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.