Non-Nominal Systems: Robotic observatory.
Action taken for non-nominal systems: New parts for Robotic observatory are received and scheduled to be installed during Crew 261 rotation.
Solar: nominalSOC Last 24 hours: Max 100%; Min 35 %; Avg 70.3%.
VDC Last 24 hours: Max 58.68V; Min 43.49; Avg 50.90V.Generator run time: about 12am – 6am. Not used on April 28th. Generator hours 3774.7.
Propane Reading Station Tank: 75%
Propane Reading Director Tank: 63%
Propane Reading Intern Tank: 71%
Propane Reading Generator Tank: 70%
Water (Static Tank) – 545 gallons
Water in GreenHab – 190 gallons
Water (Outpost tank) – 390 gallons
Water in Science Dome: 0 gallons
Hab Toilet Tank emptied: n/a
Sojourner rover used: Yes.
Beginning Charge: 100
Ending Charge: 100
Currently Charging: Yes
Notes on Rovers: All are plugged in, charged. All corroded battery wires were replaced. Spare keys were separated from the main ones. All keys are labeled and spare keys placed into the Director’s trailer.
ATV’s Used: (Honda, 350.1, 350.2, 300): None
Reason for use: n/a
Oil Added? No
ATV Fuel Used: 0 Gals
Ethanol Free Gasoline — 0 Gallons
# Hours the ATVs were Used today: 0
Notes on ATV: All parked at the outpost and awaiting to be taken to service.
HabCar used and why, where? Yes. To Hanksville for water runs and supplies pick up.
Crew Car used and why, where? Yes. To Grand Junction by crew. To Hanksville for refill.
General notes and comments: Nominal.
Dual Split in Science Dome: off due to warmer weather.
Summary of Internet: Nominal
Summary of suits and radios: Headset #2 was replaced due to absence of the Ear Pad Cushion.
EVA COMMS: Nominal
Campus wide inspection, if action taken, what and why: nothing to report
Summary of General Operations: All nominal.
Summary of Hab operations: Nominal. Hab heater was turned off for tonight.
Summary of GreenHab Operations: Nominal, heater turned off.
Summary of SciDome Operations: Nominal.
Summary of any Observatory Issues: New parts for Robotic observatory are received and scheduled to be installed during Crew 261 rotation .
Summary of RAM Operations: Nothing to report
Summary of Outpost Operations:
Old wood from the clothesline deck was burned.
Intern’s trailer – heater off.
All keys were labeled.
Summary of Health and Safety Issues: Nominal.
Questions, Concerns, Supplies needed and Requests: Nothing to report
The Hypatia I crew is an interdisciplinary and multigenerational team composed of 9 women selected to participate in an analog mission at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) between 16-29 April, 2023. Their names and backgrounds are presented below.
Mariona Badenas-Agustí (Crew Commander & Crew Astronomer): Degree in Astrophysics from Yale University, a master’s degree in Astrophysics, Cosmology, and High Energy Physics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and a Ph.D candidate in Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She spends much of her free time giving educational lectures on the universe and space exploration.
Carla Conejo González (Crew Executive Officer & Crew Biologist): Degree in Human Biology by the Pompeu Fabra University, a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industry by the same university, and a postgraduate’s degree in Science Communication by the University of Vic. Cofounder of the science-travel app Polaris. Former head of Science Programs at the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera.
Dr. Ariadna Farrés Basiana (Crew Scientist & Health and Safety Officer): Specialist in astrodynamics, celestial mechanics and solar sails at the Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA (USA). She has participated in the launch of the James Webb telescope. She holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of Barcelona (Spain).
Dr. Neus Sabaté (Mission Specialist): ICREA researcher at the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics (IMB-CNM-CSIC). Co-founder of Fuelium, a spin-off company dedicated to the development of sustainable paper batteries for disposable portable devices. Her research has been recognized by institutions such as the European Research Council and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, she is working on the development of rapid and affordable molecular devices for the global detection of infectious diseases.
Dr. Laia Ribas (GreenHab Officer): Leader of the Repro-Immune Team research group at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), where she investigates interactions between the reproduction and immune system of fish. She is part of the Nüwa team, an award-winning project for the design of a city for 1M inhabitants on Mars. She has a PhD in biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Cesca Cufí Prat (Crew Engineer): Aerospace engineer at Airbus Defence & Space and specialist in orbital control systems. Her work focuses on the control of high-precision instruments for Earth observation. Passionate about mountaineering, with a good command of risk management and survival techniques in extreme environments.
Núria Jar (Crew Journalist): Science and health journalist with 15 years of experience in some of the most important media outlets in Catalonia and Spain, such as Catalunya Ràdio, TV3, La Vanguardia, Rac1, El País, Muy Interesante, and Revista 5W. She is the author of the podcast audio series “Human Condition” and “The Female Scientists of COVID”.
Anna Bach (Back-up Crew Scientist & Artist in Residence): Data analyst, mathematician, and computer scientist. In addition, she is the creator and illustrator of comic strips on her profile Annet Planet, where she has more than 40,000 followers.
Helena Arias (Back-up Crew Engineer): Undergraduate student majoring in mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, and physics at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the National University of Distance Education. She is also an engineering intern at the Alba Synchrotron as well as an Olympic shooting elite athlete.
Some Interesting Facts
Some of the songs played through the radios for the astronauts 5-minutes waiting to go outside for an extravehicular activity (EVA) in the airlock: Rocket Man (Elton John), Starman (David Bowie) Flowers (Miley Cyrus), Cold Heart (Elton John & Dua Lipa), Surfin’ USA ( Beach Boys), Desaparecido (Manu Chao), No hi ha camí (Sopa de Cabra), Ladies Night (Kool & The Gang), My Girl (Dafunkis).
Three showers per person in 12 SOLs, but daily personal hygiene.
Seven homemade breads and 25 moka express pots done by the end of SOL 12.
Favorite dehydrated food: Cheesy Broccoli Soup Mix from Augason Farms.
An average of 6 hours of sleep every day.
1.19 gallons (4.5 liters) of pee recollected from the crew members for the Martian batteries experiments.
Two star nights in the Musk Telescope & three dancing party nights, two of them in the lower deck.
Two piñata’s: one astronaut and one shiny star (SOL 5 & SOL 11).
Two small mice were set free from a mouse trap that had been set in the GreenHab (SOL 8 & SOL 11).
Northern Lights were seen from the Mars Research Desert Station (MDRS) in the night sky (SOL 7).
The Crew Commander completed another orbit around the Earth, but from Mars (SOL 11).
Daily Life at the MDRS
The Hypatia I crew tracked their daily SOL on Mars, so there is much information about their water consumption, the GreenHab harvest and the numbers of extravehicular activities (EVA).
The Mission Specialist Neus Sabaté and the Crew Engineer Cesca Cufí were in charge of the Operations Reports. One of the data that surprises the most is the water consumption, far from the water consumption on Earth.
Evolution of water consumption
During the first 3 SOLs water tank was being filled partially by Mission Support. This made impossible to calculate water consumption. Looking at the water consumption rate from SOL 4 to SOL 11, we have extrapolated the water consumption of SOL 1-3.
Water Consumption [gallons]
166 gal (Estimated 524 gal)
Average daily consumption per person
The GreenHab Officer Laia Ribas was responsible for watering all the plants three times per day. She took care of them to provide fresh vegetables for the crew. The total harvest is summarized below:
Red cherry tomatoes
Yellow cherry tomatoes
Salad mix sprouts
SOL 11 was the hottest day during the mission, with the temperature reaching 98.6 degrees Fahrenhet (37 degrees Celsius).
As the Hypatia I crew concludes its mission to the MDRS, the Hypatia Mars Association successfully achieves one of its main goals: conducting high-quality space-related research in a Martian simulated environment as an instrument for promoting science vocations among the young. Our hopes are that the Hypatia I team becomes the first of many crews to travel to “Mars” to inspire future generations of women in STEM. If given the opportunity, we hope to be back to the MDRS in 2025, thus passing the torch to a brand-new Hypatia II crew.
The Hypatia I mission is possible with the financial support of the following institutions and private companies:
This morning, the Hypatia I crew started packing and cleaning the station. At around 4PM, they returned to the Earth, hence concluding a productive and intense stay on the Red Planet. It has been an emotional afternoon, and the crew will celebrate their effort and hard work with a nice dinner tonight in Hanksville.
Looking back, the Hypatia I mission at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) has been a challenging but rewarding experience. And although everyone is looking forward to going back home, they know that their work on Mars is far from over. Indeed, as the crew returns to Barcelona, they will continue to promote scientific vocations, especially among young girls interested in STEM careers. By showing them what is possible, and by encouraging them to pursue their dreams, Hypatia I hopes to create a new generation of explorers and scientists. As NASA Astronaut Sally Ride once said: “You cannot be who you cannot see.”
As the Commander of Hypatia I, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the MDRS Mission Support Team –and especially to Shannon Rupert and Sergii Iakymov– for their help and support during our stay on Mars. Thank you!
Look ahead plan: The team will go back to Grand Junction tomorrow after breakfast.
Anomalies in work: None.
Weather: Sunny. Low 39F/High 70F.
Crew physical status: Nominal.
Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Operations Report, GreenHab Report, Journalist Report, Pictures of the Day, End-of-Mission Research Summary, Mission Summary
Crew 280 Operations Report 28-04-2023
Name of person filing report: Cesca Cufi Prat (Crew Engineer)
Notes on non-nominal systems: Replacement parts of Robotic observatory are scheduled to be installed during crew 261 rotation.
Spirit rover used: no
Beginning charge: –
Ending charge: –
Currently charging: no
Opportunity rover used: no
Beginning charge: –
Ending charge: –
Currently charging: yes
Curiosity rover used: no
Beginning charge: –
Ending charge: –
Currently charging: yes
Perseverance rover used: no
Beginning charge: –
Ending charge: –
Currently charging: no
General notes on rovers: none
Summary of Hab operations:
WATER USE: 35.7 gal (from 6PM Sol11 to 5PM Sol12)
Water (static tank): 208.5 gal (at 5:00PM)
Static tank pipe heater: off
Static tank heater: off
Toilet tank emptied: no
Summary of internet: used from 18:00 to 21:00 for personal communication and reports.
Summary of suits and radios:
Suits: not used
Radios: EVA radios not used
All radio and spacesuit batteries checked before EVA: not used
Summary of GreenHab operations:
WATER USE: 14 gallons (+2 gallon for Science Dome)
Supplemental light: Off
Summary of ScienceDome operations: Laia Ribas, Neus Sabaté and Cesca Cufí have been dismounting the experimental setups and tidying up the lab.
Dual split: Heat or AC, Off
Summary of RAM operations: none
Summary of any observatory issues:
Robotic observatory: Not working. Replacement parts are scheduled to be installed during crew 261 rotation.
Summary of health and safety issues: none
Summary of other system’s issues: none
Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support:
Kitchen: knobs have been replaced. They fit properly, however there is a shift on the knob position. We suggest putting a mark with a pen to avoid incorrect operation. See picture attached. There is an extra knob that has been kept in the cupboard above the kitchen stove.
As the final countdown began, mixed feelings filled the crew on their last hours on Mars. Hypatia I is returning to Earth after spending 12 SOLs on Mars. Despite the fact that a Martian day lasts 39 minutes longer than an Earth day, time seemed to have flown by at the Mars Research Desert Station (MDRS).
At around 4PM, the crew saw the first human in days. Sergii Iakymov, assistant director at the MDRS, had been supporting the crew as Mission Control throughout their Martian journey.
On the one hand, the crew members are excited to return to their families and loved ones, to feel the Earth’s gravity, and to enjoy a hot shower. On the other hand, they feel a sense of nostalgia as they say goodbye to the Red Planet that has been their home. It is bittersweet to leave behind the place where they have conducted experiments, made discoveries, and shared unforgettable experiences.
After their mission on Mars, the Hypatia I crew members prepared the station for the arrival of the next crew, who were scheduled to arrive the following day. They cleaned up the station for the incoming ones to continue. They also conducted a thorough check of all systems and equipment to ensure everything was in good working order for the next team.
Before leaving the MDRS, the crew members took a moment to reflect on their mission and the memories they made during their time on Mars. Two golden laurel branches, as if they were astronaut wings, adorn their shoulders after completing the mission.
It’s an emotional moment for the crew as they are as excited to return home but also sad to leave the Red Planet and end their mission. This experience was a turning point for all of them that they will cherish as they look up to the skies.
Environmental control: Open during the day and heater during the night
Temperatures: 78.5 F
Hours of supplemental light: N/A
Daily water usage for crops: 14 gallons
Daily water usage for research and/or other purposes: 2 gallon
Water in Blue Tank: 33 gallons
Time(s) of watering for crops: 09.30, 18:00 h
Changes to crops: N/A
The general watering of plants and crops was done. The door was open all day. Dried leaves from a couple of tomato plants have been removed. The GreenHab has been cleaned by sweeping the floor. Further, the dust from the shelves and that from the wood platform where the tomatoes are, has been removed. Today the Mustard spinach planted on the 28th of April by Crew 280 has been born (see figure).
Harvest: no harvest today
Green Hab officer would like to thank Mission Support for the help.
Over this past week, the MDRS astronomical facilities have provided a unique opportunity to observe the Martian night sky under limited light pollution. Taking advantage of these great conditions, Mariona Badenas-Agusti (Crew Commander and Astronomer) is combining her leadership and management responsibilities at the MDRS with two astronomy-related projects:
Study of the Solar Chromosphere [External Point of Contact: Mr. Peter Detterline]: The goal of this project was to use the Lunt 1000mm refracting telescope in the Musk Observatory to study the chromosphere of the Sun. During the first days of the mission, the telescope was not properly aligned, so Mariona had to spend some time understanding how to calibrate it properly. After this issue was resolved, she was able to conduct visual observations of the Sun and identify a variety of magnetic phenomena, including sunspots, flares, and granules. To date, she has been able to identify various sunspots through the telescope’s eyepiece.
Astrophotography of Deep-Sky Objects [External Point of Contact: Mr. Peter Detterline]: The goal of this project was to use the MLC-RCOS16 Robotic telescope to generate RGBLHa color images of deep-sky objects. For this project, Mariona observed
a variety of planetary nebulae (NGC 6888/Crescent Nebula, NGC 6853/Dumbbell Nebula) and galaxies (NGC 4273, NGC 5371, NGC 5033, NGC5055/Messier 63, and NGC 3184/Little Pinwheel Galaxy). After returning to the Earth, she will process her observations and share her final color images with the general public.
The Hypatia I crew has several biology-related projects in the fields of microbial, animal and human sciences. The MDRS provides a unique environment to conduct such projects: first, it allows us to study how humans and microbial life would develop on Mars; and second, the MDRS’ exterior environment is a good place to search for potential “Martian” biological signatures.
Carla Conejo González (Crew Executive Officer & Biologist) has combined her Executive Officer responsibilities at the MDRS with projects on humans factors affecting a mission to Mars, including experiments in the fields of neurosciences, psychology, sociology and gynecology, in collaboration with different European institutions:
Circadian rhythms in a Mars analog mission [External Point of Contact: Dr. Jorge Abad, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Spain]: The goal of this project was to study the sleep-wake cycle of the crew and how their participation in a Martian analog mission at the MDRS has affected their circadian rhythms. The project had two different
approaches: (i) the telemetric approach, where each crew member’s sleep record was tracked using an actigraphy wearable wrist-worn device (Fitbit® by Google) and complemented by 4 out of 7 participants with an automatic video analysis using the beta-version of a mobile app (SleepWise®) ; (ii) the same register was recorded using a written sleep log diary, where each crew member wrote down when they went to sleep and woke up, as well as their self-perception of sleepiness during the day. Both digital and analogic records will be analyzed after the mission.
Additional observations: As part of the mission, other observations were planned to complement the results of the primary experiment.
Neurosciences [External Point of Contact: Dr. Jorge Abad, Head of the Pulmunology Unit of the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Spain]: The Trail Making Test (TMT) has been used to assess the effect of sleep in the neurocognitive performance of the crew during the mission. TMT is one of the most widely used tests in neuropsychological tests that provide information on visual conception and visuomotor tracking, motor speed, attention and executive functions; it is a timed test where the score represents the amount of time required to complete the task. TMT has been performed twice a week by the crew.
Psychology [External Point of Contact: Michel Nicolas, PhD, Professor at University of Burgundy, France]: The goal of this subproject was to better understand the psychological adaptation to isolated and confined extreme conditions during a space mission simulation, and its repercussions on individual, social and organizational features. The data collection has been performed using 10-minutes questionnaires that the crew filled up on a daily basis.
Sociology [External Point of Contact: Rudolf Kubík, Researcher at Sociomapping, Czech Republic]: Sociomapping® is a unique tool for developing teams and team coaching. The goal of this
subproject was to study the social interactions of the crew to optimize its performance. The data collection consisted of 5-minutes questionnaires that the crew filled up twice a week, after which the crew received a report from the company including a visualization of the social structure of the crew and suggestions for improvement.
Gynecology [External Point of Contact: Dr. Joaquim Calaf, Emeritus Chairman of Obstetric and Gynaecology of the Hospital of Sant Pau, Spain]: The goal of this subproject was to study changes in the ovarian function of an all-female crew subjected to the experimental situation of participating in a 15-day Martian analog mission at the MDRS. Data collection was performed with 5-minutes questions that the crew filled up pre-mission and in specific moments during the mission determined by their period.
Laia Ribas (Green Hab Officer & Biologist) was combining her daily responsibilities in the GreenHab with her research projects. Her projects are summarized below:
CatMart [External Point of Contact: Marisa Flanneris, soil scientist at MicrobioMeter; Maria Matas, Director of La Marinada School, El Masnou, Barcelona]: This is an outreach project aimed at identifying microorganisms on Mars. A total of eleven Martian spots were sampled, obtaining a total of 100-300 g of soil. In particular, sand was collected from Cowboy Corner (sampled on 20/03/23); Kissing Camel River (sampled on 21/03/23) ; Robert Garden Rock (sampled on 21/03/23); North Ridge (sampled on 22/03/23) ; Compass Road (sampled on 23/03/23); White Rock Canyon (sampled on 25/04/2023); Barrainca Butte (sampled on 25/04/2023); the area around the MDRS Hab (sampled on 26/04/2023); Brahe HWY1572 (Down Hill sampled on 26/04/2023); Brahe HWY1572 (Up Hill sampled on 26/04/2023); and Marbel Ritual (sampled on 27/04/2023). The soil samples, kept in zipper plastic bags, were brought to the station for further analysis during the remaining SOLs. The microorganisms were tested by a commercial kit (MicroBiometer, USA). Results showed the presence of microorganisms (bacteria and fungus) in seven out of the eleven Martian soil sampled at the Martian desert while the other four, no Martian life was able to detect. The highest ratio of those microorganisms detected by the kit belonged to bacterial burdens. The level of microrganisms were 52 µg C/g (White Rock) to 115 µg C/g (Robert Garden). Soil from the Green Hab was used as positive control (432 µg C/g).
Aquaculture on Mars. [External Point of Contact: Roger Anglada, sequencing services at University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona]. The aim of this project was to study the alteration of the epigenome in zebrafish subjected to hypergravity. The experiments were conducted at the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC, Barcelona). This project is at the forefront of high-sequencing
technology through the use of an instrument called MinION. Unfortunately, due to the delivery of the products and the samples, the FlowCells needed for sequencing were not in optimal conditions therefore, the project was stopped. Nevertheless, we are continually studying the technique as it will be used in the Ribas’ Lab in Barcelona.
Martian Bottle [External Point of Contact: Helena Arias, Bottle designer and Hypatia I crew; Marisa Flanneris, soil scientist at MicrobioMeter]. The aim of the experiment was to reduce the number of microorganisms in the water. The
water was obtained from the waste watering in the GreenHab. Three experiments were performed based on different exposition times and temperatures (4ºC and Room Temperature). The figure on the right shows one step of the protocol in which the residual water is diluted (right side in the figure) and divided into two experimental groups, the control (middle) and the Martian bottle (left). Microrganisms were detected by using a commercial kit (MicroBiometer, USA). Unfortunately, none of the three experiments showed a decreased of the level of microorganisms in comparison with the control group. Therefore, further experiments need to be performed.
Seeds for the crew. The aim of the project was to provide fresh food for the crew. A total of 75 g of two different seeds were cultured in a plastic box containing wet tissue paper in the GreenHab. The seeds are almost ready to be harvested.
Cesca Cufí (Crew Engineer) is combining her duties as engineer with an engineering and biology project. The biology project consists of:
Cellular intelligence on Mars [External Point of Contact: Dr. Audrey Dussutur, CNRS]: This research project aimed at studying the influence of UV, IR radiation and gravity on the exploration behavior and sporulation triggering of physarum polycephalum. Physarum polycephalum, commonly known as “blob”, is an example of plasmodial myxomycetes that consists of a multinucleate single cell amoeba-like organism. This curious creature shows rare learning capabilities for a single celled organism. It is capable of memorizing its previous path and of finding the optimum one towards the food sources. Slime molds are not only surprising for its learning capabilities but for being extremely resistant. However, physarum has shown to be very sensible to light. This research can give us some clues on how life on Mars can be developed and moreover, lighten great questions about life development on Earth before the formation of the current atmosphere. Three sclerotia of physarum polychefalum (LUT strain) were cultivated and grown until big enough to provide 4 clones to be tested simultaneously in different conditions:
One sample being the control sample, with no stimulation.
A second sample on an inclined plate to evaluate the effect of gravity.
A third one being stimulated with IR light.
And finally, a fourth sample, stimulated with UV light.
The temperature in the Science Dome was above 20ºC, the maximum temperature for an optimal test. The temperature, together with the low humidity, complicated the cultivation of the physarum and the tests. A malfunction of the cabin (see Engineering part) didn’t allow to have concluding results. The experiment will be conducted back on Earth and further developed.
Dr. Ariadna Farres Basiana (Scientist & Health and Safety Officer) is combining her Health & Safety Officer duties at the MDRS with an astrodynamics and navigation project:
Martian GPS: The goal of this project was to study the feasibility of a low-cost GPS network around Mars. First, we replicated Earth’s GPS around Mars by adjusting some of the orbital parameters, like the semi-major axis (sma) and the Right Ascension of the Ascending Node (RAAN), to ensure the same type of coverage around the Martian surface. This network requires at least 24 satellites, in 6 orbital different orbital planes, which is far from low-cost, however this ensures a 24h hours coverage on most parts of the Martian surface. Second, we worked on reducing the number of satellites to 6 placed in 3 different orbital planes, which ensures 24h coverage around Chryse Planitia (“Golden Plane”) where we have established our Martian base. Further orbital configurations must be studied to reduce the number of satellites. All the simulations have been done using NASA’s open-source software GMAT (General Mission Analysis Tool).
How do we navigate? The idea behind this project is to remember how our ancestors used to find their way around the world. Now we strongly rely on GPS and have forgotten how to interpret a map. But when we get to Mars, we will probably need to do the same. We already started exploring the cost of building a Martian GPS, but how can we orient ourselves on the Martian surface without this more advanced technology? Two different activities have been studied for this purpose.
Building a Sextant: A sextant is a navigation instrument used to measure the angle between any two visible objects. It is commonly used in navigation around the sea to determine the angle between the horizon and a celestial body, such as the sun or stars, to calculate our latitude and longitude. Mars rotation axis has an inclination of 25 deg, very similar to the one from Earth, hence the night sky is very similar, and we could also point a sextant towards Polaris to determine our latitude on Mars.
We built an in-house sextant using a material that was available inside the base, such as a ruler, a home-made protractor, a string, and a rock. We checked the precision of our sextant trying to determine the MDRS latitude, we had an error of 4 deg, which we considered a success.
Navigation Exercise: Being able to orient yourself on Martian terrain will be determinant for future astronauts. We developed a navigation exercise, with the excuse of a rescue mission, the crew members had to find 4 beacons around Robert’s Rock Garden, following a map and written instructions. Two crew members (Arianda Farres and Cesca Cufi) identified landmarks and placed the beacons in the field and wrote down the exercise. The rest of the crew was split into two different groups that performed the exercise in two different EVAs. Both groups managed to finish the exercise in less than 40 min.
Cesca Cufí (Crew Engineer) is combining her duties as engineer with an engineering and biology project. The engineering project is summarized below:
“The Blob’s house”: This project consisted of designing and constructing a prototype of a biologically safety cabin to perform biological experiments in the context of an analog mission where biocontamination has to be prevented. The cabin features were specifically designed for the biological experiment with the physarum polycephalum (commonly known as “blob”). It contained 4 light boxes equipped with a camera and a LED light each. Two of the boxes contained a PCB, one with a IR emitter and the other one with a UV emitter. The current provided to these emitters reproduced the radiation that reaches the Martian surface. The cameras and LEDs were controlled with a raspberry pi. The cabin also contained a venting system with two fans that activated depending on the temperature of the cabin, provided by a temperature and humidity sensor. The venting system was equipped with filters (membrane) to prevent external agents to enter the cabin as well as interior organisms to pollute the exterior. The sensor and the fans were controlled with an arduino. The arduino data was transferred to the raspberry pi to be registered. Every 4 minutes the LEDs were switched, a picture was taken and the temperature and humidity was registered. The cabin was lightweight and fully demountable.
The cameras presented a bug that had not been observed before when using the cabin on Earth. This bug was triggered randomly in one of the cameras, when the system was commanded to take a picture with the lights on. This bug prevented the lights to turn off, over stimulating the samples and therefore resulting in non representative results. We are working to investigate and solve this issue.
Dr. Neus Sabaté (Mission Specialist) is assisting the Crew Engineer of the mission and performing her Engineering experiments related to battery development:
Martian batteries development: The goal of this project was to use iron-based rocks present in Mars (or in the MDRS surroundings) as main components to build-up primary batteries as on-site power sources for a future mission to Mars. To evaluate the feasibility of this approach, Sabaté proposed three different subprojects:
Extraction of electroactive Fe ions from rocks [External Point of Contact: Dr. Angels Canals, Professor at the Earth Sciences Faculty from University of Barcelona] Four different locations (Marble Ritual, Compass Rock,Robert’s Garden Rock and Barainca Butte) were explored and in two of those locations (Marble Ritual and Barainca Butte) Sabate found soundstone rock, siltstone and argillite. The rock samples were immersed in diluted HCl for a few days in order to extract the Fe3+ and Fe2+ ions. Presence of Fe3+ ions was found in the solutions with immersed argilite samples, proving that it is possible to extract electroactive ions from the rocks with a simple chemical procedure. The method used to identify Fe3+ presence was electrochemical cyclic voltammetry with a portable potentiostat.
Optimized martian batteries operation. As a proof of concept, Sabaté also mounted and characterized 3 batteries based on iron-chemistry. In this case, as the quantity of iron obtained per rock was very small, additional iron was brought from Earth in two different formats: iron bars (Fe(0) state) as battery anodes and ferric chloride salts (Fe3+) as cathodic species. The batteries were mounted in series and filled up with salty water. After this first test, water was substituted by urine’s crew, as a way to minimize water consumption and proof that it is possible to use this liquid as an alternative to water for power generation. The energy generated with the batteries has successfully powered a small LED module that stimulates seed growing during five days
Growing seeds with artificial LED lighting. In order to show a visual and understandable application of the project, the martian batteries were tailored to match the power needs of a LED module. Sabaté planted seeds in three different desktop hotbeds that were submitted to different conditions: one hotbed was placed next to the Science Dome window and received sunlight during the day, another hotbed was placed inside a camping storage cupboard and was in
complete darkness whereas the last one received LED lighting (powered by iron-based batteries) from 8:00am to 8:00pm. Experiments were conducted during 5 days. The results were conclusive: LED lighting stimulates growth and allows green sprouts to grow in very short periods of time!
Outreach and Communication
Núria Jar (Crew Journalist) was reporting on the field the experience of Hypatia I at the MDRS. Her main projects are summarized below:
Daily journalist reports for the MDRS explaining the day at the base.
Taking photographs for the “Photograph of the day” report, requested by the MDRS.
Daily audio reports about Hypatia I crew’s experience at the MDRS for the Catalan public radio station Catalunya Ràdio.
Recording featured interviews and sounds recorded during the mission for her podcast “Sounds of Mars”, which will be released by Catalunya Ràdio.
Filming some interesting scenes of Hypatia I daily routine to document the experience.
In addition, she is also working on a future book about the mission to inspire young girls to pursue STEAM-related careers, as the Hypatia crew members did.
Carla Conejo González (Crew Executive Officer & Biologist) is also conducting a communication project consisting of a video diary of the mission that will be released after the mission. In addition, she is giving support to the outreach projects of her crewmates.
Ariadna Farrés Basiana (Scientist & Health and Safety Officer) is also conducting an outreach activity called in collaboration with St. Peter’s School in Catalonia. The goal is to study the effect of the space environment on Tomato seeds. We got two sets of tomato seeds: one set of seeds had spent 5 weeks in the International Space Station (ISS), while the other set of seeds stayed on Earth. These seeds were provided by TomatoSphere, and we have no prior
information of which set of seeds went to space. We planted the two sets of seeds on Sol 2 (8 seeds per set) and monitored them throughout the ten remaining Sols. The first set (V) started sprouting on Sol 8, while the second set (W) sprouted on Sol 10. At the end of the mission we had 5 seed form set V and 3 seeds form set W. We will now submit these results and find out which set of seeds went to the ISS.
Laia Ribas (Green Hab Officer & Biologist) has created a card game inspired by the Hypatia I crew and their Martian mission at the MDRS. This game has been created by the Lastuf company and the illustration of the cards was made by Anna Back, the Backup Scientist and Artist-in-Residence of Hypatia I. The game is available in multiple languages.