Crew 245 Mid-mission Research Report
– 3D Printed objects utility
Research objectives: The experiment aims to test various 3D-printed objects for EVAs (surface sampling activities, drone’s spare) and medical activities. Each 3D-printed material will be tested immediately after printing, then use during nominal operations. The raw material used for the experiment are from polymers which offer similar mechanical properties as metals. After each use, fill a questionnaire and pictures of the object to analyse the degradation of the object with the use.
Achieved so far: Successfully tested the several geology tools for sample collections and storage. Crew 3D printed some of them before the mission but also during the missions.
– 3D Scan
Research objectives: The experiment aims to perform a detailed scan of the Habitat (internal and external) and generate a detailed 3D map of it. Potentially, other geological features might be scanned and mapped.
Achieved so far: Crew performed a scan of the internal part of the habitat, of the RAM and Science dome together with four geological formations during EVAs. The crew has downloaded the data and advanced in the post-processing of the data with a dedicated software and a python script adapted by the crew.
– Air Purification for Life Support systems
The experiment focuses on three main parts or “sub-experiments”:
• Experiment 1: monitoring the quality of the air by measuring the degree of contamination (or particulate matter PM) carried by the crew members.
• Experiment 2: Bacteriological detector for the evaluation of the bacterial concentration.
• Experiment 3: Bacterial cultivation in a controlled environment.
Achieved so far: the air purifier has been installed in the crew quarters of the habitat and it was activated right after. In addition to the daily filtering routine, the crew performs every other day manual measurements with a separate device to compare the two measurements. The crew has also performed the last part of the experiment (#3) in a controlled environment
– Biomonitors for continuous care
The purpose of the experiment is to continuously monitor the health of the crew members through a biomonitor device that includes integrated sensors designed to measure the body activity, heart rate, and body temperature and pressure of the crew members.
The members wear the biomonitor sensors undersuite and as a head band.
The data collected from the body monitoring are processed through a dedicated available software, and then transmitted to the principal investigators to be analyzed.
Achieved so far: Crew wore the sensors (on a T-shirt and headband) for the whole mission with the Crew HSO checking the correct functioning and recording of the data and values from time to time. The downlinked data will be processed post mission.
– BGM Mark 1 suits
Research objectives: Tests of a flightsuit simulator designed by Radici and shoes provided by calzaturificio King. These parts are worn and tested with sensors to measure quantities relevant for spacesuit simulator R&D. In particular, crew members wear an Emotibit sensor on their arm, and a custom made accelerometer on the right foot. A helmet with integrated air filtering and ventilation system is tested.
This experiment is part of a larger program for the development of a space suit simulator for analogue missions.
Achieved so far: crew members have been wearing the experimental flight suits and boots during EVAs. The helmet has been also successfully tested. Crew continues to wear the sensors (arm and shoes) during EVAs and the Crew Executive Officer (XO) downloads the data at the end of each EVA session. The crew will continue to wear them for the rest of the mission and data will be processed post mission. Feedback on the use of suit, boots and helmet are being collected by the XO.
– Evaluation of drone operations and questionnaires
Mapping (1)* of terrain and inspection (3) of the station and its elements (e.g. solar arrays) during Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs), also simulating possible search and rescue (2) events.
Acquisition of the martian base camp outside environment monitoring sandstorms through a warning weathercast system (4).
For the scenarios, a commercial drone is used for photogrammetry and surface analysis and exploration. The images produced are used in support of other experiments.
Note: () Numbers indicate priority
Achieved so far: Crew performed a test for the mapping function and a first full mapping session on Sol7. The generated map was used for the navigation test required for the Spit test experiment.
– Micrometeorites from the Solar System
Research objetives: The main purpose of the experiment is find the extra-terrestrial materials on the earth’s surface through the search of micrometeorites in the analog field.
The crew will collect minimum 10 and maximum 30 geological samples in different locations in the area of the Mars Research Desert Station that will be then analysed inside the station to search for micrometeorites.
All the samples will be stored and delivered to the PI after the mission.
Similar investigation and sample collection will be carried out in other analog environments (e.g. AMADEE20 performed by the Austrian Space Forum) and these different analog areas will be compared by extra-terrestrial traces. The final goal is to establish an analog mission micrometeorite archive.
Achieved so far: Crew collected a total of twelve samples out of the ten minimum required. The collected samples have been analysed by the crew scientist that has found several particles that were attracted by the magnetic field generated by the portable magnet. Those particles have been separated from the main samples and they will be further analysed by the principal investigator.
– Portable DNA analyser in search for Extraterrestrial life
Research objetives: This experiment aims to optimize research methods based on the restrictions of human-robotic exploration mission. Here, we focus on the easy-to-do methods including classical microbiology and NGS (next generation sequencing) techniques to identify extremophile bacteria, archaea, tardigrades, and slimemold. During this mission we aim to analyse sand samples on traces of microbial DNA. The experiment contains the following steps (1) sample collection; (2) DNA extraction; (3) sequencing, (4) analyses and interpretation (post-mission)
Achieved so far: Crew collected the maximum required number of samples (ten) and they were processed by the crew Scientist that has extracted the DNA by following the procedure prepared by the principal investigator. Unfortunately, due to an anomaly with one of the components of the portable sequencer, the crew was not able to sequence the DNA on-site, but the library of extracted DNA samples has been shipped to the principal investigator that will perform the troubleshooting and complete the DNA analysis.
– Satellite communication and data exchange
Research objetives: The purpose of the experiment is measuring the communications level between the GCS and the on-orbit satellite (D-orbit) through the amateur radio frequency. The software tool required by the experiment is also provided by D-Orbit.
Achieved so far: The crew installed the antenna and the ground station, it also attempted to connect a few times with the satellite during its pass above the station but without success. Troubleshooting activities have been attempted, but without much luck.
– Spit cortisol test
Research objectives: Measuring the cortisol level affecting the crew members. This test plays an important role in understanding (but also preventing) potential health risks, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, muscle weakness etc. The test could be done through blood samples combined with cyclomatic tests for the crew.
Achieved so far: The collection of the samples for the cortisol tests have been performed on the two targeted subjects after the successful execution of the navigation tests using a standard and a drone generated maps.
– EEG set during meditation
Research objectives: The purpose of this experiment consists of theoretical and practical study of the use of portable EEG headsets for neurofeedback experiments in isolated, confined and extreme environments. The aim of the research is to inquire about new non-intrusive methodology to countermeasure stress in isolation to enhance human performances in future long length space missions.
Achieved so far: due to technical issues with the EEG sent and a mishap in communication with another partner, the experiment was canceled.