Mission Summary – Crew 187 – Team Latam II

Mars Desert Research Station

Mission Summary

Crew 187 – Team Latam II

 

Commander/Astronomer: Cynthia Yacel Fuertes Panizo (Peru)

Executive Officer: Atila Kahlil Meszaros Henostroza (Peru)

Crew Engineer: Luis José Antonio Díaz López (Peru)

GreenHab Officer: Hernán David Mateus Jiménez (Colombia)

Crew Scientist/EVA Officer: Oscar Ivan Ojeda Ramirez (Colombia)

Health and Safety Officer: Danton Iván Bazaldua Morquecho (Mexico)

Journalist: Tania Maria Robles Hernandez (Mexico)

 

Commander’s Statement

 

I had the honor of working with a highly talented crew, not only professionally, but also personally. Our roots come from Peru, Colombia, and Mexico; but in our hearts, we carry the responsibility of representing all of Latin America, which we will always do with our best effort. Each member of the crew was a key to success the mission; their experiences, knowledge in science and engineering, their high commitment to make the simulation as real as possible, his teamwork and constant support were valuable; always following the philosophy of “All for one and one for all!”.

Every day on Mars was a great adventure; we celebrated a Martian birthday, we recharged a diesel tank, we saw the sun, the moon, the constellations, among other wonders of the universe, we were the first explorers of a canyon, and we had the honor that all the crew wishes to have, to give the name to a canyon and a road; in this way El Dorado Canyon and Despacito Road – because you have to go slowly along this road for the safety of each crew member – are now part of the MDRS map. El Dorado was an ancient legend about a city full of gold that challenged every explorer who dared to look for it. For us to call it that reflects the curiosity that awoke in us as new explorers of Mars and the desire to leave in there a Latin American mark.

I feel proud of each member of this crew since at their young age they have achieved great things with that courage and strength that characterizes every Latino. No matter how big the challenge and the obstacles that each one has to overcome, I am sure that with effort, courage, and dedication they will be able to do it; as well as we all defeated together the adversities that they had in our stay in the MDRS. In these fabulous 15 days, each one gained experience, acquired new knowledge, expanded his way of seeing the universe and learned from others. More than being part of a crew, we are part of a family … a Martian family!

The crew 187 is eternally grateful for the support and trust gave by The Mars Society, Dr. Robert Zubrin, Dr. Shannon Ruppert, Mission Support and all the people and institutions that believe in each one of us.

 

Ad Astra,

Cynthia Fuertes Panizo

Commander of the Crew 187 – MDRS

 

Summary of the EVA’s activities

EVAs on Space exploration are not routine, and for sure, in the first stages of Mars exploration, will surely keep that trend. Every EVA is different to the other, not only because the goals change, also because the circumstances change as well. One of the most interesting aspects of the simulation while on MDRS is the possibility to simulate such activities and experience the first two statements firsthand. While most of the crew’s projects were meant to be developed in or close to the habitat and campus, performing EVAs is an extraordinary opportunity to learn and test ourselves in a physical and psychological way. To be able to test our capacity of reaction to the unexpected, to solve problems that arise from thin air, to cope with stress, and to be able to come back home every day, to a cup of warm chocolate, and be ready the next day to go through that again. All that while wearing the space suit simulator, complete with gloves and boots.

Crew 187 performed a total of 15 EVAs, not counting the frequent excursions of our engineer to the generator. Most of our destinations were suggested by Director Shannon, taking us to previously unexplored zones of the MDRS area. Some of the EVAs where more routine, used to cycle the batteries of the rovers, in order to extend their life, 4 of this EVAs were performed. The other EVAs allowed us to test the projects of some of our crewmembers. The general testing was successful, attaining most of the science goals. Also, we were able to explore places that had not been visited before, or in a very long time by previous crews. Most of the activities went without trouble, but it’s important to mention the finding of the cougar prints, as well as the battery drain of Deimos, which led the team to find solutions for taking the vehicle and themselves home.

Oscar Ojeda

EVA Officer

 

Summary of the Greenhab

In the end, the Greenhab was as beautiful as the beginning. During the mission, we had to make some changes in the interior to give more space to the aquaponics and take care of the plants that were in front of the fan that had been damaged. After these modifications, we received a high resistance tarpaulin to place it under the cover and protect the plants that are exposed to solar radiation. During the two weeks, 3 projects were developed in the Greenhab, which involved an assembly of aquaponics, germination of different types of quinoa in two types of soil, one analogous to Mars and another commercial. In addition, we worked on the measurement of evapotranspiration of a quinoa crop in Martian analogous soil, the data that was obtained will be analyzed to give recommendations for the Greenhab and the irrigation process.

 

David Mateus

Greenhab Officer

 

 

Summary of the Operation reports

 

During our stay at the MDRS, the diesel tank was recharged for a total of 300 gallons, which allowed us to feed the electric generator, in charge of supplying power to the Habitat and all the structures of the station. It should be noted that due to the problem of water level control over the bedrooms, we successfully manufactured an alarm with a water level sensor to be alerted at the precise moment in which the key was to be closed.

Also, based on the problem raised with one of the Rovers during a long-term EVA, we implemented a security protocol in which, from now on, it is mandatory to carry a survival kit (food and tools), as well as thick ropes that allow towing a vehicle in the event of a breakdown.

 

Luis Lopez

Crew Engineer

 

 

Final reports of the Projects

 Mobile application as help agent in MDRS

Cynthia Yacel Fuertes Panizo

Systems Engineer. Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima – Peru

cynthiayfp@gmail.com

According to Gardner, Android is the Operating System with more users around the world, therefore the apps that I will develop will be for Android. I am working using Unity, Monodevelop, Vuforia, JDK and Android SDK.

During the Sim, I worked doing the app for Musk Observatory. I organize this app into 5 parts: Safety Instructions, Potential Hazards, Hand Control, Alignment, and Focus. When you select the first option, a PDF will be downloaded with the Safety Instructions. In the second case, a pop up will be displayed with the advice of the Potential Hazards. In the third case, it will allow to recognize the Hand Control of the telescope and overlapping it with the main parts of it and when you select it you will be able to know a short concept about each one. For the fourth and fifth case, a PDF will be downloaded for each one. Also, I have the intention of working with the equipment of the science dom. I already collected the information that I need to do it. Moreover, I have the intention to test the final app with future crews.

 

Spreading space issues using a mobile application

Cynthia Yacel Fuertes Panizo

Systems Engineer. Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima – Peru

cynthiayfp@gmail.com

During the Sim, I worked collecting the information that I need, like pictures, videos, 3D mapping of some zones that we went and so on. When I come back to Peru, I will start to create the app and in the end, I am planning to test it in a school of a vulnerable area of Peru in order to spread a different kind of topics like MDRS, Mars, Space and so on.

 

 Resistance of Peruvian crops to Mars analog soil

Atila Meszaros

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima – Perú

atilameszaros1@gmail.com

Three kinds of quinoa and one of kiwicha were selected to prove their resistance to Mars analog soil and to prove their value for being included in future martian diets. During Sol 7, three replicas and one control were planted. They’ve been watered once a day with 250 mL of water. Till now, the control hasn’t germinated, and we are expecting, even the ones that are planted on the mars analog soil, to start germinating during the next two Sols.

 

 Aquaponics trade-offs and comparison with regular gardening methods on MDRS

Atila Meszaros

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima – Perú

atilameszaros1@gmail.com

This project will be developed through the following months and will be taken within the intern program, with the support of the Green Hab Officers of the following crews to keep it running. Initially only the hydroponic functions will be used, and a cost-efficient comparison will be made between the hydroponic system and the regular gardening techniques. During this rotation, the aquaponics system is almost fully set up and we are going to start doing any time soon the leak tests.

 

Design and implementation of a thermoregulatory system for the homologation of the internal temperature in the EVA suits used by the analogous astronauts in the MDRS

Luis José Antonio Díaz López (Cascas, Perú)

Ingeniero Mecatrónico de la Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Perú

luisjosedl14@gmail.com

The implementation and testing of the project were successful. Due to the cold, only the heating system was tested, which uses a ceramic resistor commonly used in 3D printer extruders. This resistance is part of the heat exchanger system that transmits, by convection, the heat to water. A water pump is responsible for circulating the thermoregulated liquid inside a bag for blood donation, which is regulated thanks to a temperature differential that takes as reference the external temperature and the temperature inside the suit (specifically in the area where the heart is located). Likewise, the temperature reading is stored in a microSD memory next to the date and time to have a chronological reference of the temperature compensations that the system had to perform.

 

Evapotranspiration on Mars

Hernan David Mateus Jimenez

Mechatronics engineer, student of master of science in systems engineering

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota Colombia

hdmateusj@unal.edu.co

Evapotranspiration is the physical process that converts the liquid water from a green area in vapor water by the action of both transpiration and evaporation. One way to measure evapotranspiration is using a device named lysimeter that measures the weight of the crop and the weight of leachate continuously.

The lysimeter started to be assembled since the beginning of the simulation but started to take measurements of evapotranspiration on Sol 8, because some pieces had to be repaired and it was necessary to do an EVA to take Martian soil. Also, it was necessary to determine the amount of water to mix with the Martian Soil and get the best texture. The data recollected during the six Soles are going to be analyzed in Colombia in order to get a list of recommendations to improve the use of water in the Greenhab and on the crops that use Martian Soil.


 

Positioning system based on star recognition

Hernan David Mateus Jimenez

Mechatronics engineer, student of master of science in systems engineering

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota Colombia

hdmateusj@unal.edu.co

In this project, we wanted to prove a software that says what your location is, based on a photo that you take from the sky. This software was developed in python using Opencv library. The objective was to measure the accuracy of the software in order to develop in the future useful positioning systems for night EVAs.

During the simulation we were able to take the enough amount of photos to build a sky map where the descriptor SIFT is going to search the similarities with a taken photo to find your location.

 

Field evaluation of the Cóndor Space Suit Simulator

Oscar I. Ojeda

Universidad Nacional de Colombia

oscar6ojeda@gmail.com

The project aimed to evaluate the performance of the Cóndor Space Suit Simulator, as well as its independent systems. The activities consisted on partaking on EVAs with the suit in different configurations, the EVAs were classified in short, medium, and long range. The systems tested were the complete donning, and the flexible part combined with the Exo suit, available in the MDRS. The EVAs consisted on technical, biological, and geological activities, as well as basic mobility, and vehicle manipulation. Several observations on improvements were made and will be implemented for the next version of the suit. In general, the results were positive, with a high range of movement, combined with enough restriction, to simulate properly a space suit.

 

Testing of a PXCM based wheel for a planetary rover

Oscar I. Ojeda

Universidad Nacional de Colombia

oscar6ojeda@gmail.com

The project aimed to do a basic field test of a 3D printed wheel, aimed for a planetary surface rover. The test made use of a simple automatized rover, which was implemented in the MDRS. The wheel was printed by ITAMCO and designed in Purdue University. The wheels were received in the station and assembled. First, the performance of the rover was observed with traditional commercial wheels, traversing different types of terrain, which is an analog for Mars. Afterwards the wheels were installed in the rover and tested again, over analog terrain. The results observed showed an equivalent performance while assuming terrain. Further laboratory and field testing is suggested to fully characterize the performance of the wheels, however the first testing showed positive results.

 


 

Remote sensing in mars analogue surface

Danton Bazaldua1 Walter Calles2

1UNAM, MEXICO 2IPN, MEXICO

danton.bazaldua@spacegeneration.org1 , walterabdias@gmail.com2

 

The DRONE DJI SPARK to mapped 5 km of surface around MDRS to analyze with Cameras and digital processing for 3D in Martian soil. This drone mapped the soil of the MDRS and the habitat during 5 EVA for two weeks which will help to take images at 40 meters of height to be later analyzed by a digital processing in 3D which will help us to better understand the characteristics of the Mars surface as well to follow in automatic pilot the way of astronauts in each expedition after that the Drone analyzed the characteristics of the surface of the MDRS as well as the type of soil and its basic characteristics using Matlab and Pix4D to analyze the images of the Habitat taken by the drone.

 

Remote sensing of vital signs

Danton Bazaldua1 Walter Calles2

1UNAM, MEXICO 2IPN, MEXICO

danton.bazaldua@spacegeneration.org1, walterabdias@gmail.com2

OBJECTIVE: This device was a E.C.G monitor as well as some important aspects like the pressure and the internal humidity of the space suit of MDRS CREW 187, through a system of monitoring focused to the Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA). E.C.G module moreover the body position, galvanic response skin that will transmit the data to the user interface in which are presented in real time to the astronauts in a smart watch or an interface pc. However, the monitor has a problem with the connectivity and was complicated used during EVA but it was used to monitoring before EVA expedition. The medical data has been useful for HSO during the mission to keep the Crew 187 and design protocols to choose the member of each expedition.

 


 

Cognitive function dynamics in a martian analogue simulation

Betel Martínez Valdés 1, José Eduardo Reynoso Cruz 1 & José Luis Baroja Manzano 1

1Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Psychology Deparment,

Mexico City

betelmarvall@gmail.com

During the two weeks monitored different cognitive abilities fatigue levels in Crew 187 members and it was compared with control group of external participants not related to the Analogue Simulation.

Fourteen adults were part of the study. The groups were paired by the sex, age, lateral dominance and level of studies. The subjects from the support group and the control paired will be chosen voluntarily.

 

Cooperation dynamics in a martian analogue simulation

Betel Martínez Valdés1, Oscar San Pedro Caligua 1

1 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City

betelmarvall@gmail.com

During this experiment analyzed the dynamics of cooperation and working team. Reciprocity between the Analogue Simulation Crew 187 members. The cooperative behavior between crew members during the analogue simulation to Mars was apply a Collective-Risk Social Dilemma in which six astronauts will be players and one coordinator. This task will be applied five times in two weeks this information will help to analyze the status of the cooperation during an analogue mission.

 

Science communication and documentary to space projects of young scientist and professionals in Latin America

Tania Robles

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City

taniarblsh@gmail.com

Latin America is an emerging and growing region in the global aerospace sector. Because of its capabilities to offer development and manufacturing services at low costs, it has been accepted as one of the supplier regions of the most important companies and space agencies.

Despite this, Latin America is an area that has not developed its infrastructure and human resources capacities in the sector. Some of the causes can be the ignorance of the decision makers. For this purpose, an outreach project has been created on the work of young Mexicans and foreigners in the space field, as well as the importance of these issues.

The project consists of documentation of the problems and actions of young students to solve problems of academia and industry.

End of Mission Summary – Crew 186

End of Mission Summary
Crew 186 – Boilers2Mars

Commander/Astronomer:  Max Fagin
Executive Officer:  Kshitij Mall
Crew Engineer:   Melanie Grande
Crew Geologist:  Dr. Cesare Guariniello
Journalist:  Justin Mansell
GreenHab Officer:  Mark Gee
Health and Safety Officer:  Samuel Albert

Commander’s Statement

As Purdue students and alumni, Purdue’s heritage with human spaceflight is a heritage we all take very seriously, and that heritage was on full display for the duration of this mission. I am happy to say that every member of this crew has risen to the highest standards expected of would be space travelers, and I am proud of every member of this crew for doing their jobs with skill, effectiveness, professionalism, robustness, and the positive disposition that space travel demands of those who pursue it. I would be proud to call any of you my crewmates on a real mission to Mars.

When undertaking challenging journeys like this, I often find there are two types of travelers. First, there are the kind who are happiest when things are going right. The kind who love it when a plan works. The kind who revel in practicing, planning and simulating every facet of the journey beforehand just as much as they love the journey itself.

Second, there are the kind of travelers who enjoy a journey more when things are going poorly, because it allows for a chance to test their skills in the face of danger. They revel in being just beyond the margin and only barely in control, because the experience will leave them with a harrowing story to tell when they get home.

Personally, I’m in the first camp. I subscribe to the perspective that a stressful and harrowing adventure is a sign of poor planning. Things sometimes go wrong that are beyond our control. And during those times, true stories of courage and heroism often emerge, especially in space travel. But there is nothing to be celebrated in seeking such situations. Because of our desire for narrative satisfaction, it’s the near disasters that often become our most cherished stories, but those stories of right ought to be told just as much about the textbook missions, and the hard work that made them possible.

That is why I am so proud of what we have accomplished as a crew during our time at MDRS, and why I will remember the time so fondly. Our mission was productive, exciting, and educational, but it was never stressful or harrowing. It has been a privilege to command such a talented and driven group of people.

Thank you to Ashwati Das and the Purdue Mars Society. Thank you to Professor Porterfield, Professor Mitchell, Professor Horgan, Professor Grant, Professor Whitfield and Professor Dumbacher, and thank you to Erin Easterling and Brian Huchel. Thank you to Mars Academy USA, Purdue Honors College, WIEP, ABE, SAO, and PESC. Thanks to the many Mars Society volunteers who have put in their time and hard work over the decades to make MDRS possible, and to those who specifically supported us on our mission: Veronica Brooks, Sylvain Burdot, Kevin Seidler, Kay Wolf, Jennifer Holt, Graeme Frear and Bernard Dubb. Thank you to Dr. Robert Zubrin and the Mars Society Leadership, and final thanks to Dr. Shannon Rupert for being our on-site support.

Boiler Up, Hammer Down!

-Max Fagin, 01/02/2018

 

Our Mission, By The Numbers

12 days in sim
125 person-hours of EVA total time
24 person-hours of EVA rover time
138 km traversed on EVA
515 gallons of water consumed (including GreenHab)
~1700 photos taken
86 geological spectra collected
580 grams of edible crops harvested from GreenHab
636,445 strands of DNA sequenced from microbes found in the hab

Summary of EVA Activities
Max Fagin, Commander

We conducted a total of 10 EVAs during our mission (11 were planned, but light snow on Sol 9 caused it to be delayed to Sol 10). Our EVAs lasted anywhere from 1-5 hours, traversing a distance of 138km total and reaching a maximum of 6.2 km from the hab. A map of every EVA we took is shown on the next page, overlayed on the MDRS regional map.

Something like the electric rovers of ATVs are an essential part of an effective Mars surface exploration campaign. However, they must be considered in the same class as the rockets and spacecraft that delivered the astronauts to Mars: As means, not ends. The best field science is still done when an astronaut is on foot and able to devote their complete attention to their surroundings. As such, a goal of this mission was to minimize the amount of “unproductive” time spent on EVAs. This includes time spent en route to targets, and loading/unloading equipment. An EVA debrief was regularly held 1 hour after the EVA had completed with the EVA director who had been the habcomm for the EVA, and a careful timeline was reconstructed from the gps logs carried by members of the EVA. This allowed us to build up an accurate picture of how our EVA time was spent.

A goal at the start of this mission was to spend at least 50% of each EVA on site. We were not able to accomplish this goal. A weighted average across all EVAs yielded only 42% time spent on site. Regardless, the system for reconstructing EVA timelines and locations proved very useful, as it allowed for quickly checking what had and had not worked on past when planning for future EVAs, as well as checking the location of geological samples.

Geology Summary
Dr. Cesare Guariniello, Crew Geologist

As will probably be the case in an actual Mars mission, a majority of our EVA activity was devoted to a geological survey of the region. Not only will such geological activates answer important questions about Mars’ past, but such geological knowledge will shape Mars’ potential as a future home. The need to reduce payload mass for future space exploration is imperative on long term colonial missions, and effective In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) provides just such a way to reduce the materials that must be brought from Earth. For effective ISRU, future Mars colonists must determine material presence, abundance, accessibility, usability, and the best ways to collect them. On this mission, remote sensing techniques) were applied to support of this goal.

Geologic EVAs were performed to the following regions:

  • URC North Site
  • East of Greenstone Road
  • The Moons (Morrison Formation and Dakota Sandstone)
  • “Boilermaker Canyon”, previously unexplored by MDRS crews (Entrada Sandstone and lower Morrison Formation)
  • Skyline Rim (Mancos Shale).

The crew collected a variety of samples in these location, and analyzed them with a “PANalytical QualitySpec TREK” portable spectrometer. The 86 Visible and Near Infrared (VNIR) spectra that were collected gave information about the mineralogy of the samples, and will be used to assess water content in the various locations. Temperatures at different depths and in different conditions were also analyzed. These measurements will be used after the end of the mission to determine the correlation between thermal inertia and physical properties of the material, such as cohesiveness and bulk size. The EVAs brought the analog astronauts through diverse fields, ranging from plains covered in clays and characterized by salt deposits to deep canyons where million of years of strata are exposed. All the types of terrains are found on Mars, though the presence of large angular boulders is more prominent in most Martian landscapes. The results were extremely satisfactory, both in terms of Mars analog mineralogy and for what concerns collection of the samples with the various tools, and yielded useful outcomes for ISRU on Mars.

 

Radio Navigation
Justin Mansell, Journalist

GPS navigation will not be an option for early Mars explorer, and most navigation will need to take place with assets located at the habitat. One solution is to place a directional radio beacon at the hab, and just such a system was designed and successfully tested during our mission. Over four dedicated navigation EVAs, a simulated “lost astronaut” was able to determine their bearing to the habitat using a directional handheld antenna. By taking regular bearings while walking, the astronauts were able to navigate to within a few hundred meters of the habitat from several kilometers away, even when a visor was in place that limited their vision to only their immediate surroundings. The greatest challenge was the overwhelming signal strength at close ranges to the habitat, but this was mitigated by employing the insensitive axis of the antenna to find a bearing at right angles to the direction to the habitat. Future designs will include an attenuator to improve performance near the transmitting beacon and a timing circuit to establish both bearing and range.

 

Virtual Reality Training to Enable Crew Autonomy
Melanie Grande, Crew Engineer

Crew time will be as precious a resource as water and power on a mission to Mars, and virtual reality is a powerful teaching tool that offers the chance to reduce the amount of time a crew member must spend training for a complex task. For this mission, half the crew participated in a Pre-Mission Training Group (PMTG) and were conventionally trained on two tasks via PowerPoint training modules about three weeks before the mission. The crew learned how to use a portable spectrometer and how to perform maintenance checks on an ATV’s brake system. A Virtual Reality Training Group was given the freedom to use the VR version of the models at their own pace and at any time during their day. The VRTG could also take the training immediately before doing the EVA to complete the taught tasks. Mixed results were observed from the astronauts, but it was interesting to note that the VRTG spent much less time in training, which is positive in terms of maximizing astronaut work hours. However, some steps and details in each stage of the tasks were not given enough attention. Some of the VRTG also put off the training, since it wasn’t specifically scheduled. Participants from both groups did not specifically acknowledge the procedure and safety requirements if damage was found. Finally, the VR modules were limited in their interaction and level of detail, due to time and resource constraints. Future work would explore further the memorization of procedure and the interactivity of the VR applications. 

 

Survey of the MDRS Microbial Environment
Samuel Albert, Health and Safety Officer

Throughout the mission, surfaces in the habitat and GreenHab were swabbed in order to survey the microbial environment at MDRS. These swabs were then run through DNA extraction and amplification using portable PCR technology. Next, the amplified DNA was sequenced using the minion, a portable DNA sequencer that has previously been used to perform identical tests on the International Space Station. Although only 2 of the 4 sequencing runs yielded quality data, these results will be useful in analyzing the microbes present at MDRS. This research was completed in collaboration with NASA JSC, and the results will be part of a larger study on microbial environment in closed, isolated environments, including ongoing research on the International Space Station (Genes in Space-3).

 

Crew Relaxation with Guided Yoga
Kshitij Mall, Executive Officer

The human mind must remain well maintained on a Mars mission every bit as much as the electrical and mechanical systems of the spacecraft. To that end, the crew started each day by performing 21 different Yoga exercises focusing on breathing, posture, stretching, and meditation for 30 minutes to release stress. After 12 days, the average self reported stress of the crew reduced from 16.8 to 15.0 based on the Perceived Stress Scale Survey. Based on Self-Assessment survey, the crew’s average happiness, positivity, patience, self-confidence, and endurance increased throughout the mission while the fatigue remained stable. Later in the mission, some of the crew members tried a guided meditation VR app and suggested its use over conventional meditation method. The small number of subjects meant a control group could not be followed to isolate the effect of the morning exercises, but even if small, the exercise still promoted crew bonding by ensuring we all began our day at the same time, and with the same activity; the benefits of which cannot be quantified.

 

GreenHab Summary
Mark Gee, GreenHab Officer

The Greenhab has succeeded in its mission to provide food, house experiments, and bring stress relief to the crew. The harvest on the last sol of our rotation yielded a sampling of fresh microgreens, lettuce, green beans, dill, and cilantro, the first time this has been done this season. The previously planted tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, and peppers are growing well along with the carrots, onions, arugula, radish, lettuce, and Swiss chard that were planted this rotation. Future crews should have a bountiful and tasty harvest. Two studies were successfully completed. One on how to produce microgreens using minimal resources, and the other on how plant growth is affected by the microbiome in an isolated Mars habitat. Time and humidity data were also successfully collected throughout the mission providing insight on the environment the GreenHab crops are exposed to. In addition to being productive, the GreenHab provided a convenient way to relax. Crew members were frequently found enjoying the heat, humidity, and beautiful scenery that the GreenHab provides.

End of Mission Summary – Crew 185

Mars Desert Research Station

End of Mission Summary

Crew 185 – Mars Society Crew #2

International Crew

 

Crew 185 (Dec. 16th, 2017 – Dec 31st, 2017):

Commander: Ilaria Cinelli (Italy/Ireland)
Executive Officer/Crew Engineer: Thibault Paris (France)
Greenhab Officer/Crew Biologist: David Murray (United States)
Crew Engineer: Arno Passaron (France)
Crew Health & Safety Officer: John Sczepaniak (United States)

Today is the last day of SIM, and tomorrow morning my Crew and I will land on Earth!!!

As you may know I am Commander of an international Crew, selected by The Mars Society, and this is an international mission getting close to the end. I will mention a few of our activates to show you how much (international) science we can get out of two-week mission.

Yesterday, we have completed a very interesting experiment about “Shared Spatial Representation” of the environment around Astros on EVA and HabCom (in the Hab), during which we were looking for objects placed in specific places, guided by with the vocal indication of HabCom (so without GPS and tech), (PI IMS laboratory and Association Planète Mars, France).

Then, today we have also completed two undergraduate student projects about sediment movement by aeolian transport and response of the use of a loaded vehicle over a range of terrain types (PI Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland).

We also did different surveys to evaluate the quality of life in the Hab. One of this was the use of a software to estimate the stress level during writing (PI Mars Planet – Italian Mars Society, Italy). Then, other are about crew dynamics. Pre-flight tests evaluate individual differences before the mission (PI University of Padua, Italy), and other tests evaluate individual performance during the mission (PI 100 Year Starship, USA). Instead, team cohesion was archived by practicing empowerment (PI Fondazione Internazionale verso l’Etica – FIVE – onlus, Italy) and mindfulness (PI University of London, UK), and table games!

Then, two studies about safety were pretty useful to develop awareness in isolation analysing both the context (PI William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine, USA) and the Crew (PI Mars Planet – Italian Mars Society, Italy).

In the end, we did some fun activities about education and outreach. One was about the “Kid2Mars” project where children from all over the World asked questions about Mars (PI InnovaSpace). The other was about “Crea(c)tivity”, a two-day workshop during which secondary school students have been designing and engineering prototypes that can have real space applications (PI ISIA Firenze, Italy).

A very original experiment was about clothing and textiles understanding the needs and constraints of design for apparel and habitats for long-duration space exploration and habitation (PI University of Rhode Island and 100 Year Starship, USA).

Then, we are honoured to have tested the first prototype of a 3D printed spacesuit, called X-1 (PI Ecole polytechnique, France). This project was supported by the French chapter of the Mars Society (PI The Association Planete Mars) to develop and test this prototype.

Additionally, we have been utilizing the full potential of crops to imitate conditions found in a limited resource environment. By producing a fertilizer from the most nutritious plant on Earth, we not only get nutritional value from this plant but hopefully the ability to increase the yields of other crops.

In the end, crew 185 completed an important anesthesia task during the mission looking at the ability of astronauts to complete a nerve block of the lower leg. They used gel models created at the University of California, San Diego to place a needle above and below the simulated nerve located behind a knee.  The simulation looks at the ability of participants’ time to complete tasks in an emergency scenario.

I can say we had fun while working! There are so many things happening everyday that there is not worries to be bothered during the day (and night) at the Hab.

If it is not a technical problem, it will be a human factor issue within the Crew! I LOVE what I am doing, I will never get tired of these challenges! I really LOVE what I am doing, hard to tell you how much!

Really, thank you for having me as Commander, and thank you for this great Crew!

I am learning so much in management, communication and science, and I am trying to give back good quality data that can be use for on-going and future research projects. I am feeling so enriched that I need to share my empowerment! So, science is the best way though which I can have a positive impact in research.

Thus, thank you so much! This is a great personal experience, and I see my Crew getting the most out of it. It is time for me to let them go, I have trained them for the best and I believe these two weeks gave them enough experience to make them stronger in the future.

Again, thank you to all the Team of Mission Support and The Mars Society!

In particularly, thank you Shannon!

Commander Ilaria Cinelli

 

Special thanks to:

  • The Mars Society
  • Mission Support
  • The Mars Desert Research Station
  • IMS laboratory and Association Planète Mars, France.
  • Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
  • Mars Planet – Italian Mars Society, Italy.
  • University of Padua, Italy.
  • 100 Year Starship, USA.
  • Fondazione Internazionale verso l’Etica – FIVE – onlus, Italy.
  • University of London, UK.
  • ISIA Firenze, Italy.
  • University of Rhode Island, USA.
  • The Association Planete Mars, France.
  • Ecole polytechnique, France.
  • William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine, USA.
  • InnovaSpace.

The Mars Desert Research Station – Crew 185

 

Crew 185 – X-1 (PI Ecole polytechnique, France)

 

Crew 185 – Green Hab – Beans

Mission Summary – Crew 184

Mars Desert Research Station

 End of Mission Summary

Crew 184 – Mars Society Crew #1

Striving Towards Analog Research Success

(Team STARS)

 

Crew 184:

Commander/Astronomer:                                       Thomas Horn (United States)

Executive Officer/Greenhab Officer:                    Trisha Randazzo (United States)

Crew Engineer:                                                            Joshua Hunt (United States)

Crew Scientist/Outreach Officer:                           Akash Trivedi (United Kingdom)

Crew Journalist:                                                           Willie Schumann (Germany)

Crew Health & Safety Officer:                                 John Sczepaniak (United States)

 

Figure 1: MDRS Crew 184 -From Left to Right, Akash Trivedi, Willie Schumann, Josh Hunt, Trisha Randazzo, John Sczepaniak, Tom Horn

  

 

Our team started out as strangers, thrown together with nothing in common except a love for space and desire to test ourselves on the surface of Mars.  After months of intense long distance preparation and now, completing our two week mission together face to face, we have bonded as a team both personally and professionally to advance our shared love and drive of advancing the cause of human space exploration.

 

During our mission preparation, we assembled a set of research objectives playing off our respective strengths and keeping present the goal of simulating a Martian Mission as accurately as possible.  We faced numerous challenges and failures during our mission that threatened the successful completion of our goals, but through hard-work, troubleshooting and flexibility we completed our objectives and can return home with a successful mission behind us.

 

We hope that through this mission and future efforts we can move forward the goal of human exploration of space, and will now begin the next phase of our mission in taking our research and data back to external parties and in continuing the outreach process to utilize our experience to inspire greater enthusiasm for the possibilities of space travel in the general public and the next generation.

   – Ad Astra Per Ardua, Crew 184

 

 

Summary of Research Completed:

Matryoshka EVAs

Evaluating the past habitability of Mars is a key science objective for the near future. Meeting this goal will involve innovation, exploration, and scientific enquiry across all levels of observations. At the MDRS, features analogous to those on Mars were characterized and utilized to further develop identification techniques of geological points of interest. Dunes and channel structures provided a test-bed for investigation of the geomorphological bodies found in Martian terrains

 

During our stay at MDRS, we highlighted the value of using four modes of geologic survey operating at increasingly fine scales. Analogous to the gradual down-scaling of a Matryoshka (Russian) doll, the four-phase sequence of study provides observations at a progressively smaller scale: satellite, drone, rover, and human (hand scale).

 

Under the expertise of the Department of Earth Science at the University of Oxford, eight sites were chosen for sample collection and return to Oxford for further geomorphological and geochemical analysis. This work was proposed by a team of undergraduate and research students with goals to not only conduct scientific research activity on the collections, but also use them for outreach purposes to inspire the next generation of analogue astronauts!

(Figure 3: Matryoshka Lithe Canyon Site, John Hunt, Willie Schumann, Trisha Randazzo)

 

Fatigue Sleep Study

The crew underwent a two week fatigue study by following the Martian day, 40 minutes longer than an Earth day. For two weeks, they completed multiple surveys daily on their sleep, fatigue, and general wellbeing while shifting their sleep and wake times by 40 minutes each day.  The crew was able to manage the stresses associated with a Martian day despite the difficulties that are inherent in analogous missions.  There was an increase in short naps towards the end of the mission in order to satisfy the mission and scientific objectives.  This completes the crews MDRS portion of the Martian Circadian Study successfully.

In addition to surveys and sleep shifting, the crew had to complete multiple tests throughout the mission to measure their psychomotor vigilance, called a PVT (psychomotor vigilance test).  The tests are administered via an iPad so participants can access the test easily and complete it three times a daily (see photo).

(Figure 4: Commander Tom Horn starting his PVT test)

 

Anesthesia

Crew 184 completed an important anesthesia task during the mission looking at the ability of astronauts to complete a nerve block of the lower leg. They used gel models created at the University of California, San Diego to place a needle above and below the simulated nerve located behind a knee.  The simulation looks at the ability of participants’ time to complete tasks in an emergency scenario.

(Figure 5: Anesthesia Training, Dr. John Sczepaniak, Josh Hunt, Akash Trivedi, Trisha Randazzo)

 

 

(Figure 6: Anesthesia Training, Dr. John Sczepaniak, John Hunt, Trisha Randazzo, Tom Horn, Akash Trivedi)

 

Exercise

Mars is an environment that requires strength training to keep astronauts healthy with minimal up-mass.  John Sczepaniak MD created an 18 pound medicine ball on Mars with minimal up mass (~600g).   A cycling machine was assembled at the station by crew 184 for health and fitness.  The cycle was donated to the Mars Society for use by future crews.

 

(Figure 7: (From top to bottom, left to right) Trisha Randazzo and Josh Hunt assembling the cycling machine, Tom Horn exercising on the bicycle, Dr. Sczepaniak creating the medicine ball using Martian regolith, Josh Hunt utilizing the medicine ball to increase mass during squats.)

 

Communication Study

The question of how to effectively operate a human crewed mission with a lengthy time delay is a significant unsolved question in human spaceflight, and is one that analog space missions are uniquely suited to answer.  Previous human spaceflight experience has entailed close coordination and direction between the crew and Mission Control, future missions to Mars and other destinations will necessarily entail a whole new operations structure including new communication guidelines and devolving significant power away from Mission Control and to the crews themselves.  In order to simulate this our crew worked with an offsite scheduling team to direct our activities and with who we experimented with different communication methods, feedback techniques, and email time delays.

We experimented with various communication methods internally to the team via our ‘Bricks’ experiment.  With this we took symmetric sets of building blocks and experimented with building various structures with different crew teams and different time delays, from 0 to 15 minutes in 3 minute intervals.  Via trial and error our team learned how effective communication tools which were put in place throughout our mission.  They proved particularly effective during EVA where communication over VOX is difficult and several techniques were immediately applicable to aid in EVA coordination among the team.  Our team agreed that of all the lessons learned five in particular were critical, which are described below.

Five Takeaways:

  1. Give an overview of what task is trying to accomplish. This allows crew to fill in missing details and help connect the dots themselves
  2. Give an inventory of all supplies to be used during the task up front, and what each thing is being used for. This allows easy identification of mistakes if supplies are left over, and also allows crew to better understand their instructions.
  3. Agree on common descriptors for entire supply list to ensure accurate description, i.e. “4 pronged short rectangle”
  4. Establish a common orientation for the entire task at the beginning, then stick to it. This ensures proper placement of materials.
  5. Repeat all instructions twice. With unreliable radios this ensures momentary communication dropouts does not prevent critical information being relayed.  This is especially important for longer time delays where a missed word could result in a 30 minute delay.

 

(Figure 8: Josh Hunt listening to instructions to build a structure with a communication time delay.)

 

 CPR Techniques

The low gravity environment of Mars is likely to pose unusual challenges to a human settlement.  An example of this was posed to our crew as a challenge for us to solve during our mission.  How do you exert enough force on a patient to perform effective CPR when you have a significantly reduced body weight?  In order to simulate this in an Earth environment our crew was given our friendly CPR helper ‘Max’, a scale, and force targets in excess of their body weight that they had to achieve.  Each crewmember performed trial runs and various techniques under the supervision of our crew doctor, recording their results.  Of the various methods tried the three most effective were, 1)  Placing weights on the patient’s chest to effectively raise caregiver body weight during compressions, 2)  Having another crewmember assist in chest compressions, and 3)  Bracing crewmember on an overhead beam to provide additional resistance for compressions.

This is just one example of an esoteric problem presented by low gravity conditions, and there are sure to be more.  We found it interesting to discuss these scenarios and envision the challenges to be confronted by a Martian colony, many of which are sure to only be discovered once humans are already on Mars.

 

 

Special thanks to our individual donors and supporters

Space Generation Advisory Council – For their extensive help and experience preparing our mission schedule during our stay at MDRS.  We hope for more colloboration in the future.

Neha Dattani – for supporting our mission and providing love and moral support

Shital and Rajnikant Trivedi – for their love, belief and support towards my ambitions

Wolfson College, Oxford and the Department of Engineering Science for supporting the mission

Clive Siviour at the University of Oxford for academic guidance, personal and professional support

Lucy Kissick and her team at the Department of Earth Science for proposing the Matryoshka research study

Patty Horn – for the support and care without which my attendence would be impossible, and taking care of the kids while explaining that daddy is going to Mars.

Joseph Maroge- for mission research support and survey creation

Hitesh Bhatia- for driving supplies to Hanksville and actisleep sensor support

Ed Bahr – for holding supplies prior to our mission

Ching-Rong Cheng – for use of the sonosite ultrasound and research support

Alan and Lois Sczepaniak – for equipment and support

Deborah and Buck Hunt – for being my two biggest fans in the whole world!

Kathryn Randazzo, James Randazzo, Megan Randazzo – for providing the crew care pacakge and SOS package, welcomed as a morale boost on our harder days!

Leo Teeney – for his support in making this mission possible.

Integrity Applications Incorporated – For supporting the crew and providing technical insight.

Chris Wade – for his stellar mission patch design

Renee Garifi – for her pro bono expertise and moral support

Crew 182 – End of Mission Summary

Team Peru V:

Commander/ Green Hab/ Health and Safety Officer: Atila Meszaros (Peru)

Executive Officer/ Crew Journalist/ Scientist: Camila Castillo (Peru)

Engineer Officer: Carmen Atauconcha (Peru)

EVA Officer/ Crew Geologist: Brandon Fergurson (USA)

Crew member: Julio Rezende (Brazil)

Crew 182

 

The Mars Society Peru Chapter sent Team Peru V (Crew 182), conformed by a multidisciplinary group. Their rotation was scheduled for November 4th (the day Carmen ate those burgers without us) – 18th 2017.  The main goal of the crew was to develop research in their different fields at the MDRS, achieving their specific goals. The multidisciplinary approach of the crew proved to be valuable during the mission.

 

During the mission, the following research activities took place at MDRS:

 

  1. Effect of Streptomyces sp. Isolated from mineral cultures on radish plant development in analog martian soil: Soil was collected around the MDRS location to use it for radish crops. The strain used at the inoculation was isolated from mineral cultures, which are also an extreme environment. The main objective is to prove the effect of this strain in crops in martian analog soil. The main goal of this research was unachieved, but soil samples will be taken to Lima (Peru) for further experiments.

 

  1. Resistance of Peruvian Altiplano’s crops to martian analog soil: Soils with different compositions where collected on the surroundings of MDRS and on the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation in order to prove the resistance of Peruvian crops and mustard (as control) to mars analog soil. The main goal of the project wasn’t achieved, mostly because an incident during #7 EVA. However, the research will continue on Lima (Peru) using the martian analog soil and two more altiplano’s seeds.

 

  1. Incidence of consumption of kiwicha cookies in the loss of muscle mass that people living in the analog of Mars experiment: I prepared cookies of kiwicha on Peru, kiwicha is an andin grain that has enormous amounts of protein. Because of this characteristic of the kiwicha grain, my cookies have 10% of protein per portion. During the time that I spend in the rotation, I had to take notes of the mass muscle index. So, I gave the cookies to half of the crew, two units per day. Also, every 4 days I took notes of their weight. With this data, I am going to compare the data of the crew member that ate the cookies and the ones that do not ate the kiwicha cookies.

 

  1. Properties and Composition of Mars Analog Regolith at MDRS: Regolith samples were collected from different areas within the MDRS area. The study focuses specifically on the Morrison geologic formation. The majority of the samples are from the brushy basin member of this formation. The goal of the project is to classify the soil properties including: soil texture, classification, and composition. The project will continue during the next week.

 

  1. Sustainability in Mars research stations and extraplanetary settlements: This research searches to answer the question: The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) operation can be more sustainable? It is evaluated how environmental, economic, social and personal sustainability issues are presented in the research station and how the MDRS activities would collaborate to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), proposing some guidelines to sustainability. It is also important to ask: the results related to Mars would be applied to build a self-sustainable habitat in Earth, mainly in areas affected by climate change, as deserts and semiarid regions as can be seen in Brazilian Northeast (Habitat Marte)? Reviewing the previous research done at MDRS not was identified any research related to sustainability. Because of that, this research presented a high impact to MDRS and Mars research. It is a challenger identifies the main dimensions that would be considered to evaluates a Mars research station in terms of sustainability: this is the great relevance of this research for the future design of Mars settlements.