Journalist Report – November 13th

by Liz Cole

SOL: 1


The crew is establishing itself as being passionate about environmentally sustainable long term settlement on a resource – limited environment such as Mars. We reduced mission waste by coming up with a composting solution for the MASH that gets rid of the food waste from our crew, and finding intelligent ways to reuse all cardboard, plastic and glass packaging materials related to our mission for other uses to support the crew’s projects during the mission.

Crew Artist designed a labeling system for the HAB Upper and Lower decks, so that our crew and future crews can easily locate supplies, tools and safety materials. We are already enjoying a more efficient process of making dinner thanks to this.

Sergii arrives and the crew completes our training. After we learn the communications systems for EVAs, and how suit up, our sim officially begins.


The crew executed two successful EVAs to Marble Ritual. The first EVA was an exploration of capturing lidar scans, image and video while in our sim suits. The crew captured successful scans of rock formations with iphone 14 using the polycam pro. 360 degree video was done with an insta 360 1rs one-inch, regular video was shot on iphone 13 and iphone 14. Drone aerial photography and photography was successfully completed.

Crew XO observed the importance of taking a moment to sit and reconnoiter. What struck him most was the feelings he could remember from sci fi films of being alone on another planet and observing the terrain. He experienced the feeling of isolation, the sense that things are so different from his everyday life that he was indeed an alien on his own planet.

We noted challenges with headsets falling off, the suits making it harder to operate our equipment and adjust comms radios, and a lost tripod.

That loss of gear during the EVA 1 created a great opportunity for teamwork and coordination between the EVA 2 crew and mission support, as EVA 2 located the equipment through good communication between the two EVA crews. Members of both crews appreciated the excellent coordination and teamwork efforts that emerged in efforts to rescue the lost tripod, as well as the added focus of an accomplishable goal for the EVA. Crew Artist noted the challenges he experienced of trying to explain where to locate a lost object in an unfamiliar terrain, without having the specific words to describe the exact type of geologic features that could be used as landmarks.


Our crew Scientist established himself in the ScienceDome for his experiment involving CO2 fixation by purple bacteria for space food production. The bacteria arrived at MDRS tonight, appropriately just before dinner.

Reflecting on the day’s activities before dinner, the crew discussed how we can create new systems to be more efficient. Assessing what went well and what could have gone better with todays EVAs, we note that checklists posted by airlocks, the sim suit rooms, the comms area and on the rovers would be helpful for the crew to more effectively complete their missions.

We then planned EVAs for the next day, and continued work on our projects to be attempted and completed during the rest of the mission.

Sol Summary – November 13th

Sol: 01
Summary Title: “First Day, First EVAs”
Author’s name: Roger Gilbertson
Mission Status: Nominal
Sol Activity Summary: We completed EVA training in the early morning, after a crew meeting. We conducted a 3-person EVA-1 in the morning, which proved to take more time than anticipated, due to “learning curve”. Photo, video, 360 video, and drone aerial video were successfully captured. A small tripod was inadvertently dropped during the EVA.
In the afternoon, preparation for EVA-2 went more smoothly, and a patterned search for the missing small tripod was mounted. The tripod was successfully located and retrieved. Documentary footage was captured.
On both missions, short periods of mindful appreciation were conducted, in recognition of our amazing experiences here, and our enjoyable and growing team.
Inside the hab, we are conducting labeling operations, and preparing for science experiments was done in the chemical hood. Test of hydrogen production to be conducted this evening.
Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow we plan to conduct two more EVAs, one to collect soil samples in support of a previous MDRS mission.
Anomalies in work: none
Weather: nominal
Crew Physical Status: nominal
EVA: EVA 1 and 2 completed today, requests for EVA 3 and 4 submitted for tomorrow
Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist report, Photos, Operations report, Green Hab report, EVA 1 Summary, EVA 2 Summary, EVA 3 Request, EVA 4 Request.
Support Requested: We are hoping for the arrival of two FedEx packages tomorrow.

Operations Report – November 13th

Crew 286 Operations Report 13-11-2023
SOL: 1
Name of person filing report: Donald "Duckie" Jacques, Team XO
Non-nominal systems: None
Notes on non-nominal systems: n/a
Spirit rover used:
Hours: (before EVA)
Beginning charge: (Before EVA)
Ending charge: (On return from EVA, before recharging)
Currently charging:
Opportunity rover used:
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging:
Curiosity rover used:
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging:
Perseverance rover used:
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging:
General notes on rovers: We failed to record Rover data. We will remember moving forward
Summary of Hab operations: put notes here
WATER USE: gallons
Water (static tank): 471 gallons
Static tank pipe heater (on or off): On
Static tank heater (On or off) On
Toilet tank emptied: no or yes No
Summary of internet: put notes here
Summary of suits and radios: All suits and radios performed as expected
Summary of GreenHab operations: Moisture levels are still showing wet conditions, as such, no watering was done.
WATER USE: 0 gallons
Heater: On
Supplemental light: On or Off – Off
Harvest: None
Summary of ScienceDome operations: put notes here
Dual split: Heat or AC, On or Off – Dual split currently off
Summary of RAM operations: (Tools used, work done) A multimeter has been brought to the hab for use in EVA prep, testing batteries.
Summary of any observatory issues: No activity today
Summary of health and safety issues: Minor aches, light sun exposure, and minor dehydration noted, all items addressed at occurrence. Crew in good spirits as we wind down for the day.
Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: put notes here

GreenHab Report – November 13th

GreenHab Officer: Donald "Duckie" Jacques, Team 286 XO
Environmental control: (heater, fan, door open?) Door Closed all day
Average temperatures: 75 deg F
Hours of supplemental light: none
Daily water usage for crops: 0
Daily water usage for research and/or other purposes: 0
Water in Blue Tank (200 gallon capacity): 200 gallons
Time(s) of watering for crops: N/A
Changes to crops: N/A
Narrative: Our first day, I monitored the environment, and moisture, all at nominal.
Harvest: (include which crop and mass in grams) None
Support/supplies needed: None

EVA Report – November 13th

Crew 286 EVA #1 report 13-NOV-2023
EVA #1
Author: Roger Gilbertson
Purpose of EVA: To carry out our first EVA to Marble Ritual in order to learn and practices operations, and usage of spacesuit, photo and video equipment, and general EVA methodology.
Start time for EVA: 11:30 am
End time for EVA: 1:00 pm
Narrative: Getting prepared took longer to complete than expected. Departure was additionally delayed slightly when one rover was not unplugged. Mission support provided an extension to the excursion time by 30 minutes. Time was spent learning proper and effective radio communications.
Lidar Scanning – Performed three successful low-res landscape scans at several exterior locations. Used iPhone 14 and PolyCam Pro app software. Locations were selected that showed effects of water erosions. Other sites showed details of selected rock formations. Attention was paid to operator position to minimize shadows. Software requires processing in the field.
Photo and video – Captured using iPhone and Android phones, and Sony Alpha camera.
360 Video – Captured using Insta360 One RS 1inch.
Aerial drone photography – Captured using Ascend Aeronautics ASC 2600. Test flights were of limited time to increasing breezes aloft.
Challenges arose from headsets slipping, as they were worn without caps. Caps will be worn on future missions. As walking paths went behind various berms radio reception varied, and signal tests were conducted as people moved in and around outcroppings.
The team forgot to bring the LoRa GPS modules. The team forgot to record the hours and state of charge when powering up the rovers. A small tripod was inadvertently dropped during the EVA. Crew stopped briefly for rehydration during EVA. Sunblock needs to be worn.
Destination: Marble Ritual
Coordinates (use UTM WSG 84): (518799,4250996)
EVA Participants:
• Liz Cole
• Scott Beibin
• Donald Jacques
Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: N Cow Dung Rd, parking point WSG (518606,4251022)
Mode of travel: We will drive to N Cow Dung Rd to the parking point (518666,4251022), then we will walk to Marble Ritual (518799,4250996). Then we will walk back to the vehicles and return to the HAB.
Vehicles used: Spirit, Curiosity

HSO Beginning Of Mission Checklist- November 12th

Submitted by: Liz Cole

Crew: 286

Date: November 12 2023

Part 1: Using the attached Safety Equipment Inventory, locate, test and confirm operation of all safety equipment. List any equipment not found and/or missing:

Part 2: Locate and confirm the emergency escape routes in the Hab are functional and clear:

  1. Stairs: functional and clear

  2. Emergency window: functional and clear

  3. Commander’s window: functional and clear

Part Three:

Inventory First Aid kit and note what needs to be refilled: nothing needs to be refilled

Note any safety issues:

HAB Upper deck:

The escape ladder should be moved to a storage place where it is easier to pull out and use. The emergency window should have a ladder or a step underneath it to make it easier to access and get out of with the ladder.


The path to the eyewash station is obstructed by the Burn and No Burn bins. They should be moved out of the path to the eyewash station.

Note any health/environmental issues:

Note any missing or recommended health and safety supplies:

Safety Equipment Inventory 2022-2023

HAB Upper deck

HAB Lower deck





CO monitor






Escape ladder




Fire blanket




Fire extinguisher






First Aid











Propane alarm



Radios (Channels 10 and 22)





Smoke alarm






Tow rope


Mission Plan – November 12th

Roger Gilbertson – Commander
Donald Jacques – Executive Officer, Crew Engineer
Liz Cole – Health & Safety Officer, Crew Journalist
Guillaume Gégo – Crew Scientist
Scott Beibin – Crew Astronomer, Artist In Residence
Hugo Saugier – Documentary Filmmaker


The six person crew of MDRS 286 came from individual applicants and invited people. We represent a range of cultures, talents, experiences, backgrounds, and varied interests.

We plan to perform a good variety of projects; hard science of bacteria growth helpful for creating closed-loop life support systems, conducting advanced extended range EVA capabilities, technology demonstrations using in situ resources, and various artforms including music performance, videography, photography, and storytelling.

Additionally, we plan to host two visiting photographers and have invited them to remain “in sim” with us as much as physically possible. An educational outreach may be performed via a live link to science museums and/or Mars Society groups in Europe.


PROJECT 1: CO2 Fixation by Purple Bacteria for Space Food Production: A Comparison of Three Electron Sources & Terrestrial Applications.

Lead: Guillaume Gégo

Background: Master degree in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology at UMONS, BE.

Process: The CO2PROT project aims to develop an efficient, sustainable and reliable Bacteriological Life Support System for manned space exploration using purple bacteria.

Purple bacteria are known for their metabolic heterogeneity, which allows for different compounds, like wastes or in situ resources, to be envisaged as substrates.
Among these, carbon dioxide remediation is by far the most attractive option, as it traps waste into potentially edible biomass. With the carbon source defined, multiple electron sources are available, but no comparative data has ever been accumulated to rule out the better option, would it be for space exploration or terrestrial applications.

In this study, three main metabolisms leading to CO2 fixation will be compared by studying the growth of purple bacteria model Rhodospirillum rubrum in:
Photoheterotrophy: High-electron-content volatile fatty acids (Butyrate/Valerate).
Photoautohydrogenotrophy: Hydrogen.
Photoautoelectrotrophy: Electron flux (current).
The bacteria will be grown inside low-cost bag photobioreactors to assess the possibility of mass-production in altered gravity, while reducing costs of terrestrial downfalls of the study. Analog missions are therefore ideal platforms to test if such installations are feasible on other planets. Since photoheterotrophy was already studied in another analog (AATC, Poland), photoautohydrogenotrophy will be tested at MDRS as a follow-up.
Deliverable: Master thesis mission report.

PROJECT 2: Performing Extended Extra-Vehicular Activities Using a Mobile Analog Space Habitat

Lead: Donald Jacques

Background: EVA’s at MDRS are constrained by the range of the rovers, time necessary to recharge the batteries, as well as the physical strain on participating crew members, exposed to the elements during travel, much less being able to replenish food, air, water during an extended EVA.

Process: For our MDRS Mission 286, we wish to include the MASH (Mobile Analog Space Habitat) in the mission simulation, for the purpose of an Extended Excursion EVA. The MASH vehicle is a former school bus converted into a mobile habitat with an integrated Ecological Life Support system including heating, cooling, food and water supply, and waste handling. The habitat and life support are powered by an on board solar array with battery backup, and can operate overnight as a shelter if the need arises. These qualities closely approximate the features that NASA is including in the SEV. Our purpose in incorporating the MASH is to assess and evaluate the Extended Excursion EVA for long duration exploration and science study as an adjunct to the science study of the EVA.

Deliverable: Final report, photos & video.

PROJECT 3: Creating High Resolution Interactive Digital Assets of MDRS and Local Geological Sites Using 3D Scanning techniques.

Lead: Scott Beibin

Background: LiDAR, Photogrammetry, Neural Radance Fields (NeRFs) and other techniques can be used for accurately creating detailed high resolution digital twins that can be utilized for remote study of objects and landscapes. This can include examining equipment that has undergone stresses (rocket motors, fuel tanks, protective shielding) and looking at geological features. The advantage of having high resolution scans is that there can be coordination of examinations between explorers on Mars as well as remote support teams on Earth and elsewhere. Currently I have been using a variety of LiDAR devices for my own archaeological explorations.

Process: This project proposes using multiple scanners and techniques to create digital twins of the equipment at the station as well as the station itself. Local geological features will also be scanned during EVAs.

Deliverable: 3D scans of varying resolutions will be created in order to be used in the MARS VR Project.

PROJECT 4: Producing Functional Artifacts Using Local Clay Resources and a 3D Extrusion Printer

Lead: Scott Beibin

Background: This project proposes collecting local clay and gypsum from the vicinity of MDRS and processing it into 3D printed objects intended for either durability or ecologically minded disposability. I have designed a 3D plotter/printer that will be used for this project (Mandelbot Ecotech SURFA2 Goostruder).

Process: Dry clay and gypsum will be gathered from geotagged local deposits during EVAs. The aggregate materials will be sifted from and examined for their various pozzolan qualities using a microscope as well as other tests. The materials will be reconstituted then printed using a 3D printer specifically designed for printing objects using clay, pastes and colloids.

Deliverable: A variety of 3D printed objects will be created either from digital twin LiDAR scans or creations within CAD software. This will include clay and/or gypsum planters for the Green Hab as well as molds for Project 5.

PROJECT 5: Using Local Gypsum Resources to Produce Molds for Metal Casting

Lead: Roger Gilbertson

Background: Residents of Mars will take advantage of local resources as much as possible. After fulfilling their original purposes, metal components of spaceships and other equipment brought from Earth can be melted and reformed into other useful items. The age-old techniques of mold making and metal casting will find new uses on Mars.

Process: This project proposes collecting local gypsum from the vicinity of MDRS, processing it into plaster (as demonstrated by previous MDRS missions), and using it to make molds for metal casting. The “original” form can be designed and 3D printed at MDRS, then used to make negative molds in plaster. Using low-temperature, non-toxic bismuth metal, we will demonstrate casting of small, complex metal components.

Deliverable: 3D original, plaster molds, metal castings, final assembled metal item, photos and videos.

PROJECT 6: Mars Academy – A Documentary Film About ESA Scientist Claude Chipaux and the Past, Present and Future of Mars Life Sciences

Lead: Hugo Saugier

Background: When my grandfather Claude died in 2010, I discovered that he was the founder of a research program of the European Space Agency, dedicated to the question of the autonomy of the crews of long journeys in space. I then understood that the popular figure of the high-tech astronaut is gradually changing, being replaced by a new kind of galactic explorers: astronaut-farmers. For a while, I didn’t know what to do with such a heritage, until I recently decided to write a movie about Mars dreamers in which my grandfather would be one of the characters.

Process: I will film the crew during its daily life in MDRS and do a sort of a travelog which will be useful for the writing of the movie. I want to collect the reality of each one’s experience. Collective moments, organization of the place, maintenance, etc, will be interesting moments to be filmed. As we’ll be simulating, I may want to add a bit of simulation by fictionalizing some scenes (for example during an EVA, doing an emergency situation). I want to show how we imagine living on Mars is. I will do individual interviews with each that wants, more in the shape of confessionals.

Deliverable: Documentary movie.

PROJECT 7: Simulating Acoustics of Mars for an Outdoor Martian Music Performance

Lead: Scott Beibin

Background: Using recordings from the electret microphone mounted on the Supercam on the Perseverance Rover a ground truth for the modeling of acoustic processes in the environment on Mars was characterized for the first time in the audible range and beyond (20 Hz to 50 kHz). SuperCam’s microphone recorded air pressure fluctuations from 20 Hz to 12.5 kHz or 50 kHz, at sampling rates of 25 kHz or 100 kHz. Recordings of the Ingenuity rotorcraft and laser-induced sparks were used as reference sources of sound.

It was discovered that:
– The acoustic impedance of the martian atmosphere results in approximately 20 dB weaker sounds on Mars than on Earth – if produced by the same source.
– The acoustic attenuation range on Mars was discovered to be roughly between 20Hz to 20kHz.
– Two different speeds of sound were observed on Mars. Low-pitched sounds travel at about 537 mph (240 meters per second), while higher-pitched sounds move at 559 mph (250 meters per second) because of the low-pressure 96 percent CO2-dominated atmosphere (compared to 0.04 percent CO2 on Earth).
– The atmospheric pressure on Mars is about 0.6 kPa (170 times lower than on Earth).

Process: Using the data that was published in Journal Nature [] and on the Nasa website [] I collaborated with audio engineer John Knott to create a filter in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that accurately simulates the way sound travels on Mars.

I composed two Ptelepathetique tracks to be performed on synthesizer at Barrainca Butte while on an EVA. The compositions were made to optimize for the way sound travels on Mars. In addition to the musical compositions, I will be exploring optimal frequency ranges that could be used for safety alerts and alarms for humans operating in a Martian environment.

Deliverable: High quality audio and video recordings of Ptelepathetique tracks will be recorded that compare the way the tracks will sound on Earth and Mars. These will be posted on social media accompanied by a story of the process.

PROJECT 8: Documenting the MDRS Mission 286 Adventure in Words and Images

Lead: Liz Cole

Background: Life in the constraints of the Martian environment requires a shift to more sustainable life support systems such as vegan and plant based food production and building with local resources. Crew 286 of MDRS is developing various technologies to support life on Mars while addressing Earth’s most pressing environmental problems. Documenting the crew conducting their research, EVAs and life throughout the course of the mission will highlight the work of researchers at MDRS.

Process: I will document the research and activities of the crew throughout the mission. I will weave the narrative of each sol in the daily journalist reports, including images and video captured by myself and other crew members. And I will write the final media reports for the mission. I will bring a Sony A7iii camera with standard and telephoto lenses for photo and video. Schedule allowing, I will conduct video interviews with crew members where they tell the story of their work. Post mission, I will compile a longer written piece exploring and explaining the experience of the mission and submit it for publication.

Deliverable: Daily Journalist reports, web postings for Mars Society, images, video.

PROJECT 9: Evaluating Performance of Biological Life Support Components Installed within the Mobile Analog Space Habitat

Lead: Donald Jacques

Background: A Biological Regenerative Life Support System needs to provide not only environmental support for a team, but a variety of food, water processing, and waste processing. The Mobile Analog Space Habitat is equipped with a min-farm containing many species that interact in order to process a circular economy of nutrients, water, wastes, and air.

Process: Measurements of environmental conditions, populations, general health, inputs to and outputs from each species will be recorded during the 14-day mission at intervals of morning, noon, and evening.

Positive results would include egg production from the quail, new fingerlings in the fish tank, measurable growth of the crop species, mealworms, red worms, and measurable output of oxygen from algae tubes.

Deliverable: Final report, photos & video.


Participation by some crew members in the research study conducted by Andres Käosaar into “teamwork in isolated, confined, and extreme environments.”

Photography of night sky, using time lapse, wide lens, and telescopic imaging.

Videography of Mars-like surface environments and astronaut activities.

Gather notes for design of a Mars-Earth Situational Awareness (MESA) informational website.

Hosting of two guest New York Times photojournalists (for 4 nights).

Possible educational link-up Belgian science center and Mars Society of France.

Thanksgiving on Mars.

Crew 286 Crew biographies, photos and mission patch 12Nov2023


Crew biographies, photos and mission patch – November 12th]

BIO – Roger G. Gilbertson


I studied Aerospace at USC, switched to robotics and film/video at Hampshire College. Joined a Silicon Valley startup, then started an internet and robotics business (Mondo-tronics and with friends. We contributed a tiny, unique “Muscle Wire” component to the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover. After selling the business to a key supplier, I became the first full time “media guy” at SpaceX, sharing the adventure starting with Falcon 1 Flight 3, through Dragon arriving at the ISS, and the first successful reentry of a Falcon 9 first stage (2007-2014).
Have since worked on various documentary films, new articles, and non-fiction and fiction stories. Some of my research led to a TEDx talk <> now with more than 1.3 million views.


I’m married, father of four kids now aged 21 to 34. (When they were younger, I got to take each of them to Parent-Child Space Camp.) I live in Los Angeles with my wife, and in March 2023 we returned from a month exploring the history and mysteries of Egypt and Jordan.


For our upcoming mission I’m eager to explore the range of projects we have lined up—from the science of life-supporting bacteria, to the sounds of music on the Martian surface.

I’ve been a huge fan of space exploration and Mars for as long as I can remember. As a Mars Society “Mars Ambassador” I have been developing a series of talks / short videos with the theme “What I Love Most About Living on Mars.” The presentations are given by a Mars settler from the near future when there are around 10,000 humans on the Red Planet. The goal is to make Mars a “real place” in people’s minds, especially today’s youngsters who will lead our settlement efforts.

BIO – Donald Jacques


I have enjoyed multiple careers over the years: USAF, Ballroom Dance Teacher, Author of three novels, Electrician, Commercial Maintenance. I even had the auspicious opportunity to portray Duckie, the Maintenance Chief for Luna City in an Arizona State University theater production. For the past 10 years I have served as Chief Scientist of EarthSeed, Inc researching Compact Biological Life Support. (www.EarthSeed.Space)

The culmination of the research is the Mobile Analog Space Habitat (MASH), a 40 ft mobile habitat built on a school bus as a living space for one person. It was built to develop the baselines, and foundation for a scalable biological life support system for Earth and Space. The MASH contains kitchen and living quarters, plus a small workshop, and mini-farm (fishpond, garden, chicken coop, algae PBRs, composting toilet, and distillation gray-water recovery).

In December 2022, I retired from my handyman business after 20 years to accept a Site Manager position at MDRS from Jan-Mar of 2023. As Crew Engineer, I come with a solid foundation in the systems that will sustain us during our mission.

I have added an EarthSeed Brochure-MASH.pdf to the group’s shared folder.


My home base is the home of one of my daughters in central Utah. I just completed my 2nd cross-country, shake-out cruise in the MASH. My first stop was the Analog Astronaut Conference held at Biosphere2 near Tucson, AZ where I presented “The Application of Integrated Biological Life Support components in the Analog.”

During the rest of the journey, I visited the Tucson Air Museum, Houston Space Center, had the opportunity to take a swamp tour in Louisiana, helped my friend set up her RV in Waxau, North Carolina, then a two week visit with another daughter and kids in Kentucky, and finally back to Utah.

I hope to complete needed repairs and upgrades in time for our mission in November.


Like a few of you, this will be my first opportunity to be part of an analog crew, and I am looking forward to serving, and getting to know you all. It is my hope to bring a prototype of our Biological Life Support unit for testing in the hab environment during the mission.

I can remember being glued to the tv as a young boy watching the first lunar landing, and the excitement of that event has been at my core for these many decades. My dream is not to just get… somewhere. My dream is to spend time on each of the following destinations: Moon, Mars, Calypso, Ganymede, and Titan. SpaceX has given us reusable rockets, and made Mars more reachable than ever. It is my belief that we will achieve some form of a star-drive by the time we reach Titan. I want to be on that ship to the stars.

BIO – Elizabeth Jane Cole


I co-founded a speakers bureau that represents leading thinkers, scientists and artists for public appearances in academic, institutional and experiential arts oriented venues, film, publishing, advisory services and more worldwide ( Occasionally covered art, technology and robotics for WIRED Magazine, and produced a podcast for the Love and Radio series.


Manage Evil Twin Booking, a speakers bureau that advances new ideas while transforming culture.

Media strategy, concept development and creative consulting for live events and organizations. With collaborators and like-minded organizations, we sometimes develop the concept and scripts and provide media strategy for live events and actions that draw media attention to critical issues, and that have occasionally led to policy changes in domestic and international law.

I’m driven by curiosity to video document the Starship Integrated Flight Test and capture scans of antiquities in upper and lower Egypt with Scott Beibin.


I am excited to join MDRS crew 286 as Crew Journalist.

As part of my involvement, I will be documenting the crew’s experiences throughout the analog mission, for the purpose of highlighting MDRS as a resource for researchers and aspiring astronauts alike, to inspire future analog astronauts to stay curious and keep exploring, and inspiring and informing the public about analog astronauts, exploring Mars, and human spaceflight in general. I’m excited to assist with the Green Hab to explore growing edible crops to support physical fitness on future long term space travel.

BIO – Guillaume Gégo

In a quest to quench my thirst for space-related biological endeavors, as well as a never-ending ambition to become an astronaut, I stumbled upon European Space Agency’s “MELiSSA projet” (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) during a public conference given 5 years ago by Dr. Baptiste Leroy at the University of Mons while working on a school project.

That steppingstone was what convinced me to continue my projects during a "second last year of secondary school" at SFDCI in Smiths Falls, ON, Canada. While having automotive and programming classes, I worked on the spiritual child of my old project and presented it at the St-Lawrence Regional Science Fair ( To my delight, I got selected to go to the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF 2019) to present my project, which was called "Growing Plants on Mars: A Computer Simulation" (

When I came back to Belgium, I pursued my education at UMons as a biologist while waiting to seize the chance to work on space-related projects. I worked over the summer on ESA’s Astroplant at the Proteomics and Microbiology lab under the supervision of Dr. Ruddy Wattiez, got to teach English and Botany classes as an assistant, and started diving lessons.

5 years after the original MELiSSA conference, I finally managed to get a Master internship position at the MELiSSA Pilot Plant (,in%20Universitat%20Aut%C3%B2noma%20de%20Barcelona) in Barcelona, Spain, from the 6th of February till the 6th of August 2023. I’m now two months in this beautiful endeavor and mainly focusing on these three topics:
Continuous operation of bench-scale bioreactors for urea and organic acid degradation of synthetic urine
Shake flask characterization of the bacterial consortium used in Compartment 3 of the MELiSSA loop
MATLAB + SIMULINK modeling of single-strain kinetics of C3 bacterial consortium

I applied to many analogs this year and this will be my second in chronological order, the first one taking place in Poland’s Analog Astronaut Training Center.
The CO2PROT project I will develop during both analogs aims to assess the possibility of:
Using bacteria (L. indica, R. capsulatus…) to remove CO2 from the confined environment of the analog mission. The fixation of CO2 within the bacteria will produce high-protein novel food with other health benefits, while avoiding the loss of organic matter, and also reducing the energy required for CO2 removal.
Assess the feasibility of a bench scale photobioreactor made during the analog mission, with limited control on the axenicity of the bioreactor itself, since the analog is a “scarce” environment with less equipment compared to a fully-fledged lab.
Test out the edibility of the biomass produced if allowed by the analog’s guidelines.
Promoters (scientific-administrative co-supervision): M. Leroy & M. Wattiez
Subject: CO2 fixation by purple bacteria for the production of "Novel Food" for space exploration and terrestrial application: comparison of three electron sources.
Experiments planned:
o Study of the growth of:
o Rhodospirillum rubrum in volatile fatty acids with high electron content (Butyrate/Valerate) = photoheterotrophy. Dimension applied in analogous low-cost missions to add practical added value to the brief. Allows exploration of Novel-food applications for space exploration.
o Rhodobacter capsulatus in the presence of hydrogen = photoautohydrogenotrophy. Laboratory internship in collaboration with Siegfried Vlaeminck (UAnvers) and/or Gabriel Capson-Tojo (Université de Narbonne).
o Rhodovulum sp or Rhodopseudomonas palustris in the presence of electron flow = photoauto "electro "trophy. Laboratory collaboration with Arpita Bose (St. Louis University).
o Comparison of the interest of the three systems (qualitatively and quantitatively) on the following points:
o Biomass composition and characteristics:
o Protein composition: is it close to egg (ideal protein for humans)? Does it vary according to the electron source chosen? Analysis of free or polymerized aa (in total biomass). Via protein assay and aa analyzer.
o Pigment composition: nature via absorbance spectrum analysis (carotenoids and bacteriochlorophyll).
o Lipid composition: quantitative via kits, natural via mass spectrometry.
o Antioxidant composition.
o Additional interest: LDL cholesterol, etc…
o Study of CO2 fixation rates for the three systems, as well as the rate of assimilation of electron sources:
o Efficiency of CO2 metabolism.
o Analysis of other sources of CO2.
o Human respiration in confined spaces
o Biogas 50/50 CO2/Methane from bacterial digestion of agri-food digestate.
o Efficient use of electron source and economic/ecological interest.
o Fatty acids/Industrial molasses.
o Hydrogen.
o Electron flow.
o Justification of the use of these electron sources in the context of:
o Space exploration (CO2 remediation + novel-food).
o Feed production (livestock/pets).
o Food production (human).
o Which system is more profitable?
o Economically/ecologically/food-wise?

Master thesis, PhD and working around the MELiSSA technology + ESA Young graduate trainee programme.

BIO – Scott Beibin


Space exploration and aerospace engineering have both been deep passions of mine since early childhood. Early in life I picked up hobbies of model rocketry and astronomy. I would also build machines, take apart radios and generally play with electronics. Thanks to encouragement from my parents and teachers, I managed to become an early attendee of Space Camp in Huntsville AL (1984 & 1985). I believed then that I would eventually work in aerospace or the hard sciences based upon my interests, however life ended up taking me along interesting twists and turns.

My academic career focused on Anthropology and Archaeology, however I eventually quit university while I was running my punk / emo / screamo record label, Bloodlink Records. I became more deeply involved in Do-It-Yourself culture, environmental and social activism, collectives and cooperatives, built large puppets for protests, distributed free vegan food in my city, helped start a pirate radio station, and found myself co-founding the Lost Film Festival which I toured around the globe with as the host, presenter and VJ. I eventually co-founded the Evil Twin Booking Agency as a spin off project of Lost Film Fest with Elizabeth Jane Cole where we continue to participate in organizing live speaking events around the globe for a roster of amazing people. In 2009 my interest in the sciences and engineering were rekindled. I put together a new stage performance called Scientists Are The New Rockstars that gave me the impetus to start deeply researching my interests, and dove into developing eco-technologies and open source hardware – including robotic plotters and 3D printers. I also began to design 3D printable buildings intended to be constructed with natural materials – both for earth and offworld. I also began experimenting with surface mount Brain Computer Interface devices and building bicycle powered generators for off-grid electrical production.


Currently, my life is immersed in Liberation Ecotech based creative projects which I use to feed into my primary goal of designing ecologically sound technologies with respect to collectivism and individual freedom (I deeply believe this will be valuable to our human civilization in a changing Earth environment and settlement in Space.) I live off-grid in the city of Philadelphia. My main projects, Mandelbot Ecotech* and AncientScan** have emerged from my traveling science comedy performance I’ve done since 2009 called Groucho Fractal aka Scientists Are The New Rockstars – which features my inventions and has the goal of making STEAM education fun and accessible. I experiment with audio resonance research via my compositional music project, Ptelepathetique. I also contribute to various open source and decentralized tech projects. My multidisciplinary approach to projects has been deeply inspired by minds such as Nikola Tesla, Buckminster Fuller and Gene Roddenberry.

[* Mandelbot Ecotech has produced the Mandelbot SURFA (Scalable Universal Robotic Frame Assembly) and Mandelbot HAB, a 3D ecotecture printer for natural building projects. Other projects within the framework include flying electric vehicles and atmospheric water generation units.]
[** Ancientscan, uses LiDAR, audio recording and spectral analysis with the purpose of reverse engineering the technological feats of past civilizations. ]


During MDRS mission 286 I will conduct research on several fronts.

As the acting Crew Astronomer I will be responsible for operating the robotic telescope and doing astrophotography in addition to my crewmates, Roger Gilbertson and Liz Cole.

I plan to conduct research on the behavior of sound in a low air pressure and Carbon Dioxide rich Martian atmosphere. To do this I will be using a custom built software filter that I collaborated on the design of with professional audio engineer, John Knott. The parameters for the filter were sourced from the paper published by NASA in Journal Nature which revealed the findings about acoustics on Mars based upon data gathered by the Perseverance Rover. My research will culminate in a Ptelepathetique concert performed in a valley at sunset during an EVA in which the sound of Mars will be simulated and recorded through our filter. Simultaneously, an unfiltered version will be recorded in order to compare the sounds later. The sounds will be recorded both within the software and using precision microphones that will serve various recording purposes – including the Zylia ZM-1 which will be used to record ambisonically. I will produce a video to talk about the process which will be released on various social media platforms.

In addition to experiments with sound, I will be utilizing my invention, the Mandelbot SURFA2 to print objects using locally found clay and gypsum found in the vicinity of the MDRS. I will also mke vegan snacks for the crew.

I plan to scan the geographic surroundings of MDRS using precision LiDAR, as well as recording sounds by utilizing various microphones and a Geophone – with the goal of contributing data to the ongoing MDRS VR project.


My intense fascination with Mars started as a small child. I remember being intrigued by the photos that came back from the Viking 1 mission. I kept a newspaper clipping of the desolate Mars landscape in my bedroom which fueled my imagination and desire to one day visit the Red Planet. Over the years I would keep up with developments from NASA and other space agencies and wondered if I would be able to visit Mars in my lifetime even though I had not taken the traditional path toward working in aerospace.

While touring with my various projects, I was lucky enough to have friends who worked in the labs at Carnegie Mellon University where I would visit full scale models and prototypes of Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. I was also able to observe the Curiosity and Perseverance Rovers while they were being assembled at JPL. I’ve closely followed development of the Mars-bound SpaceX Starship program and have attended several of the rocket launches. Over the years I have developed an intense desire to spend time on a Mars analog mission and even tried to visit the Hi-Seas research station on Big Island in Hawaii – but it was not to be, due to the eruption of Mauna Loa. Instead of visiting the station I made LiDAR scans of the surrounding volcanic environment near the entrance, which has inspired the LiDAR scanning part of my mission that I will do while at MDRS.

BIO – Hugo Saugier

Born in 1992, I grew up between the French mountains of Vercors and Hautes-Alpes. A few years ago, I looked up at the Pic de Bure astronomical observatory, perched above my village, and I realized the edifying connection between its work on the origins of the world and its involvement in a series of cable car accidents that hit the territory. This sudden awareness in this setting so ordinary to me inspired me with the idea of a first documentary film, La première étoile.

This long-term work gradually arouses in me a curiosity for the stories and representations that we invent to connect to the world, and more particularly the imaginary fantasies that can bring out from situations of isolation. Later, I realized the links between these themes and my personal trajectory, by taking an interest in the visionary thought of my grandfather Claude Chipaux, a wacky aerospace engineer who dreamed of growing plants on Mars, who was also a collector of Malabar images and oranges papers, and trade unionist engaged against one of France’s biggest industrial groups. From there begins Mars Academy, a second film project for which I am preparing to share this experience with you all in the depths of Utah.

Through my audiovisual studies and then in an art school, where I had performance work on the very materiality of the video media, I also consider cinema as an element that can extend and be intertwined in other accomplishments. The creation and the video management in the theater field therefore allow me to link the image to what can come alive outside its frame, in the space and the temporality of the live performance. Finally, I am one of the initiators of Échos, an improvised music festival where the sound is broadcasted by giant horns in a mountain valley with unique acoustics, a device allowing there too a listening that goes beyond the frontality of the concert.

Website (in french) :

Mission Summary – November 10th

Commander David Mateus
Executive Officer and Astronomer Luis Diaz
Health and Safety Officer Andrea De La Torre
Crew Engineer Tomas Burroni
Green Hab Officer Andres Reina
Crew Journalist Marina Busqueras

The mission at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) was led by Commander David Mateus with a team of experts including Executive Officer and Astronomer Luis Díaz, Health and Safety Officer Andrea De La Torre, Crew Engineer Tomás Burroni, Green Hab Officer Andrés Reina, and Crew Journalist Marina Buqueras, embodied a significant stride in demonstrating global cooperation in space exploration. The crew, of Hispanic descent from various Latin American countries and Spain, aimed to enhance the inclusivity in space missions, motivating underrepresented communities to engage in STEM fields.
The projects tackled during the mission were diverse, ranging from engineering and safety protocols to sociological studies:
Early Fault Detection in Power Generator Systems: Addressing the critical need for uninterrupted power supply, the mission focused on preventive and predictive maintenance of the power generation system. A sensor kit was developed and installed on the station’s propane power generator to monitor vibrations and predict potential failures. Despite minor software issues, the successful deployment of the sensor kit during an EVA and subsequent data collection provided valuable insights into the generator’s performance, paving the way for the integration of such predictive maintenance systems in future missions.

Drone-Aided Martian Geolocation through Image Recognition: With the absence of a global navigation system on Mars, the mission explored the use of drone-captured images and image recognition algorithms to pinpoint the crew’s location relative to the base. The software, developed in Python with OpenCV, underwent successful trials using satellite imagery to test the algorithm’s robustness across various Martian terrains.

Drone Search and Rescue: The mission demonstrated using drones to search for crew members and navigate Martian terrain, ensuring safety and effective rescue operations. The trials confirmed that drones could provide alternative routes and communicate with the base in emergencies, possibly with both manual and automatic control modes.

Building materials for future Mars civilizations: The characteristics of the MDRS soil are suitable for creating construction materials using simple and readily available ingredients. The combination of simulated Martian dust, starch, and water has proven to produce a robust material with properties akin to conventional concrete. This innovative approach can simplify and reduce the cost of future space missions, paving the way for infrastructure construction on the red planet.

Methodology for the Characterization of the Social Implications of Confinement and Isolation: Drawing on the sociological and anthropological theories of Durkheim and Foucault, the mission studied the social dynamics within the crew. By identifying patterns of group cohesion and the sacred-profane dichotomy, the research provided a framework for understanding social structures in long-term space travel.

Techniques for Increasing the Signal-Noise Ratio in Processing Deep Space Images: Addressing the challenges in capturing deep space objects, the mission proposed methods to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio in astrophotography. The successful application of these techniques on a range of celestial bodies demonstrated their potential to improve deep-space imagery.

Generation of 3D Maps and Orthomosaics of Explored Canyons: Drones were used to optimize navigation during EVAs to create 3D models and maps of Martian canyons. The resulting data enhanced the safety and efficiency of future EVAs by providing detailed geographic information and identifying optimal access routes.

Each project represented a critical aspect of the mission, contributing to its overall success. The power system fault detection initiative established a foundation for future maintenance protocols, while the drone-aided geolocation and search and rescue operations enhanced the crew’s safety protocols. The sociological study provided insights into the potential organization of human groups in extraplanetary environments, which is essential for the long-term success of space missions. The advancements in astrophotography and 3D mapping served immediate operational needs and equipped future missions with refined methodologies and technologies.

In summary, the mission at MDRS served as a multifaceted endeavor that pushed the boundaries of current space exploration capabilities. It brought together technical innovation and social science to address the challenges of long-term space habitation. The projects undertaken during the mission have laid a solid foundation for future research and development in the field of astronautics, ensuring that subsequent missions to Mars and beyond are safer, more efficient, and inclusive.

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