therefore, it is important to test and wear clothes that can be appropriated to these type of missions. Ana Pires has been collaborating with researchers involved in the field of engineering materials, so the Crew will try a prototype of smart textiles (t-shirts and boxers) for extreme environments. The Crew will provide feedback about the use of these textiles during the mission for future improvements.
Science – Ritu
The research involves investigation of drone technology for efficient and safe extravehicular activities in Mars habitat exploration. There is an ongoing effort for space agencies worldwide, and the safety of astronauts remains a top priority during EVAs. This proposal aims to investigate the use of drone technology to
assist analogue astronauts in Mars habitat exploration, with route planning,
emergency medical assistance, and
video documentation of the EVA activity.
Other Projects
Ham Radio – Rachel
Communicate with Dayton Ham Radio Convention – Call in to the booth to connect to the ISS.
Interacting with the ARISS booth at the ham radio convention
Connect to 1 or more additional analogs: University of North Dakota, HISeas and/or SAM at the Biosphere. Connection will be either via HAM radio or zoom. These will be part of the simulation contacting other Mars bases.
STEM Education Videos – Rachel & Ana
With the assistance of the crew Rachel will record a series of educational videos related to STEM. These videos will be published later this year.

HUMAN RELATIONS / STEAM Archive (SFAN|Portuguese GeoTech Vision) – APires

During the mission Ana would like to get to know each member of the crew, conducting interviews, to understand and register the state of mind, aspirations, and goals of each member of the Crew and to register her personal experience.
Ana would also like to register images and videos during the mission, for STEAM activities in Portugal, under the scope of “SFAN|Space For All Nations” initiative (International Institute for Astronautical Sciences, PoSSUM Program).

Mission Plan – April 30th

JAMES BURK | Commander

ALINE DECADI | Executive Officer + Crew Geologist

CÉCILE RENAUD | Greenhab Officer + Crew Biologist


ERIN “ROBOTZWRRL” KENNEDY | Crew Robotics Engineer


KRIS DAVIDSON | Crew Journalist

We, the Transatlantic Mars Society, consisting of seven space professionals, plan to conduct several experiments and projects, including testing experimental robotic designs, new technologies for coordinated field science using Virtual Reality, biofeedback and pharmacology studies, simulating Mars-like conditions to grow algae for human food and oxygen production, blockchain-based voting and logistics management, and more. We aim to solve some of the challenges faced by future Mars astronauts, while also advancing technology and research for long-term human presence on Mars.

MarsVR – Coordinated Field Science Testing and Demonstrations + VR Terrain Scouting

Crew 261 will be the first to utilize the updated MarsVR application with real-time multi-participant capabilities while in simulation protocol at the MDRS. We will attempt to use it to plan and execute EVAs.

Crew 261 will be testing EVALink, a new system developed by the Mars Society’s Chicago chapter, which aims to enable real-time field science by providing long-range, low-power digital connectivity over ad hoc mesh network topologies. Powered by Meshtastic, an open-source hardware platform, EVALink will allow MDRS crew members on EVA to build an ad-hoc data network while exploring a field site, and sending back important information in near real-time, such as individual crew member’s excursion status, location information, and allow messages and photos to be sent back to the Hab (and into the VR experience) from the field.

Specifically, we first plan to utilize Garmin devices which duplicate the Meshtastic capability operationally, to build EVA experience and rigor amongst our crew. Then, we will utilize the prototype EVALink devices after performing initial field testing to ensure they are accurate and dependable. The MarsVR project team and EVALink team are available for remote support of these activities.

Bioreactor and Spirulina-Focused Experiments in GreenHab

Crew biologist Cecile Renaud is leading the crew’s effort to solve one of the challenges faced by future Mars astronauts: the need for life support systems that optimize growth conditions for food cultivation and oxygen supply. Spirulina has long been viewed as a promising food source for future Mars colonists. However, production of it requires a lot of energy, and nutrients are often wasted. Crew 261 will deploy a custom bioreactor developed by the Scotland-based company Algacraft (http://www.algacraft.com/), which simulates an active growing culture in a Mars-like environment. In addition, as part of her PhD program (UMons), Cecile will conduct biostimulation for consumable plants using Spirulina as biostimulant to improve plants health and growth.

Julien Villa-Massone, an engineer and software developer, created and put into action the software portion of the Algacraft bioreactor experiment. He will also perform in-situ testing to ensure that all operational requirements are met. Julien will use this energy-intensive device as a dispatchable load to test the first smart-grid network at MDRS. To accomplish this, he will need to add a specialized smart grid controller and use a low-power communications protocol that can prioritize a large number of appliances. This work is crucial for any isolated base where the ability of life support systems to access reliable power is necessary for human survival.

COSMOS – Pharmacological experiments

Health and Safety Officer Audrey Derobertmasure and Executive Officer Aline Decadi started the COSMOS project, a suite of experiments to test a new approach to pharmacological studies with the aim of optimizing, adapting and individualizing drug treatments. To date, very few manned pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) experiments have been performed, due to logistical and technical constraints, none in the cardiovascular domain. We will study the elimination of caffeine from the body before, during and after the mission. We will also evaluate the impact of the extreme environment and confinement during the MDRS mission on the markers of early vascular aging thanks to new non-invasive and easily transportable vascular exploration techniques.

Atmosphinder – Wind-powered Mars Exploration Rover Experiment

Crew robotics expert, Erin Kennedy, has designed Atmosphinder (http://robotzwrrl.xyz/atmosphinder/), an innovative wind-powered rover to investigate seasonal eruptions in the south polar region of Mars and the role these geomorphic processes play in the atmospheric system of Mars. The experimental prototype is a seven-foot tall robotic wheel with wind-powered sails that propel the rover. As the wind pushes the sails, the hoops begin to turn about a central bearing that is stabilized by reaction wheels. The electronics payload is suspended in the roll cage. The electronics are used to control sail trimming, precision drive module, sensors, reaction wheels, and lights, and also contain environmental sensors.

Nexus Aurora Rover

Crew 261 will also be testing a new Mars rover designed by the Internet-based engineering collective Nexus Aurora (https://nexusaurora.org/), that has multiple science instruments and capabilities for sample collection and analysis.

High-Performance Drones for VR/360 Content Creation

Commander James Burk and crew engineer Julien Villa-Massone, who is also an experienced pilot, will test pilot a VR-enabled high performance drone designed by Adapa360 (https://adapa360.com/) of Norway to capture additional terrain segments for the MarsVR project. The drone also has utility as a tool in unfolding recon and emergency situations.

We will also fly a Mavic Air 2 to capture drone footage of the MDRS campus and key terrain segments that will eventually appear in future MarsVR projects, and for other public outreach purposes.

Astronomy Observations

Executive officer and crew astronomer Aline Decadi will harness the incredible power of the Musk Observatory, and a small personal telescope, donated by long-time Mars Society volunteer Ryan Kennedy, to perform astronomical observations related to Mars and our solar system’s current state.


Finally, crew journalist Kris Davidson, a photojournalist with experience publishing work in prominent media outlets such as National Geographic, will document the crew’s activities and lifestyle at the MDRS throughout the two-week mission.

Marscoin Node & Voting/File Experiments

In a project spearheaded by noted crypto pioneer Lennart Lopin, Marscoin (https://www.marscoin.org/) is a cryptocurrency developed in 2014 with future Mars colonists in mind. Built with blockchain technology, Marscoin is poised to assume a greater role in the larger development of a fair and transparent society on Mars. During our mission we will utilize a new custom version of the Marscoin network ledger, developed by Lopin and his team, to securely and efficiently perform crew-wide voting on initiatives of common interest (similar to votes at an early Mars settlement), as well as assisting the taking of inventory and file storage (IPFS) using immutable blockchain technology. Crew 261 intends to install a Marscoin node at the Mars Desert Research Station, making use of a new general purpose computer file server that will be a permanent addition to the campus, and has the added benefit of allowing future crews to store and share research and other information relevant to the MDRS program.

UCF Behavioral Study

Crew 261 will participate in an ongoing research study, led by researcher Andres Kaosaar as a part of his PhD studies at the University of Central Florida, on how emotions and coping strategies affect teams operating in isolated, confined and extreme environments.

Mission Plan – April 16th


Hypatia I’s Mission

Hypatia I is an all-female, multidisciplinary, and intergenerational crew, selected to participate in an analog mission to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in April 2023. Its goals include (i) conducting research related to Mars and to space exploration more broadly, (ii) developing scientific outreach and communication activities, and (iii) promoting STEM careers, particularly among young girls. The Commander of Hypatia I is Mariona Badenas Agustí, who was part of another MDRS Crew (LATAM IIII) in 2019. Inspired by that experience, Mariona made it her
goal to return to the MDRS with a team of leading Catalan female scientists. Her goal was clear: to perform high-quality space-related research and to encourage young people to pursue scientific careers. The Hypatia project was launched on February 11, 2021, coinciding with the International Day for Women and Girls in Science. On that day, Mariona Badenas Agustí and crew member Carla Conejo González (Executive Officer) met to discuss the possibility of creating Hypatia I and selecting its crew. After two years and a half of hard work, the Hypatia I team is grateful to the MDRS Executive Team for the
opportunity to conduct a Martian mission and work towards achieving our goals.

Research Projects

One of the main goals of Hypatia I is to conduct space-related research during its rotation at the MDRS. Different research projects, led by the members of Hypatia I, will be carried out in four major disciplines:

Space biology
Scientific communication

Some of these research projects include:

Observation of the ‘Martian’ sky
The MDRS is a unique place to observe the night sky thanks to its low light pollution and the dry climate of the desert. The station has two telescopes with which the properties of star clusters will be studied, asteroids and other minor bodies will be searched for, and astrophotography will be used as an outreach resource for the public. Circadian rhythms in space One of the most important challenges of a future manned trip to Mars are human limitations. Astronauts have been found to have problems with sleep because they work long hours, face drastic changes in their routines, have different hours of light than on Earth, and face environmental factors that disrupt their circadian rhythms. The members of Hypatia I will use wristband devices to monitor neurophysiological constants related to sleep for 24/7 with the aim of detecting any imbalances that may affect their health and mission performance.

Aquaculture on Mars
Mars is a hostile planet to live on and grow food because the environmental factors are different from those on Earth. However, future human settlements will need resources to feed themselves. The members of Hypatia I will study how gravity alteration affects the DNA of cells, using a model fish that is used in many laboratories around the world: the zebrafish.

Single-cell intelligence
The Blob (Physarum polycephalum) will become one more member of the Hypatia I mission. It is a macroscopic single-celled organism that can move several centimeters per hour. Despite not having a nervous system or brain, the Blob is capable of learning and solving complex nutritional problems, such as finding the shortest path to feed itself. In hostile environments, the Blob can survive for decades in a state of hibernation. Inside a safety cabin designed for the mission, the Blob will be subjected to various conditions that will allow us to study its learning and decision-making abilities.

Martian GPS
The different rovers that have arrived on Mars navigate the surface of the red planet using various satellites orbiting around it. These connections are not constant and can fail. At the MDRS, we will explore two ways of navigating through the Utah desert. The more classic way is to use the stars as a reference in the night sky. The more innovative way is to use the constellation of CubeSats nano-satellites orbiting above to navigate the surface.

Iron batteries powered by urine
Batteries are a key element in a manned space mission, but one of the greatest burdens of future trips to Mars is that rockets can not carry too much weight if they want to save on fuel. Therefore, this research project aims to test batteries based on iron chemistry, an abundant material on the red planet, that will use the urine of the crew to function.

Daily reports to planet Earth
The crew of Hypatia I will have to write a daily report that explains day by day the activities of the crew at MDRS. The document will also include a description of the progress of the different research projects. At the same time, it will also include photos of the highlights of the day to stay in touch with Earth.


Biographies, photos and mission patch – April 16th

Crew biographies, photos and mission patch

Mariona Badenas-Agustí
Crew Commander & Crew Astronomer
Mariona Badenas Agusti earned a degree in Astrophysics from Yale University, a master’s degree in Astrophysics, Cosmology, and High Energy Physics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, she uses computational tools and observations from space telescopes to study stellar evolution and to discover and characterize exoplanets (planets in orbit outside the Solar System). In parallel, she spends much of her free time giving educational lectures on the universe and space exploration. Outside academia, she is very interested in the aerospace industry and is a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council and also of Women in Aerospace Europe.

Carla Conejo González
Crew Executive Officer & Crew Biologist
Carla Conejo González is the co-founder of Polaris, a science-travel app. She is also the former Head of Science Programs at the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera. She earned a degree in Human Biology by the Pompeu Fabra University, a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industry by the same university and a postgraduate’s degree in Science Communication by the University of Vic. She has done research in neurobiology at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, in Spain, and the University of Bologna, in Italy. She has worked as scientific advisor and documentalist in the TV3 program Quèquicom. She has also been a volunteer and Director of International Relations in MAGMA, Association for Promoting Youth Research, representative at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the USA, and Vice-President of the science diplomacy association Scientists Dating Forum. She combines her passion for science education and outreach with travelling to get to know this special planet that we have been lucky to inhabit.

Ariadna Farrés Basiana
Crew Scientist & Health and Safety Officer
Ariadna Farrés Basiana has a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics by the University of Barcelona. Specialized in astrodynamics and celestial mechanics, she has devoted part of her scientific career to the study of the use of solar sail for missions in the Earth-Sun system. Currently she works with the Flight Dynamics team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, as an expert on the impact solar radiation pressure has on Liberation point orbits, and studying how to minimize the cost of station-keeping maneuvers. Collaborating with the James Webb Space Telescope and Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.

Laia Ribas
GreenHab Officer
Laia Ribas is a senior researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). She studied at the University Autonomous of Barcelona where she obtained her Ph.D. in biological sciences in 2006. She worked as a postdoc at the Imperial College of London, United Kingdom. She leads her own research team (Repro-Immune Team) to study the effects of the environmental factors on the sexual phenotype of fish, focusing on the interactions between the reproductive and the immune systems. She is interested in identifying molecular markers with the aim of improving aquaculture production. She is a member of SONET and participated in the awarded Nüwa project to design a city for 1 million people on Mars. She is committed to outreach by participating and leading projects, e.g. Sex in the Sea-ty.

Núria Jar
Crew Journalist
Núria Jar is a freelance journalist, specialized in science and health. She currently collaborates with the radio program El Matí de Catalunya Ràdio, the public science news agency SINC and the magazine Muy Interesante. She also co-directs the 5W Magazine podcasts and coordinates the radio workshop for the Master’s Degree in Scientific, Medical and Environmental Communication at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). With more than 10 years of experience in journalism, she has worked for the main Catalan and Spanish media outlets, such as El País, La Vanguardia and TV3, as well as international journals, such as Scientific American. She recently produced the audio series ‘The Coronavirus Scientists’, funded by COVID emergency funds for journalists from the National Geographic Society. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards, such as the Concha García Campoy Award in the written press category for the report ‘Cuando el médico se convierte en paciente’, published in La Vanguardia. She has a Degree in Journalism from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Master’s Degree in Scientific, Medical and Environmental Communication by UPF. She is also a member of the Catalan Association of Scientific Communication and the Spanish Association of Scientific Communication. She has also taken an active part in different editions of the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in Seoul, South Korea, and Lausanne, Switzerland.

Neus Sabaté
Crew Engineer
Neus Sabaté is an ICREA Professor at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona and co-founder of Fuelium, a spin-off company that aims at developing and commercializing paper-based batteries for single use portable devices. Physicist by education, she has devoted her scientific career to the development of microsystems such as physical sensors and power sources. She is the leader of the Self-Powered Engineered Devices Group (SPEED) that focuses on the development of sustainable diagnostic devices that contain a minimal amount of electronic components and extract the energy required to perform the test from the sample under analysis. Her research has been granted by relevant institutions like the European Research Council or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is highly motivated to take her research out of the lab and test it in real environments as a first step of a successful deployment of her inventions to society.

Cesca Cufí-Prat
Crew Mission Specialist
Cesca Cufí Prat is an aerospace engineer specialized in space systems. She is graduated in Aerospace Engineering at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC, Spain) and earned a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with a specialization in Space Systems at Institute Supérieur de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE Supaero, France). She has been working on the field of attitude and orbital control systems (AOCS) for the last three years in Airbus Defence and Space where her work is currently focused on high precision instruments for Earth observation.

Mission Plan – April 2nd

During these two weeks, our crew will aim to accomplish their experiments in the best way possible. Every crewmate has chosen an experiment in their domain of expertise and has prepared it thoroughly. Here are the details and mission plans of every experiment.

“Confinement FOMO” – Aglaé Sacré

FOMO, “Fear of missing out”, can appear when we are cut out of society. The Mars simulation completely cuts the crew off of the network and the outer world, which makes it the best place to study how the lack of social media affects the mental condition of not wanting to miss on something. This analysis will be done by anonymous questionnaires before, during (30 min every other day) and after the mission. This way Aglaé could compare how the crew used to use social media, how they predicted they would live without it and how they actually lived without it. Aglaé will be doing this for her Master’s thesis that she will present in June to the jury of UCLouvain.

Collaborator: François Lambotte, Director of School of Communication at UCLouvain.

“Radiation: how attached are we?” – Thomas Stinglhamber

Every day, everywhere, different types of radiation attack us. On Mars, radiation will be way more brutal and dangerous than on Earth due to the difference of the atmosphere. It is thus very important to be able to have easy ways to measure the dosage of this radiation. Thomas will install dosimeters both inside and outside the station to check how radiation proof the station actually is. The crewmates also get an individual dosimeter that they wear at all times to measure their personal dosage. Complementary to this, Thomas will use a Gamma detector to map out the dosage of the soil and try to find radioactive isotopes near the station.

Collaborator: Pascal Froment, CEO of BeSure

“High Speed Rotor Manufacturing” – Gwenael le Bussy

The Martian atmosphere is a hundred times less dense than the one on Earth. This means that every flying object we would like to use for observation, scouting or measurements needs to be adapted to the physics of that new environment. Like the ones on Ingenuity, the rotor blades have to have a special shape. Naturally, every piece of equipment may encounter a problem and need to be repaired or replaced. The problem cannot be predicted precisely in advance, which means that we need an adaptable solution. Gwenael will study how he can use 3D printing to model (with SolidWorks with NACA profile) and print rotor blades for the Martian atmosphere. Afterwards, he will test them with a high speed motor and measure their thrust with a scale.

“Space Oddity” – Ioana Dimitrova

Long term spaceflight separates astronauts from society and their loved ones for months and months. It also keeps them confined without leaving them a possibility to feel free and do whatever they want. This can lead to mental health problems, tensions within the team and can put the mission at risk. Music could be a cheap, easily transportable and effective solution to this problem. Choosing your personal music to help you relax could have multiple benefits. It could help you transport yourself elsewhere, work through your emotions and stimulate your senses. Ioana will test if this theory is true by measuring cardiac parameters during relaxing times with and without music chosen by the crew. The technology used for the measurements is KINO by HeartKinetics. It is an app that you put on your chest and that analyses your heart.

Collaborator: HeartKinetics

“Hide and seek during radiation storms” – Augustin Tribolet

As we mentioned earlier, radiation is an important factor in a Mars mission. If we are to live there or try to make bacteria or plants survive, we must find the most protected areas on the surface. An easy way to be able to find those places could be to use a drone to map out the area and to find these places. Augustin will use a drone to scan the surface and generate a 3D model by photogrammetry. This digital technique allows us to build the 3D model from photographic images. He will work closely with Agnes who studies extremophiles (see below) to analyse how effective his hiding places actually are.

Collaborator: Jerome Loic, Bernard Foing, Jeff Rayner, CEO of MXTreality

“Mars well-being” – Ttele Hiriart

Confinement, isolation, extreme conditions… All these factors affect mental health and team dynamics. How do girls react differently to boys? How does the team work together? How do the dynamics evolve? Which teamwork tools actually work? During the mission, Ttele will keep a diary of her observations of the team and different crewmates. She will compare these observations with the ones made by other mission simulations in Antarctica for example. She will also introduce some teamwork exercises to see if they help. At the end of the mission, she will present her observations of the ups and downs of the mission, how the team interacted and different lessons the team has learned or must work on for future missions.

“I will survive” – Agnes Dekeyser

I will survive !

As you may know, the planet Mars is currently not habitable for life as we know it due to its extreme

conditions. We are talking about an atmospheric pressure that is 1% of that found on Earth (at sea

level), an average temperature of -60°C, and an atmosphere composed of only 0.1% oxygen.

However, there are microorganisms on Earth that could withstand such conditions. They are called

"extremophiles". These are microorganisms that live in conditions that are lethal to most other

microorganisms. They live on the seabed, in the earth’s crust, in glaciers, and in many other extreme

environments. During this simulated mission on the planet Mars, our Crew Executive Officer will

study the viability of two strains of extremophiles after exposition to MDRS environmental conditions

: Deinococcus Radiodurans and Cupriavidus Metallidurans. Each strain will be exposed outside for 8

days in anaerobic condition. Their viability will be compared to their unexposed analogues based on

CFUs (Colony-Forming-Units) analysis.

“We are what we eat” – Antoine de Barquin

The goal of his experiment is to understand the impact of specific nutrition and confinement on the intestinal flora of astronauts. To conduct this study, a sample of each crew member was taken before departure to perform an analysis of intestinal bacteria by targeted metagenomics. This analysis is performed at the LIMS MBnext laboratory which collaborates with our crew for this experiment. Antoine will monitor everything the crew eats, type of food, quantities, time of the day etc. He will start analysing the data during the mission and will conclude the analysis after the return on Earth. The crew will give “post-mission” samples. This way, Antoine will be able to compare and analyse how the team is affected by everyone’s microbiote.

Collaborator: LIMS MBnext Laboratory

Mission Plan – February 12th


Crew 275 Mission Plan 12Feb2023

Crew 275 – ISAE-Supaero (France)

Crew Commander: Jeremy Rabineau
Executive Officer / Crew Engineer: Quentin Royer
Crew Journalist: Marie Delaroche
Health & Safety Officer: Corentin Senaux
Crew Botanist: Adrien Tison
Crew Scientist: Alice Chapiron
Crew Astronomer: Alexandre Vinas

The Crew 275, gathering 7 students from ISAE-Supaero (Toulouse, France), is planning to perform a wide range of scientific experiments and technology demonstrations during their mission at the MDRS. These activities will be performed based on the nine-year experience of ISAE-Supaero crews at the MDRS. For the first time, the mission will last a total of 4 weeks.


Two experiments from the French National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) have been performed at the MDRS for several years already. We are planning to gather additional data for this season as well. These activities will require EVAs.

· LOAC (Light Optical Aerosol Counter): LOAC is an optical aerosol counter, measuring the concentrations of different particles in the air and classifying them by size.
Related EVAs: Two EVAs planned for the first week to install the device. Every two days, the batteries will have to be changed and the data will have to be collected. The latter procedures can be part of other EVAs.
External points of contact: Jean-Pierre Lebreton and Jean-Baptiste Renard, CNRS.
Point of contact within the crew: Alexandre Vinas.

· Mega-Ares: Mega-Ares is a sensor precisely measuring the electric field and the conductivity of the air. It is the little brother of Micro-Ares, the only payload of the Schiaparelli lander (ExoMars 2016).
Related EVAs: Performed simultaneously with the EVAs planned for LOAC. Two EVAs planned for the first week to install the device. Every two days, the batteries will have to be changed and the data will have to be collected. The latter procedures can be part of other EVAs.
External points of contact: Jean-Pierre Lebreton and Jean-Baptiste Renard, CNRS.
Point of contact within the crew: Alexandre Vinas.


Three technology demonstrations are planned, one of them being the continuation of last year’s mission of ISAE-Supaero (Crew 263). They are based on based on technologies developed by the French Space Agency (CNES) and its health subsidiary (MEDES), as well as a private company (Nucleus VR).

· AI4U: AI4U is an AI tool designed to help and assist astronauts in their daily tasks (environmental measurements, voice recognition, emergency procedures). The aim is to test this AI assistant in real or close-to-real scenarios.
Related EVAs: None.
External points of contact: Gregory Navarro and Laure Boyer, CNES.
Point of contact within the crew: Quentin Royer.

· Echofinder: Onboard the ISS, ultrasound scanners are teleoperated by trained specialists. As we travel further away from Earth, communication delays will increase and teleoperated devices will no longer be usable. The goal of Echofinder is to enable autonomous ultrasound acquisition sessions without any knowledge in medicine and any communication link with an experienced sonographer. The Echofinder tool uses augmented reality and an AI to help the operator capture usable imagery of the subject’s organs.
Related EVAs: None.
External point of contact: Aristée Thévenon, MEDES.
Point of contact within the crew: Marie Delaroche.

· Digital twins: Evaluation of a digital twin training method to help astronaut using hardware and better visualizing how to fix or use an object. This experiment will use a digital environment with a numerical 3D model of an object.
Related EVAs: None.
External point of contact: Aristée Thévenon, MEDES.
Point of contact within the crew: Marie Delaroche.

Human Factors

Three human factor experiments are planned for this season. They are the result of a collaboration with the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), the French Military Institute of Biomedical Research (IRBA), and the University of Burgundy (France).

· KTHitecture: Measure of the stress of analog astronauts and of the influence of environmental parameters on the stress using Polar bands bracelets, sleep monitoring using Dreem headbands, questionnaires, evaluation of the position of the analog astronauts in the station, and environmental measurement (temperature, humidity, etc.).
Related EVAs: None.
External point of contact: Michail Magkos, KTH.
Point of contact within the crew: Corentin Senaux.

· ETERNITI: Study of the psycho-physio-cognitive functioning and of the benefits of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) in the context of Mars analog missions. taVNS consists in a non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve at the level of the ear. It is a very encouraging candidate as a countermeasure to mitigate the harmful effects of future interplanetary missions and improve individual performance. In the recent years, taVNS has indeed shown its potential to reduce symptoms, improve cognitive performance, and enhance recovery.
Related EVAs: No dedicated EVAs. However, this experiment will make use of EVAs planned for other experiments to evaluate their impact on the level of stress.
External point of contact: Barbara Le Roy, IRBA.
Point of contact within the crew: Jeremy Rabineau.

· Adapt Mars: Self-report questionnaires to explore some aspects linked to individual and social adaptation to isolated and confined extreme environments. The aim is to examine the social, emotional, occupational, and physical impact of these environments. Other objectives include: the impact on individual psychological adaptation factors (stress, recovery, defense mechanism, etc.) and interpersonal relationships (cohesion, leadership, etc.).
Related EVAs: None.
External points of contact: Michel Nicolas and Lou Perrot, University of Burgundy.
Point of contact within the crew: Corentin Senaux.


Two botany experiments are planned to take place at the Green Hab. They are designed with the support of researchers from ISAE-Supaero and NASA.

· Aquapony: The aim of this experiment is to test aquaponics systems inside the Green Hab and to evaluate their viability in Mars analog missions.
Related EVAs: None.
External point of contact: Nicolas Drougard, ISAE-Supaero.
Point of contact within the crew: Adrien Tison.

· Microgreens: The idea behind this activity is to grow crops of microgreens in the Green Hab. One of the main advantages of microgreens is that they grow quickly, meaning that four crops could be harvested in four weeks, with the possibility to include them in the food consumption of the crew. The focus will be put on the impact of a few conditions on how microgreens can grow in the Green Hab, including with water from the aquaponics systems.
Related EVAs: None.
External point of contact: Christina Johnson, NASA.
Point of contact within the crew: Adrien Tison.

Geology & Exploration

Two geology and exploration experiments are planned and will require dedicated EVAs. They have been prepared with scientists from CNRS and ISAE-Supaero. One of the experiments includes the use of a drone for which a license has been obtained by a crew member (Quentin Royer).

· MetMet: Test of material used to measure the magnetic susceptibility and electrical conductimetry of rocks to rapidly assess their type. This material is currently used to differentiate meteorites from terrestrial rocks.
Related EVAs: One EVA per week to collect samples.
External point of contact: Jerome Gattacceca, CNRS.
Point of contact within the crew: Alice Chapiron.

· Photogrametry: Test of the added value of having a 3D map of a terrain (mapped with an Anafi drone from Parrot) to prepare EVAs and facilitate exploration. These tests will include the localization and identification of specific objects of interest during EVAs, with and without prior familiarization with a 3D map of the terrain.
Related EVAs: A pilot EVA planned during the first week. Then three EVAs will be planned each week. For a given week, all EVAs will be performed at the same location (one for the 3D mapping and two for the exploration with or without the 3D mapping).
External point of contact: Raphaelle Roy, ISAE-Supaero.
Point of contact within the crew: Quentin Royer.


One biology experiment has been prepared with the university of Hawaii and will require dedicated EVAs.

· Biofinder: The aim of this experiment is to identify traces of life with a fluorescence technology instrument during EVA.
Related EVAs: One EVA per week to collect samples (in parallel with the MetMet EVAs).
External point of contact: Anupam Misra, University of Hawaii.
Point of contact within the crew: Alice Chapiron.


One astronomy project has already been prepared with Peter Detterline at the Mars Society.

· Asteroid characterization: The aim of this project is to measure the lightcurve, velocity, and rotation rate of pre-identified asteroids. It will make use of the C14 telescope in the robotic observatory at a frequency of two to three nights per week.
Related EVAs: None.
External point of contact: Peter Detterline, Mars Society.
Point of contact within the crew: Corentin Senaux.


· France Televisions: Video documentary that will be part of the nightly news show on the channel France 3. Shooting is planned during week four (March 7th).
Related EVAs: No dedicated EVAs but the EVA planned during this day may be longer due to the presence of the journalist.
External point of contact: Keely Sullivan den Bergh, France Televisions.
Point of contact within the crew: Marie Delaroche.

· BBC: Video documentary. Shooting scheduled for one day at the end of week three (March 3rd or 4th), in addition to a few hours of filming without any interactions with the crew.
Related EVAs: No dedicated EVAs but the EVA planned during this day may be longer due to the presence of the journalist.
External point of contact: Nina Kojima, Partisan Media Limited.
Point of contact within the crew: Marie Delaroche.

Members Biographies – January 1st

Kshitij Mall: Commander (India)
Kshitij Mall is a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Center for Integrated Systems in Aerospace, Purdue University. He obtained his Ph.D. and Masters degrees from the School of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Purdue University. He was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the department of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University in 2019. Previously, he completed B. Tech. in Mechanical Engineering at JSSATE Noida, India and then worked for a year at Infosys Technologies Ltd. as a Computer Systems Engineer Trainee. His research interests lie in the areas of Optimal Control Theory, Atmospheric Flight Mechanics, Explainable Artificial Intelligence, and Human-Class Mars missions. He is a member of AIAA. His crew call sign is Chai.

Arly Black: Crew Scientist/Executive Officer (Canada)
Arly Black is a PhD Candidate in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, majoring in Astrodynamics. She works in the Space Information Dynamics Group, with a research focus on categorizing orbital debris in cislunar space. Earlier Ph.D. work involved research on passive, aerodynamically stable drag sail deorbit devices for the removal of debris from low-Earth orbits. She obtained her master’s degree from the same program at Purdue University with a major in Propulsion, and her thesis work involved the study of reaction kinetics of hypergolic propellants. Arly received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Queen’s University in Canada, and afterwards worked for three years as a Completions Field Engineer with Schlumberger, before pursuing her graduate education. Arly is an avid reader and a perpetual student. She enjoys hiking, skiing, cycling, traveling the world, playing with her German Shepherd Chloe, and making chocolate. Her crew call sign is Maple.

Adriana Brown: Crew Geologist (USA)
Adriana Brown is a recent graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience. Her undergraduate research focused on stable isotope geochemistry and a paleoclimate reconstruction of Death Valley. She is currently applying to graduate schools to study geochemistry to explore questions about deep time processes on Earth and their applications on other planets. In her free time, she enjoys cycling, hiking, cooking, and reading. Her crew call sign is Rocky.

Mason Kuhn: Crew Engineer (USA)
Mason Kuhn is a senior undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. His primary interests within the field of Mechanical Engineering are Aeronautics and Automotives. In accordance with an interest in Aeronautics, Mason will be conducting research at MDRS using a Skydio 2 Drone for scouting, navigation, and search & rescue. Upon graduating from Purdue in May of 2023, he will move to Saginaw, Michigan for a full-time role as a Systems Integration Engineer for Nexteer Automotive. In addition, he has internship work experience as a design engineer and project manager. Mason is from Lockport, Illinois, has an interest in professional and college sports, and is also an avid golfer in his free time. He is extremely excited and prepared for the two-week Mars simulation filled with researching areas of interest, completing team projects, and taking in as much of the MDRS experience as possible. His crew call sign is Scout.

Kenneth Pritchard: Crew Journalist (USA)
Kenny Pritchard is a second-year master’s thesis student within the school of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. His research lies in the area of autonomous space habitat design and decision making with the Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats Institute (RETHi). He graduated with a BS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in December 2021. In his undergraduate career, he held extracurricular roles including Director of Activities for Purdue Space Day, National Director of Operations for Arnold Air Society, and several Air Force ROTC leadership positions. Having been commissioned through ROTC, Kenny is a second lieutenant with an assignment to attend USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training after his planned graduation in May 2022. His crew call sign is Hemingway.

Megan Rush: Health and Safety Officer (USA)
Megan is a senior Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering undergraduate student at Purdue University. She is a cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) where she has held leadership positions that include Flight Commander, Special Events Coordinator, and Vice Wing Commander. After she graduates in December 2023, Megan will commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force as a developmental engineer. She will stay at Purdue to pursue her master’s degree in aerospace engineering. Her research experience includes creating models of hand-held tools to 3D print and use in a remote environment. Bringing a 3D printer to Mars would be challenging but could be very advantageous. In her free time, Megan is a certified personal trainer and enjoys strength training and creating workouts for friends and clients. She is from Orlando, Florida where she spends time reading, fishing, and being with family at the beach and Disney. Her crew call sign is Xerox.

Madelyn Whitaker: Greenhab Officer (USA)
Madelyn Whitaker is an undergraduate student in biological engineering at Purdue Univeristy, concentrating in cellular and biomolecular engineering with minors in biology, biotechnology, and data driven agriculture. She is a member of ASGSR and Alpha Epsilon. Her research interests lie in the areas of plant physiology and stress responses, and plant and microbial symbiosis in closed inhabitation. During her stay at MDRS, she will be testing effects of grey water usage and Astrobiome application on plant yield, photosynthetic efficiency, and overall microbial diversity. She has previously completed research in organic waste repurposing, plant growth in lunar and Martian regolith, and other plant stress projects relating to astrobotany and interplanetary agriculture. Madelyn hopes to continue future doctoral work in the area of controlled environment agriculture, as well as biological and plant life support systems for lunar and Martian missions. Her crew call sign is Sprout.

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