Mission Summary – December 28th

Mission Plan:

MEx-1 is a Mexican initiative that seeks to encourage the interest of the general population, industry, academia and government of Mexico about the benefits of space exploration and its applications.

This through the creation of the first Mexican program of missions in MDRS conformed by a team of astronauts and a ground support on Earth. MEx-1 is a mission that had the previous support of an aerospace doctor and specialist psychologists to evaluate the physical and mental conditions of astronauts prior to the establishment of tasks and workloads of the missions.

The general objectives of Mex-1 are:

· Integration of a national multidisciplinary team that provides necessary support to the astronaut’s activities that will be carried out before and after the mission.

· Document and generate the necessary historical information to be able to organize easily later iterations of the mission.

· Generate media impact necessary to attract and encourage the participation of children and youth in space activities in Mexico.

· Encourage students and entrepreneurs to develop business activities focused on the creation and integration of projects that benefit and / or use space or high technology resources related to space exploration.

Crew 201 Projects:


Title: The Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory

Author(s): Betel Martinez, Genaro Grajeda

Objectives: To know the psychological state and mental fatigue of the astronauts through the daily filling of the mental fatigue questionnaire.

Results: The Crew has been doing daily tests to understand the effects of isolation, stress and heavy workloads on people but specifically what are the effects on Mexican nationals. This tests have been received by professional psychologists and will be analyzed during the next few months and give recommendations for future crews with Mexican nationals as well as an opportunity to test it with professionals doing work in isolation like remote ocean vessels and mining stations.


Title: Crew Wellness Experiment

Author(s): Carlos Salicrup, Genaro Grajeda

Objectives: Measure and document the crew’s weight, water consumption and pressure variation during the mission.

Results: The Crew has been doing daily measurements of weight, water consumption, nutrition, heart frequency and blood pressure. This experiment wants to further understand the effects of isolation, stress and heavy workloads on analogue astronauts for future missions as well as to properly prepare selected analogue astronauts on what pre-mission activities are to be done to complete missions successfully. Additional tests on dehydration after EVAs were done to understand the workload and exercise done by analogue astronauts during extended multihour multiactivity missions with space suits.


Title: Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Pointing

Author(s): Genaro Grajeda, Federico Martínez

Objectives: Point a VSAT with 3D printed tools

Results: The VSAT pointing experiment was unsuccessful due to logistic delays for the main component of the experiment. Nonetheless, the 3D printer was used to make 9, 10 and 11 cm wrenches that are standard for the nuts and bolts on an standard VSAT kit and can be left at the station for durability tests as well as strength tests that printed tools offer. The VSAT pointing team performed two EVAs to analyze locations to install the VSAT that could be used for connectivity to make a smart habitat as well as locations for possible microwaves with omnidirectional antennas that can serve the purpose of asset tracking and crew EVA safety.


Title: 3D Printing in space exploration

Author(s): Federico Martínez

Objectives: The main objective of using 3D printing is to provide us personalized tools for our VSAT pointing project and spare parts. This experiment will provide support on the construction of a rover prototype as well, and an analysis of the Hab will be done to use this technology to provide daily use supplies.

Results: The use of 3D printing it’s becoming something usual when we talk about manufacture and technology. Having this kind of technology on site gives us advantages as rapid prototyping, personalized tools, variety of materials and many others.

The main idea of using 3D printing was to make specialized tools for the VSAT project on MDRS a set of three tools were designed and printed likesome open end wrench of different dimensions (9mm, 10mm, 11mm) that took around eight hours to be finished. Also the design and printing of an adjustable wrench ready. However there were some issues with the weather and the behaviour of the 3D printer with the Martian weather conditions, plus the logistical difficulties of the VSAT system to arrive to MDRS. It made us took the decision to stop the printing of this parts and focus on using the material on making the rover with the preliminary designs.

The printing of 28 parts of the rover took about 50 hours. This time doesn´t include failed printed parts, software configuration and machine calibration.
At the beginning of mission we assemble, repaired and installed the 3D printer on the RAM. The malfunction of a temperature sensor gave us trouble so it was replaced, however the low temperature inside the RAM was making the parts warping on the corners. After several attends of printing and mechanical and software adjustments, the crew took the decision to move the printer to the low deck of the Hab. This gave us better results, reason why we have been able to print the tools and the 99% of the rover parts.

Due to the low temperatures during the last couple of days, it turned harder to continue printing with the cold weather and wind as main factors. These conditions are not the best conditions for this kind of amateur 3D printers.

We will continue working in these projects on Earth and as a main objective, we will make improves to the 3D printer to make it capable to print on tough weather conditions, starting with an enclosure to keep the heat, a stronger frame, and an extrusion system capable of reaching higher temperature.

Title: Engaging space to the people

Author(s): Crew 201

Objectives: Generate audio visual content that will be published to increase the awareness of space sector and the interest of young students and professionals in space exploration from Latin America.

Results: All the material was recorded and will be under the editing process at the beginning of January. It consists in a series of interviews with the Crew members about their daily work at MDRS and personal objectives. It was directed and produced by the members of Crew 201.


Title: Validation of electronics architecture and communication protocols for an exploration rover

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Validate the function of electronic components in hostile (low) temperature conditions. Validate communication protocols for exploration vehicles in the Martian environment.

Results: Regarding the electronics architecture and communications protocols of the rover, due to the requirements of the long distances communications; we chose devices capable to transmit at least 1k data. The project consisted in a long distance command data transmission for the autonomous manipulation of the rover.

During the first days of the mission, we worked with the electronics to test the code of the data transmission. First, we started to set up the devices with the software, but it seemed that they had a malfunction or that the PCBs were not working properly. We tried with different devices, different laptops and different software, but the problem was still remaining. During several days of trying to communicate with the laptop, we started to think in alternative solutions. After testing carefully each electronic module and obtaining the same results, we decided to ask for another devices but, unfortunately they never arrived. While we were waiting for the electronics components, we focused in the 3D printing of the Rover and tools.


Title: Behaviour of Artificial Vision algorithms for Autonomous Navigation

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Test the quality of the images obtained by given cameras. Test the efficiency of AV algorithms and tools to identify samples of Martian rocks based on their colour and size. Test the efficiency of stereo vision to estimate distances using bi dimensional images

Results: During the simulation we were able to take the necessary pictures to test and train artificial vision algorithms for recognition of patterns of colour, form and size as well as distance and depth estimation using stereo vision. To take the pictures, we used two high definition web cameras fixed and configured to take identical pictures with angle difference. The pictures taken include several kinds of terrain such as flat, big-sized rocks or hills, small rocks (obstacles) and sand. Although the algorithms could not be fully functional due to software configuration issues, the images will certainly be very useful for future work.

The software developed is part of the autonomous navigation system of a rover prototype that will explore and help in several tasks both in space and Earth.


Title: Prototype and mechanical testing of Exploration rover

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Prove the expected behave of the mechanical systems of the Rover.

Results: We designed a rover prototype for testing the behaviour of the mechanical parts in hostile surfaces. All the Rover design was completed in México and, during the mission, we printed a scaled version of it, due to the original prototype that we were supposed to use at MDRS never arrived because of logistics problems.

While printing it, we found that the low temperature inside the RAM was affecting in a bad mode the printing, so we moved the printer in the lower part inside the Hab. Later in the mission, we faced some problems with the printing again, such as the air flow inside the Hab, the place was not the flattest for printing, also, some sensors were not working as they must to, like the thermal sensors of the bed and extruder. This stopped us in the advance of the printing and assembling of the Rover. However, the Rover was built in its 99% and we are still waiting for the last printing parts.


Title: Martian Soil Analysis for usage on Greenhab

Author(s): Walter Calles

Objectives: Explore, collect and analyze multiple soil samples on the Martian soil on MDRS to test their capability for plants seeding and growing on the Greenhab. Up to 5 different soil samples will be mixed with different combinations of organic material to see which can be used as Greenhab ground.

Results: On two EVAs, 5 different soil samples were collected, categorized and used to test their capacity for growing plants. To get started, those samples were mixed with ground soil in small percentages and tested with three radish seeds. 3 of the 5 samples were tested in the following percentages: Type 1 soil sample in 10,20,30,40 and 50% mixes. Only 10, 20 and 30% showed results. 40 and 50 percent didn’t show any progress, probably for the very low concentration of soil sample/ ground used (234g). For types 2 and 3, only 10 and 20% mixes were tested.

Both showed results, but in a lower scale, compared to type 1. Next steps suggest a new round, using more organic ground (~800g as total). The next step as well should be the categorization and testing of types 4 and 5 of the Martian soil samples. The experiment ran through 8 sols. A separate and more elaborated experiment summary will be delivered to the next crew’s Greenhab officer to keep track and continue with these testings.

Crew 201 EVA Report 28Dec2018

[title EVA Report – December 28th]

[category eva-report]

Crew 201 EVA Report 28-Dec-2018.

EVA #8

Author: Carlos Mariscal, XO.

Purpose of EVA: Test the behavior and performance of a 3D-printed mechanical prototype of exploration rover.

Start time: Not applicable. EVA did not take place.

End time: Not applicable. EVA did not take place.

Narrative: Originally, the purpose of the EVA was to test the performance and behavior of a 3D-printed rover prototype, however, due to last minutes issues with the printer, some joint parts could not be printed, thus the rover could not be totally assembled on time and the EVA did not take place. The printer is still working.

Destination: Surroundings of the MDRS, no further than 200 meters away from the station.

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): E517900.01 N517900.01 (Outside the Hab)


César Serrano, Crew Engineer.

Federico Martínez, Crew Scientist/Astronomer.

Carlos Mariscal, XO.

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: We would have stayed in the surroundings of the station, no further than 200 meters away.

Mode of travel: Walking.

Crew 201 Science Report 28Dec2018

[title Science Report – December 28th]

[category science-report]

Science Report 28 Dec 2018
Crew 201 – Mex-1 Crew
Submitted by Federico Martínez, Crew Astronomer/Scientist

1. The Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory: The crew was responding a questionary every day, and creating a database for its future analysis.

2. Crew Wellness Experiment: Between 7 am and 8 am, every member of the crew measured its weight and pressure. Also we took no daily tes of water consumption. All of the crew members lost weight, between 500gr and 1.5 kgs.

3. Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Pointing: The spaceship that carried on the Satellite system never arrived, neccesary tools have been printed and site survice for location of the anthena done. Crew 201 expects that the following Crews take into consideration the existence of the antenna for their projects.

4. 3D Printing in space exploration: 3D printer its been used to make tools for the installation of the VSAT and the prototyping of a Rover. The weather complicated the correct functionality of the 3D printer. Also, several printed parts have presented some defects.

5. Engaging space to the people: All material has been recorded and it´s ready for the post production back on Earth.

6. Validation of electronics architecture and communication protocols for an exploration rover: Communication between computer and xbee electronics aboard failed, spare part never arrived.

7. Behavior of Artificial Vision algorithms for Autonomous Navigation: Images for patron recognition and stereovision with configured cameras for this characteristics has been taken. The software wasn’t capable of processing the information

8. Prototype and mechanical testing of Exploration rover: The rover has been assembled on a 99%, but we are having trouble with the 3d printer, missing 3 parts for fully assemble, still working on it.

9. Martian Soil Analysis for usage on Greenhab: The water testing on soil wasn’t successful, chemical tests pending.

Journalist Report – December 28th

Crew 201 Journalist Report – 28DEC2018

The Martian Chronicles

[SOL 13] – To the Stars through hardships

It is said that the hardest lessons for a human being come after they have gone through a hardship whatever it might be. Our history of exploration has come at great costs and hard lessons. Some lessons are costly, destroying several million dollar state of the art equipment; some lessons are grave, killing a quite a few; some lessons are demanding, permanently affecting oneself and others. Expanding humankind to the stars without risk and without hardships is impossible to believe and thus, sometimes a brave few have to go to hardships so others may follow the path.

MDRS Crew 201 – MEx-1

Our mission days are rapidly coming to an end. We are starting to look back and remember the long path that we worked to get to Mars. While on Mars, we have a new set of challenges and setbacks that made the crew use all their wit to solve the problems we have encountered: from a frozen pipe to the complete loss of a resupply mission that was coming with experiments for the station. This hardships are lessons learned that will in fact help us find a balance to what the next Exploration Mission (MEx – 2) will have to work with before making it to Mars.

This days at the station we have been actively making an autonomous rover that later will serve the purpose of building a larger one that will support the crew on exploration missions. This rover, printed in Mars, has been a real challenge. Weather conditions in the different modules have not been ideal for our printer and we have had parts that have collapsed right after they are done. Engineering has been working day and night to figure the best way to solve the issues and have it working before leaving the planet. It has been through rather elegant solution approaches that we have had the skill to overcome this issues and finalize every part of the rover.

We have reflected upon ourselves what space exploration means to us and why did we decided to come to Mars. For the crew, this dream started during childhood where we realized the stars hold a meaning to us and to humanity. How to get there? How to explore? How to pave the way for others to continue our work and make our species go where no other living thing has ever imagined? We have fought through hardships to be here. Whether it be people not believing in us to ridiculing the idea that exploration is part of our needs and space is our next frontier. Looking back to this we understand that the path taking us to the Red Planet has been challenging and exciting; that every crew member has supported a part of the mission and that whatever the future holds for us back on Earth will only be the next step to get back to the stars. To our stars.

Dear reader, this chronicles, mean to reflect our view of the adventure of a lifetime. The passion of a group and the support of families and friends who have cheered every single one of the crew members to the point that we feel much love on everything we do. Hardships then, to us, look like another step in our learning experience; another lesson for us to teach the next generation and most of all; they are part of our personal growth to take the best of us and make a better Earth for humans and all the beings that live on the beautiful blue planet.

We will go boldly to the stars through any hardship in our way. Because all the knowledge of our existence and essence comes from the stars themselves.

Ad Astra Per Aspera!

MEx-1 continuará informando.

Genaro Grajeda, MDRS Crew 201 Co-Journalist

Astronomy Report December 28th

Federico Arturo Martinez Espinoza

Crew: Crew 201 MEx-1

Date: Dec 28 2018


Robotic Telescope Requested MDRS-WF

Objects Viewed: Horsehead nebula

Problems Encountered: None, the filters used to take this image was RGB.

Greenhab Report – December 28th

Crew 201 Greenhab Report 28-DEC-2018
Greenhab Officer:
Walter Calles

Environmental Control:

40% Shade Cloth on

Average Temperatures:
Low: 24.3°C
High: 35.6°C

Hours of Supplemental Light:

Daily Water Usage of Crops:
16 gallons

Water in Blue Tank (lbs):

Times of Watering for Crops:

Changes to crops:
Nothing significant

Planted three new pots for Cress. Watered and reviewed all plants in general.
Some dry leaves in the far part of the Greenhab, apparently the sun exposition is heavy during the first hours of the day
Probably, that was the reason of the bad behaviour of the Cucumbers (now moved to the front of the Greenhab, next to the tomatoes)
Recomendation: move the shade cloth to cover that corner.

Experiment Results:
Date: SOL8 (SOL13 overall) Crew 201 Final Experiment Report
Control Pot: 3 sprouts in good shape
Soil Sample Type 1
@10%: OK, 3 sprouts
@20%: OK, 3 sprouts
@30: OK, 1 sprouts
@40%: No progress
@50%: No progress

Soil Sample Type 2
@10%:OK, 3 sprouts
@20%:OK, 2 sprouts

Soil Sample Type 3
@10%:OK, 1 sprout
@20%:OK, 1 sprout


Support/Supplies Needed:
More sticky papers.
Some more seeds to keep re-planting some plants would be helpful.
My request is:
-Baby Greens

Operations Report – December 28th

SOL: 13

Name of person filing report: César Augusto Serrano Baza

Non-nominal systems: Generator Autostart

Notes on non-nominal systems: None
Generator (hours run): 17:11 yesterday until around 09:34. Today started at 17:05

Solar— SOC 65%
Diesel Reading – Around 73%
Propane Reading – 67%
Ethanol Free Gasoline – N/A gallons.

Water (Axillary tank) – 0 gallons
Water (static tank) – Medium to low level, around 94-gallons.
Axillary to Static tank transfer– no
Gallons transferred: 0
Water in GreenHab – Medium level (35%)
Water (loft) – Static to Loft Pump used – yes
Water Meter: 01395823

Toilet tank emptied: NO

Deimos rover used: no, still not functional
Hours: 0
Beginning charge: –
Ending charge: –
Currently charging: no

Sojourner rover used: ASSIGNED TO DIRECTOR
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging X :

Spirit rover used: NO
Hours: 63
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 100%
Currently charging: YES

Opportunity rover used: NO
Hours: 44.8
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 100%
Currently charging: YES

Curiosity rover used: NO
Hours: 61.2
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 100%
Currently charging: YES

Notes on rovers: Nothing to report.
# Hours the ATVs were Used today: Nothing to report.
Notes on ATVs : Nothing to report.

HabCar used and why, where? Not used.
CrewCar used and why, where? Not used.

General notes and comments: We cleaned the tunnels due to the snow accumulation last night.

Summary of internet: Nothing to report.

Summary of suits and radios: Nothing to report.

Summary of GreenHab operations: – Nothing to report.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: – Nothing to report.

Summary of RAM operations: We cleaned the 80% of it. We found a water leak in the first up window.

Summary of any observatory issues: Musk Solar observatory – Nominal. RObotic Observatory – Nominal.

Summary of health and safety issues: Nothing to report.

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: Nothing to report.

Thank you!!!

Sol Summary – December 28th

Crew 201 Sol Summary Report 28-Dec-2018.

Sol: 13

Summary Title: End of simulation ☹

Author’s name: Carlos Mariscal, XO.

Mission Status: We are closing experiments, preparing our travel back to Earth.

Sol Activity Summary: Today we reached the end of our stay on Mars. Closed our experiments, did the food inventory and some snow cleansing.

Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow we will finish the Hab cleansing, and get ready for the arrival of Purdue crew to do the handover of all the necessary.

Anomalies in work: 3D printer had a mal function and we could not finish all the planned parts to be printed for the rover experiment.

Weather: Coldest day so far, snow, calm winds.

Crew Physical Status: We are all good.

EVA: We had an EVA planned just outside the Hab, however, it did not take place due to technical difficulties.

Reports to be file:

– Commander report

– EVA report

– Greenhab report

– Science report

– Astronomy report

– Operations report

– Journalist report

– Photos

– Mission Summary

Support Requested: Not applicable.

Journalist Report – December 27th

Crew 201 Journalist Report – 27DEC2018

The Martian Chronicles

[SOL 12] – Mars, the white planet

Mars is still a mystery for us in many ways. First probes, orbiters and landers were sent from earth to the red planet as early as the mid-60s. There are lots of things that we don’t know about our nearest planet. And there are lots of things that we’ve discovered over the past decades that we could’ve never imagined! Mars and the Earth are different in so many ways. But there are some similarities on both planets as well. For example… did you know that there is snow on Mars?

MDRS Crew 201 – MEx-1

We are almost reaching the end of our adventure, and the red planet has one or two more surprises for us. Something that we haven’t talked about is the location of our mission. We know that the Earth and Mars are very different planets. However, there are a couple of things in which they can be very similar. For example, we can find big mountains on both of them. And, believe it or not, we can see snow on the north and south poles of both planets as well. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Well, that was a big surprise for us too! And that’s why we decided to land on the Martian South Pole, in a place known as “Schmidt Crater”. And today, during our morning activities on the HAB, we experienced something amazing and unexpected. Something that Mission Control informed us that only had a 10% chances of actually happening: snow!

It’s hard to imagine a white Martian landscape. We are used to think about Mars as the Red Planet. But let me ensure you, dear reader, that this place has more exciting surprises to offer. It all started just after having breakfast. We didn’t schedule any EVAs for today, and we planned to do some video recordings all around the HAB. On the middle of those activities, we realized that the temperature started to drop pretty quickly. This was not the first time it happened, so we really didn’t care about that. Then, the first weird thing happened; our crew engineer tried to pump some water from the external (static) to the internal (loft) one. And… it was not working. After some troubleshooting, we found out that the water pipes were frozen! To be honest, we got worried about that situation, because our internal water supply was running low at that time. And trust me on this one! Water is something you don’t want to have trouble with (especially when you have six human beings living under the same roof). Fortunately, the crew managed to work with the pipes defroster in order to get things running again. Thank you, engineering!

In the meantime, we started to work on the video shootings mentioned earlier. We suited up, prepared some interesting topics we wanted to cover, and walked through the connecting tunnels from the main HAB to the Musk Observatory. It was freezing in there! Colder than ever before. It got nearly impossible to keep recording. We were just about to pick our stuff and get back to the HAB… when we saw how those tiny and white snowflakes started to fall, little by little, all over the Martian landscape. That was unbelievable! And amazingly beautiful to see. Our beloved red panorama started to change just in front of our eyes. Mars decided to share with us an experience we never thought to have. It was a lovely reminder of home, indeed. A beautiful image that none of us will never forget.

MEx-1 continuará informando.

Walter A. Calles Glass, MDRS Crew 201 Co-Journalist

Commander Report – December 27th

Sol 12


When I took this position I knew it was going to be an experience that would forge my character and allow me to improve my leadership.

I thought it would be difficult but it has been the opposite. My crew has been more than better. They are focused people and know what they are coming for to Mars. After all, they chose to come to Mars instead of having a nice Christmas dinner and New Year´s Eve at Earth. As I already described, the fear I had about my age and experience when it was about taking the place of Commander was only at the beginning. To be the leader, be the Commander, it´s about getting to know your colleagues, their vision, objectives and learning how to take advantage of their skills and knowledge to find a common good.

Before arriving to Mars, during our training in Earth, our psychologist asked me that in some dangerous situation, if I had to choose between saving the mission or the crew, what would I save? My instant response was the crew, but as I answered the next question, I kept thinking about whether the answer was correct or not.

On one hand, my response was completely biased because within Crew 201 are my best friends on Earth. But also Crew 201 means an end and mission with a greater objective than the people it integrates, and above all it means to represent humanity (and Mexico). Today I still have a conflict about what the correct answer is and I’m not sure if there is only one answer.

We are a few days away and the weather here on Mars has become complicated. We don´t have much chances to solve our problems within the projects since our supply rocket had exploded before leaving Earth. Sadly, another of our supply spaceships it´s lost somewhere in the space between Mars and Earth. We hope to find it back home.

With our time counted on Mars I just have to say that we will miss you little red planet.

Tania Robles


Copyright © The Mars Society. All rights reserved. | Main Site