Mission Plan – January 21st

Crew 291 – Expedition Boomerang III
Jan 21st – Feb 3rd, 2024

Crew Members:
Commander: Andrew Wheeler
Health and Safety Officer: Steve Hobbs
Crew Scientist: Clare Fletcher
Crew Engineer and Green Hab Officer: Scott Dorrington
Crew Astronomer and Medical support: Rob Hunt
Crew Journalist: Alex Tobal

Mission Plan:

Expedition Boomerang 3 is an all Australian crew tasked with exposing a new generation of scientists, engineers, technicians and communicators to Mars analogue conditions. Procedures and techniques for surface operations will be investigated through the deployment of a variety of environmental, topographical and spectral sensors at a variety of distances from MDRS. Simultaneously, geological features will be visited to update their co-ordinates and, along with hardware associated with MDRS, inspected for preservation as historical objects/locations. Utilization of the solar observatory for monitoring of solar activity (weather dependent) will be undertaken and all activities documented to record difficulties encountered, solutions determined and improvements recommended so as to inform a Mars Society Australia design for analogue habitat.

Crew Projects:

Title: Geological mapping and sensor deploy
Investigators: Andrew Wheeler, Clare Fletcher, Steve Hobbs and Scott Dorrington, with full-crew participation
Objectives: The mission objectives are to revisit geologically interesting locations, deploy sensors to characterize mineralogy, locate them in the topography for navigation purposes and characterize the sites for preservation.
Description: Environmental sensors will initially be deployed within the immediate vicinity of the MDRS complex to allow calibration of the instruments. These will be later relocated to more remote sites of geological interest. Simultaneously, various means of navigation using topographic features will be investigated. Locations already recorded in GPS will be revisited with further investigation of the historical significance, preservation state and conservation strategies.
Rationale: Environmental monitoring at locations of significance for ISRU on Mars is vital for surface operations. Machinery can be affected by temperatures, dust levels and incoming radiation and the effectiveness of sensors for these roles need testing in analogue situations.
EVAs: A minimum of 4 EVAs are required, with more targeted.

Title: Monitoring Solar activity
Author: Rob Hunt
Objectives: The MDRS solar observatory will be utilized for the daily monitoring of solar activity.
Description: Daily observations of solar activity will be undertaken throughout each sol to record the surface conditions of the sun.
Rationale: With the sun entering a period of solar maximum, daily observations of solar activity are vital to satellite and surface operations on Mars.
EVAs: None required.

Title: Investigations for establishment of MARS-Oz in Australia.
Author: Alexander Tobal
Objectives: This project is focused on collecting observations of how analogue astronauts operate under simulated conditions and how the MDRS hab setout influences operations and if improvements can be incorporated into the MARS-Oz design.
Description: Using observations and descriptions of procedures and techniques, conclusions for improvements in habitat design can be made.
Rationale: MDRS is a first generation analogue design that can inform construction of the proposed MARS-Oz habitat.
EVAs: Not required.

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