Crew 271 – Mars Society
Crew Commander: Marc Levesque (United States)
Executive Officer/Chief Scientist: Cesare Guariniello (United States/Italy)
Crew Engineer/Health and Safety Officer: Sergii Iakymov (Ukraine)
Crew Geologist: Helen Eifert (United States)
Crew Researcher: Andres Käosaar (Estonia)
Crew Biologist/Journalist/Green Hab Officer: Alicyn Grete (United States)
MDRS Crew 271 is a diverse group of individuals selected from individual applications. Three members (Levesque, Guariniello, and Iakymov) are veterans of previous MDRS missions, while three others will be MDRS rookies. The crew’s priority will be to maintain all MDRS facilities, vehicles, and equipment in a safe and operable condition and to complete the wide variety of planned projects. Below is a detailed summary of projects during the mission.
Title: Uniplanar External Fixation Training Module Evaluation
Crew member: Alicyn Grete
Objectives: Test whether MDRS crew members will be able to use the provided educational module to teach themselves a new surgical skill and to complete the training module with the simulator based entirely on the module accessed through a provided Raspberry Pi device and the material preloaded on that device.
Description: The results of this study will be used to judge the quality of the modules, not the clinical competence of the MDRS crew members. MDRS crew members will test the modules by using the training module to learn, practice, and gain competence in an unfamiliar surgical skill. For the participant, this process will include:
A. Filling out a pre-learning “Clinical Confidence Assessment” to document their pre-training level of experience with the clinical skill being trained;
B. Constructing their own simulator from the clinical skill module instructions;
C. Completing the training module with the simulator based entirely on the module accessed through a provided Raspberry Pi device and the material preloaded on that device;
D. Completing a self-administered test included in the training module to assess their readiness to perform this surgical skill; and
E. Filling out post-training assessment questionnaires.
A 3D printer, filament, personal protective equipment, gloves, surgical drill, modular external fixation hardware, training materials, supplies, and equipment will be provided for the research.
Rationale: Astronauts on deep space missions are at significant risk of sustaining fractures due to trauma and bone loss that occurs during long duration spaceflight. This research demonstrates that Martian analog crew members can use a 3D printed bone simulation models to become confident and competent in performing modular external fixation procedures in an austere environment and without access to specialist support from Mission Control.
Titles: Coping Strategies for Long-Duration Space Exploration (Study 1) and Team Challenge Resolution Mechanisms in Isolated and Confined Space Analog Mission Through Ethnographic Methods (Study 2)
Crew member: Andres Käosaar
Objectives: The purpose of both studies is to better understand the role that emotion and coping strategies have on team dynamics within Isolated, Confined, and Extreme (ICE) environments.
Description: Study 1 relies on self-reported data gathered via questionnaires, journal entries, and interviews for exploring the relationship between different coping mechanisms and team-level dynamics. Study 2 relies on in-situ observations and discussions with the crew for understanding the connections between different stressors and challenges with individual- and team-level outcomes.
Rationale: These studies explore several aspects that have not received a lot of attention in behavioral studies of ICE teams (i.e., the effect of emotion regulation and coping mechanisms on team dynamics and the influence of character of a stressor on individual and team). Understanding these mechanisms better will help to understand important aspects of human behavior for long-duration space missions.
Title: Collection of clay, shale, and hematite samples
Crew member: Cesare Guariniello
Objectives: Continue the past activity of sample collection for evaluation of potential In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) material.
Description: Continuing research from the past two years, samples will be collected to be studied in terms of mineralogy and geotechnical properties. If allowed to carry portable spectrometer, will conduct in-place reading of collected samples. Experiment designed to evaluate water content and bulk size.
Rationale: ISRU will be important to reduce the amount of material transported to Mars
EVAs required: Three to four
Title: Messier and other space objects for outreach
Crew member: Cesare Guariniello
Objectives: Continue astronomy outreach by showing the majesty of some of the most spectacular deep sky objects.
Description: This project was started before this mission and is the continuation of astronomy work from a previous mission. The goal is to observe (and later filter and color) planetary nebulas and other interest objects.
Rationale: Inspire people to become interested not only in the utility but also in the beauty of space.
Title: Drying trends of a clay-rich surface
Crew member: Helen Eifert
Objectives: Supplement active research constraining the thermophysical properties and drying trends of Mars-analogous surfaces in order to better detect moisture remotely on Mars.
Description: Collection of spectral data using an ASD field spectrometer (FieldSpec4) of a designated surface that has been saturated. The spectrometer will be set up in place to capture the drying trends of a clay-rich surface over time to better understand the influence of time and composition on specific absorption features.
Rationale: Provide a clay-rich end member to existing experiments of drying trends of Mars-analogous surfaces.
EVAs: One long and two to three short ones to collect additional measurements in the following days (can be tacked on in support of other EVAs after taking the first single measurement).
Title: Station maintenance and upgrades
Crew member: Sergii Iakymov
Description: This project will undertake the following activities:
1) EVA suits inspection and testing. During this season, MDRS team have encountered some issues with power systems of the suits. An inspection will be conducted of existing wiring, switches, batteries, and chargers for a root cause analysis to resolve any issues.
2) EVA airlock timer prototype. Currently all crews use timers on personal devices for a the five minute depressurization/pressurization cycle before and after EVAs. This activity will assemble and program a timer prototype to test during the mission to determine if it is easier to use a timer in the EVA airlock and the best location for it.
3) Compatibility test for new WiFi network and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This phase will test IoT devices in the new WiFi6 network for the possibility of integration of a Smart Home system into the MDRS campus.
Title: Radio communications system maintenance
Crew member: Marc Levesque
Description: This project will conduct a maintenance check on the recently-installed MDRS radio repeater and extend the antenna mast to expand radio coverage. It will also undertake communication checks during crew EVAs to test the effectiveness of the higher antenna and monitor handheld radio battery consumption to determine the optimal recharging interval.
EVAs: Several, mostly in conjunction with other project-related EVAs.
Crew 271 Commander