Astronomy Report – October 23rd

[category 

astronomy-report]

Name: Jason Trump

Crew: 284

Date: Oct 23rd, 2023

MUSK OBSERVATORY
Sky Conditions: Partly cloudy
Wind Conditions: Medium
Observation Start Time: 12:30pm
Observation End Time: 2:30pm
Summary: Crew visual observations which identified a large prominence near 7 o’clock. Solar imaging followed.
Objects Viewed: Sun
Images Submitted With This Report: Sun 231023 Prominence
Problems Encountered: Camera was left attached to telescope at start of mission. Confusion using Sharp Cap program because software update has caused user interface to differ from Quick Guide.

Research Report – May 21st

[category science-report]

Crew 281 Mid-Mission Research Report

Date: 05/21/2023

Introduction

The team is halfway through the 14 day mission. No plan survives contact with reality; however, the Pegasus Crew has made steady progress on all of their research goals. Each crew member has provided an update on their research and activities in their own words.

  • Megan Kane: Commander and GreenHab Officer

  • Ritupriya Patil: Executive Officer and Crew Scientist

  • Rachel Jones: Health Safety Officer and Journalist

  • Ana Pires: Crew Scientist

  • KC Shasteen: Crew Engineer (editor)

Each day has been an adventure with new learning experiences and activities. Most days there has been 1 or 2 Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs).

Research and Activities Updates

Megan Kane – Commander and GreenHab Officer

Three main projects have been worked on outside of the daily activities of keeping the crew and mission running.

Cacao (Chocolate) Seed Propagation.

The science dome has a grow tent that is being used for the cacao seed propagation. So far, the following steps have been completed:

  1. Seed pods opened and seeds removed

  2. Seeds cleaned

  3. Seeds laid out for germination on trays with moist paper towels

  4. Clean seeds a second time and replace paper towels

  5. Transplant all seeds that have sprouted roots into pots

It is anticipated that in the next few days the first 2 leaves (cotyledons) will be visible. The temperature and humidity of the grow tent is being recorded.

GreenHab Usability Extension

The GreenHab does not usually run this late in the season. With the assistance of the Crew Engineer, KC Shasteen, several simple changes are being tested to extend the usability of the GreenHab. These include:

  • adding an airflow diverter to keep the fan from blowing directly on the plants. Doing so causes excessive drying of the plants if the airflow is too strong

  • testing low tech methods to improve airflow and humidity

The airflow diverter designed and fabricated by KC has 45 degree slats which push the air from the fan up and over the plants. It greatly increases the airflow throughout the GreenHab by creating a circulation air from the fan across the ceiling and down the rear wall. Added to this is a spacer that holds open the louvers on the airflow exit vent, which allows a chimney effect to draw additional air across the GreenHab from the door to the vent. This spring-loaded vent would normally open from over-pressure when the fan is on and the door is closed. However, based on the recommendation of MRDS Mission Support the door was left open for airflow and cooling. Combining the open door with the open louvers creates a cross breeze inside of the GreenHab which decreases the temperature and relieves heat stress on the plants.

Passive Irrigation System

The passively pumped irrigation system was installed on Sol 1 in the GreenHab. There are 10 planters which now receive their water using terracotta watering spikes. The consumption of water is being tracked for the control planters (water by manual pouring) and the test planters (water using the terracotta spikes). After the mission the watering data will be analyzed to see if there were any statistical differences.

Ritupriya Patil: Executive Officer and Crew Scientist

Behavioral Studies Research:

The 7 Sols spent on the red planet have been an exhilarating experience. A strong sense of camaraderie and teamwork permeates the crew, as they assist one another in accomplishing research objectives and maximizing the mission’s potential. The MDRS mission for crew 281 has provided us with a fresh perspective in preparation for future Mars expeditions. From adhering to morning rituals and preparing meals using freeze-dried food to practicing water conservation and prioritizing each other’s safety, the crew has demonstrated our dedication. We have also actively engaged in engineering solutions and research endeavors to optimize their time at the MDRS. Additionally, I have participated in the MDRS Behavioral Study program, collaborating with the University of Central Florida. This opportunity has granted valuable insights into the role of emotions within Isolated, Confined, and Extreme (ICE) environments. During the stay at the MDRS, contributions are being made to the behavioral studies research by providing daily logs and surveys, thereby assisting in the accumulation of data.

Crew Scientist Research – Investigation of Drone Technology for Georeferencing and Emergency Assistance

The focus of this research is to examine the potential applications of drone technology in supporting astronauts during Mars surface exploration while emphasizing the importance of astronaut safety during extravehicular activity (EVA). The objectives include georeferencing, route planning, emergency medical assistance, and documentation of EVA activities.

To achieve the first goal, research work was done in collaboration with Ana Pires (Crew Scientist) and KC Shasteen (Crew Engineer). To aid Ana Pries’ rock hardness testing and scanline measurements for the chosen boulders under study, detailed vertical and diagonal drone footage was captured for each scanline. These images and videos will help confirm the weathering grade and discontinuities of the rocks. Various drone flying techniques were explored and successfully recorded the scanline footage. High altitude (below 120 m) imagery was captured to georeference the MDRS and surrounding region.

The second objective was achieved by performing a drill EVA mission around the Hab with an emergency scenario simulating an injured astronaut being delivered a lightweight emergency kit. The first proof of concept experiment established a baseline, more work will be done over rest of the mission to deliver at longer ranges and using more efficient routes.

For the final objective, drone footage documentation has been contributed to 4 of the 8 EVAs so far. The plan is to continue collecting videos and images for crew research and outside Hab activities, as needed, for the remaining EVAs. The total drone flight time so far is recorded to be 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The acquired data and insights have the potential to significantly contribute to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the field, ultimately facilitating safer and more effective exploration of the Martian landscape.

Pictures above starting clockwise from top left

  1. Aerial shot of the MDRS campus captured via drone

  2. Deploying the drone for first time on MDRS campus to get georeferencing footage.

  3. Working on the payload harness for drone to deliver during the drill

  4. Kissing Camel Ridge captured on drone during our 6th EVA

  5. Drone returning after dropping the payload to simulate emergency medical assistance.

Rachel Jones: Health Safety Officer and Journalist

Re-Establishing Amateur Radio Communications

In October 2022, before the start of the 2022-2023 MDRS season, an amateur radio station was established at MDRS. The station was designed by 16-year-old Hope Lea (ND2L). She set up the station as part of NASA sponsored Spaceward Bound Utah, which featured the first all high school crew at MDRS.

The station comprised of a Shack-in-the-Box set up containing an I-Com 7300 radio, LDG Tuner, and an external speaker. The Shack-in-the-Box, which is a name brand many amateurs might call a go-box, is then either connected to the wall outlet or a battery for power. The battery configuration allows a station to be ran both on-the-grid or off-the-grid as a possible POTA (Parks-on-the-Air) station. The kit holds two coax cables, likely for redundancy, as only one is needed to connect the go-box to the antenna. The station uses a versatile Chameleon High Frequency (HF) Modular Portable Antenna System 2.0 which has nine different configuration possibilities.

After an inventory of the station (Sol 4), practice configuration, and team deployment training (Sol 5), the station was finally set up on Sol 6.

Rachel deploys and operates the MDRS amateur radio station.

Ana Pires: Crew Scientist

Narrative:

One week ago, Ana had the opportunity to see the Mars Desert Research Station for the first time and to “breathe” on Mars! She woke up early every day to watch the sun starting to shine in this wonderful and unique geological setting. As a researcher and a geoscientist, she will carry all these colors in her memory for all her life! However, she is on Mars, so everything must be planned with the Commander, the team, and the mission support.

Geosciences, geotechnics, and technology on Mars is hard. Ana’s research includes a geological-geotechnical assessment of the area (using scanline surveys adapted from ISRM, 1981), as well as a geomechanical characterization of the rock hardness using Equotip and Schmidt hammer (non-destructive testing equipment). The research also includes the testing of a rock sampling device (scoop prototype) in a real environment and the registration of possible future adjustments.

The Crew Scientist is collaborating with Portuguese researchers involved in the field of engineering materials, so the Crew was able to wear T-shirts and boxers (Smart Textiles) designed for extreme environments, during their EVAs. The feedback is positive, and the team has already provided a lot of suggestions and recommendations to improve the design.

The Crew Scientist has been producing a series of educational & outreach videos about her time spent on our Utah campus for students in Portugal, under the scope of “Space For All Nations Initiative” (run by International Institute for Astronautical Sciences) and also for her project “Portuguese GeoTech-Vision for STEAM Outreach and Education”.

Human relationships are an important part of this mission and were also part of her personal learning at the MDRS. Listening to the Commander, Megan Kane, talk about her stories in Africa, or speaking Chichewa language, her dogs, her passions… Ritupriya Patil (Executive Officer) the serenity that we need during these days on Mars, Rachel Jones (Crew Journalist and HSO) a force of Nature offering us the boost that we need to “survive”, and finally KC Shasteen (Crew Engineer), which offers us generosity and intelligence.

Ana is eager to know more about this awesome Team. The mission is still ongoing… The Crew Scientist will continue listening to the sounds of Mars, breathe Science and Technology, knowing that the MDRS will be forever in her heart.

Crew 281 activities

The week included several EVAs with the Crew Engineer and XO, where it was possible to adapt for the first time to wearing the spacesuits, handling items with gloves, driving the rovers, performing all the proposed tasks with a mind for safety, and readjusting the methodology used during the geotechnical assessment. Mars is testing the Team Pegasus every day and pushing it to the limit. The passion for Science and Technology really overcomes all the challenges that the Crew faced this first week.

MDRS Analog Mission in 2 words: adaptation and “saudade” (Portuguese word)

The research in numbers: Three scanlines; total length of scanline 65 m; 14 stations; 2 types of equipment for rock hardness; 2 humans; 700 measurements; > 5kg rock samples; > 200g of soil samples; 1 test with the rock sampling device (named “Pegasus” scoop); > 1500 images and videos acquired.

Next steps: The final week will be dedicated to carry out the last scanline in Pooh’s Corner and more EVAs in other locations for rock/soil sampling and visual observation of the geoforms and geology. A second test will be conducted with “Pegasus” scoop.

Clockwise from left: Ana using Schmidt Hammer, KC using Equotip, Ana holding Portuguese Flag, KC-Ana-Ritu (let to right), Ana installing scoop in dirt.

Looking Forward

Now that the team has passed the halfway point of the mission the focus will be on finalizing data collection and wrapping up experiments.

Sol Summary – May 10th

Sol 10

Summary Title: The Spectacular Candor Chasma exploration

Author’s name: Aline Decadi, XO

Mission Status: nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Today took place 2 EVAs:

– EVA-15 with the following 4 crew members: James Burk (Commander) (EVA Lead), Aline Decadi (XO), Julien Villa-Massone (Crew Engineer), Audrey Derobertmasure (HSO).

– EVA-16 with the following 4 crew members: Cecile Renaud (EVA Leader), Julian Villa-Massone (Crew Engineer), Erin Kennedy (Crew Roboticist), Kris Davidson (Journalist) (Not In Sim – Not Wearing Suit).

EVA-15 successfully conducted exploration of Candor Chasma + Drone Flights to Capture Outreach Footage, with the rovers Spirit and Perseverance. ADAPA drone has been flying nominally but was still not able to record footage during the flight.

EVA-16 had the following purpose:

1) Human-Robot Interaction experiment with Atmosphinder robot to activate functions based on coloured card sequences as detected with embedded computer vision

2) Autonomous sensor-based function activation with the anemometer and sails

3) Additional sail testing

The half-sized Atmosphinder robot with electronics and sails was tested today. The objectives of the test were surrounding human-robot interaction while fully suited in astronaut gear. This comprised of two smaller tests: 1) autonomous function activation based on anemometer wind speed and 2) computer vision with coloured card sequences. The new code for these tests was integrated with the existing environmental sensor data logging code.

The result from the first wind test proved that Atmosphinder was able to change its functions from the wind sensor, as shown by the LEDs. In combination with controlling the sail trim servos, this is an indicator that in the future, controlling the direction of the robot based on the current winds will be possible!

The computer vision colour card sequence test was not guaranteed to work as designed given the lighting conditions differed from when it was initially trained. The pink and green colour combination sequence was tested on both tests, and the camera was able to detect them.

The EVA was aborted early due to inclimate weather conditions approaching. A debrief was conducted with the crew. It was helpful to hear their point of view in order to form a balanced perspective of the activity given Atmosphinder’s technical results from today’s testing. Extracting learning lessons from the entire crew’s experience was invaluable and am endlessly grateful for their continuing support!

A last test of ADAPA drone has also been conducted during EVA-16 ; the results were identical to the drone flight from this morning: it was still not able to record during the flight.

During EVA-16, the Mission Support updated the crew on a potential storm coming and the EVA has been aborted to prevent from any Safety issues.

The crew spent the rest of the afternoon debriefing, make the reports, have dinner together and prepare the next day’s experiments and EVAs.

Look Ahead Plan: we will conduct 2 EVAs tomorrow: EVA-17 in the morning for collecting samples of soil for Crew Biologist; EVA-18 in the afternoon for the last engineering testing of Atmosphinder at Sea of Shells, according to mission request approval.

Anomalies in work: None.

Weather: Pleasant and sunny. Very windy in the afternoon.

Crew Physical Status: Nominal.

EVA: EVA-15 at Candor Chasma; EVA-16 in front of the Hab.

Reports to be filed: HSO Report, EVA Report, Operations Report, Journalist Report, Pictures of the day, GreenHab Report.

Support Requested: None.

text

Astronomy Report – May 2nd

[category 

astronomy-report]

Crew 261 Astronomy Report 02-05-2023

Astronomy Report

Name: Aline Decadi, XO
Crew: 261
Date: 05/02/2023

MDRS ROBOTIC OBSERVATORY
Robotic Telescope Requested (choose one) MDRS-14 MDRS-WF MLC => None

Objects to be Imaged this Evening: None
Images submitted with this report: None

Problems Encountered: None

MUSK OBSERVATORY

Solar Features Observed: First solar imaging with the Musk Observatory.

The user manual has been operated to perform visual observing the chromosphere, prominences, granules, sunspots, and filaments. The sun observation has been performed first with the zoom eyepiece, then with the camera to captures several thousands of frames and process the images with the following software: AUTOSTAKKERT to stack the images, REGISTAX to add wavelets to bring out fine details, and PHOTOSHOP to merge all in one.
The operation of the dome, telescope and computer were nominal.

Images submitted with this report: Sun 230502 Sunspots.png
Problems Encountered:
-The Sun was moving out the field of view when I was configuring the parameters for capturing a bunch of 1000 frames using the SHARP CAP program, so the adjustment with the red focus knob and the tuning knobs was not easy.
-I used some presets in REGISTAX, but I was not able to adjust efficiently the six wavelets to improve the image processing.
=>These will require more practice.

COMMS open 7-9pm 03May2023

Hello Crew,Mission support is signing in, please submit your daily reports.Please acknowledge.

Weather forecast:
03/05/2023 Night
Temperature – 61F
Humidity – 29%
Cloud Cover – 85%
Wind – S 7 mph
Wind gusts – 27 mph
Probability of Precipitation – 5%

04/05/2023 Morning
Temperature – 56F
Humidity – 42%
Cloud Cover – 35%
Wind – S 6 mph
Wind gusts – 30 mph
Probability of Precipitation – 4%

04/05/2023 Day
Temperature – 71F
Humidity – 14%
Cloud Cover – 19%
Wind – S 19 mph
Wind gusts – 39 mph
Probability of Precipitation – 0%

04/05/2023 Evening
Temperature – 64F
Humidity – 16%
Cloud Cover – 9%
Wind – SW 19 mph
Wind gusts – 36 mph
Probability of Precipitation – 6%

05/05/202307/05/2023 Summary
Daily temperature – 67-74 F
Wind – 15-18 mph
Probability of Precipitation – 1-15%

Note:

1) High winds warning tomorrow afternoon. Please plan accordingly.
2) FYI, an earth vehicle is coming tomorrow morning to empty the septic tank.
________________________
Sergii Iakymov – Assistant Director Mars Desert Research Station

AIorK4zJwLwPIWpaKeu3MS1SRDkfIkROXwfkNaEgVlcUFUQOHMM_jnKth8pJaFRg3ou53q1RY40muac

Research Report – April 28th

[category science-report]

Crew 280 End-of-Mission Research Report

Astronomy

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.

Biology

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.

Engineering

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.

Research Report – April 22nd

[category science-report]

Crew 280 Mid-Mission Research Report

Astronomy

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 management responsibilities at the MDRS with two astronomy-related projects:

Study of the Solar Chromosphere: The goal of this project is 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 in search for a variety of magnetic phenomena, including sunspots, flares, and granules. To date, she has been able to identify various sunspots through the eyepiece. Her goal for next week is to image these features with the AUTOSTAKKERT software.

Astrophotography of Deep-Sky Objects: Mariona has also used the MLC-RCOS16 Robotic telescope to generate RGBLHa color images of deep-sky objects, including planetary nebulae (NGC 6888/Crescent Nebula) and galaxies (NGC 4273, NGC 5371, NGC 5033, NGC5055/Messier 63, and NGC 3184/Little Pinwheel Galaxy).

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Biology

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, because it allows you to study how humans and microbial life would develop in Mars, as well as the exterior environment is the perfect place to search for potential Martian biological signatures.

Carla Conejo González (Crew Executive Officer & Biologist) is combining her XO responsibilities at the MDRS with conducting projects on humans factors affecting a mission to Mars, including experiments in the fields of telemedicine, psychology and sociology, as follows:

Circadian rhythms in a Mars analog mission: a telemetric approach: The goal of this project is to study the sleep-wake cycle of the crew and how their participation in a Martian analog mission at the MDRS is affecting their circadian rhythms. The project has two different approaches: (i) the telemetric approach, where each crew member’s sleep record is being tracked since Sol1 using an actigraphy wearable wrist-worn device (Fitbit ® by Google); (ii) the same register is also recorded using a written sleep log diary, where each crew member has to write 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 are tracked by each member of the crew, and at the end of the mission will be anonymized for analysis purposes. This project is being conducted in collaboration with the support of Google and the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol.

Additional observations: As part of our mission, other observations in the following fields are planned, and will be used to complement the results of the primary experiment.

Psychology: Study on the psychological effects of participation in a mission similar to the MDRS, in collaboration with the University of Burgundy (France).

Sociology: Study on the social interactions of the crew for the optimization of our performance as a team, in collaboration with the company Sociomapping.

Gynecology: Study on the changes in the ovarian function of people subjected to the experimental situation of a similar mission, in collaboration with the Hospital of Sant Pau Hospital.

Laia Ribas (Green Hab Officer & Biologist) is combining her daily responsibilities in the GreenHab together with her research projects. Her projects are developing as follows:

CatMart:This is an outreach project aimed at identifying microorganisms on Mars. A total of five Martian spots have been sampled, obtaining 200-300 g of soil. The localization in the Martian map are the following: 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 at 23/03/23). The soil samples, kept in zipper plastic bags, were brought to the station for further analysis during the remaining SOLs.

Martian Bottle. The aim of the experiment is to reduce the number of microorganisms in the water. The water is obtained from the waste watering in the GreenHab. Two experiments are currently ongoing. 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).

Aquaculture on Mars. The aim is 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.

Seeds for the crew. The aim of the project is to provide fresh food to the crew. A total of 75 g of two different seeds have been 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. This research aims 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. To date, Cesca has cultivated the physarums that will be used for the experiment. The physarums will be grown until they are big enough to provide 4 clones that will be tested simultaneously in different conditions:

○ One sample being the control sample, with no stimulation.

○ A second sample on a 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 setup is ready (see Engineering projects section). It is expected that the physarums will be big enough in less than 24h from now.

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Engineering

Ariadna Farres Basiana (Scientist & Health and Safety Officer) is combining her HSO duties at the MDRS with an astrodynamics project:

Martian GPS: The goal of this project is to study the feasibility of a low-cost GPS network around Mars. During the first half of the mission, we have replicated Earth’s GPS around Mars. Adjustments to some of the orbital parameters, like the semi-major axis (sma) and the Right Ascension of the Ascending Node (RAAN), have been made in order to ensure the same type of coverage around Mars surface. This network requires at least 24 satellites, which is far from low-cost, however it ensures 24h hours coverage on most parts of the martian surface. During the next days, we will work on reducing the number of satellites in order to ensure at least 12 hours of communication around Chryse Planitia (“Golden Plane”) where we have established our martian base. All the simulations have been done using NASA’s open-source software GMAT (General Mission Analyses Tool).

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Neus Sabaté (Mission Specialist) is assisting the Crew Engineer of the mission and performing her Engineering experiments related to battery development:

Martian batteries development. This project proposes to use iron-based rocks present in Mars (or in the MDRS surroundings) as main components of a primary battery. To evaluate the viability of this approach, Sabaté has explored three different locations (Marble Ritual, Compass Rock and Robert’s Garden Rock) and found mainly soundstone rock, siltstone and argillite. Currently the samples have been immersed in diluted HCl for a few days in order to extract the Fe3+ and Fe2+ ions.

○ As a proof of concept, Sabaté has also mounted and characterized 3 batteries based on iron-chemistry. In this case, iron has been 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 have been mounted in series and filled up with salty water. The energy generated with the batteries will be dedicated to power a small LED module that stimulates seed growing.

○ Finally, Sabaté has planted seeds in three different desktop hotbeds that are submitted to different conditions: one hotbed is placed next to the window and will receive sunlight during the day, another hotbed is placed inside a camping storage cupboard and will be in complete darkness whereas the last one will receive LED lighting (powered by iron-based batteries) from 8:00am to 8:00pm.

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Cesca Cufí (Crew Engineer) is combining her duties as engineer with an engineering and biology project. The engineering project:

“The Blob’s house”: This project consist of designing and constructing a prototype of biologically safety cabin to perform biological experiments in the context of an analog mission where biocontamination has to be prevented. The cabin features are specifically designed for the biological experiment with the physarum polycephalum (commonly known as “blob”). It contains 4 light boxes equipped with a camera and a LED light each. Two of the boxes contain a PCB, one with a IR emitter and the other one with a UV emitter. The current provided to these emitters reproduce the radiation that reaches the Martian surface. The cameras and LEDs are controlled with a raspberry pi. The cabin also contains a venting system with two fans that activate depending on the temperature of the cabin, provided by a temperature and humidity sensor. The venting system is 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 are controlled with an arduino. The arduino data is transferred to the raspberry pi to be registered. Every 4 minutes the LEDs are switched, a picture is taken and the temperature and humidity is register. The cabin is lightweight and fully demountable.

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Outreach and Communication

Núria Jar (Crew Journalist) is reporting on the field the experience of Hypatia I at the MDRS. There are several tasks she is performing these days:

● 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 combining her XO responsibilities at the MDRS with conducting a communication project consisting of a video diary of the mission. In addition, Carla is giving support to the outreach projects of her crewmates.

Astronomy Report – April 20th

[category 

astronomy-report]

Crew 280 Astronomy Report 20-04-2023

Name: Mariona Badenas
Crew: 280 (Hypatia I)
Date: 20-04-2023

MDRS ROBOTIC OBSERVATORY
Robotic Telescope Requested (choose one) MDRS-14 MDRS-WF MLC
Objects to be Imaged this Evening: Messier 63 (NGC5055)
Images submitted with this report: None
Problems Encountered: None

MUSK OBSERVATORY

Solar Features Observed: We aligned the telescope and visually observed the solar chromosphere, identifying a beautiful sunspot.
Images submitted with this report: N/A
Problems Encountered: I was not able to use the ZWO camera to image the Sun. For some reason, when I used the recommended Gain and Gamma values, I was only able to see a bright screen (see attached).

Astronomy Report – April 18th

[category 

astronomy-report]

Crew 280 Astronomy Report 18-04-2023

Crew 280 Astronomy Report 18-04-2023
Name: Mariona Badenas
Crew: 280 (Hypatia I)
Date: 18-04-2023

MDRS ROBOTIC OBSERVATORY
Robotic Telescope Requested (choose one) MDRS-14 MDRS-WF MLC
Objects to be Imaged this Evening: Planetary Nebula NGC6853 (astrophotography filters, x5 exposures of 300s each)
Images submitted with this report: None

Problems Encountered: None

MUSK OBSERVATORY

Solar Features Observed: N/A
Images submitted with this report: N/A
Problems Encountered: N/A

Research Report – April 14th

[category science-report]

During these two weeks, Crew 279 ARES has continuously worked on their research. Our experiments cover a large range of topics, and we hope to get good results out of our efforts. We still need to analyze all the data post-mission to conclude our research but here is a brief overview of how our experiments went during our rotation.

“We are what we eat” – Antoine de Barquin

The goal of Antoine’s experiment is to understand the impact of specific nutrition and confinement on the intestinal flora of astronauts. To conduct this study, a sample of each crew member was taken before departure to perform an analysis of intestinal bacteria by targeted metagenomics. This analysis is performed at the LIMS MBnext laboratory which collaborates with our crew for this experiment. The crew will then give “post-mission” samples. This way, Antoine will be able to compare and analyze how freeze-dried food affected everyone’s microbiota. Every day, Antoine monitored everything the crew ate, type of food, quantities, time of the day etc. He started analyzing the data during the mission and will conclude the analysis after the return on Earth. He also wondered how working the soil would affect the two crew members who worked the most in the GreenHab. People who garden have higher levels of Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria found in the soil that stimulates production of serotonin and functions as an antidepressant. He thought it would be interesting to see if our two gardeners have higher levels of it when he analyzes their samples upon our return to Earth.CC_nidUA0-eRmbptHIbBxKvwT_YljqpagahgY5y6OLqkBDTa_1q2q2qUZZYD8dX8Lgg6n7XN0AgwdOFD-3dpBWpXxeJNV_qorskDRTHqgA3ON2t4vrxyyMjwqDEUkYmoNipDd_lyOv1hiwSYvSq7Vw

Our Commander led his team proudly, trying to please everyone and keeping a good overview of the broad range of work we had to do.

“I will survive” – Agnes Dekeyser

Agnes’ experiment studied “extremophiles”. These are microorganisms that live in conditions that are lethal to most other microorganisms. They live on the seabed, in the Earth’s crust, in glaciers, and in many other extreme environments. During the mission on the planet Mars, our Crew Executive Officer studied the viability of two strains of extremophiles after exposure to MDRS environmental conditions : Deinococcus Radiodurans and Cupriavidus Metallidurans. Each strain was exposed outside for 8 days in anaerobic condition. Their viability will be compared to their unexposed analogues based on CFUs (Colony-Forming-Units) analysis. She also worked closely with Augustin and Thomas to find a place with less radiation around the base where her bacteria could survive better. Agnes spent her first days culturing her extremophiles and used one of her EVA’s to take them to North Ridge, a ridge with a higher altitude than the station’s. She also placed their analog inside the station. She then went back up the ridge every two days to check them. She also used an Arduino to calculate parameters such as temperature, pressure and altitude at North Ridge. On top of this experiment, she launched a weather balloon on top of North Ridge with an Arduino as well to test if this could be a useful way to calculate parameters if bacteria were to be put inside of the balloon for a future experiment. Sadly, the balloon did not last long as it did not have enough helium. SOL 11 was the day she collected her cultures and will proceed to analyze the difference in viability.MADqxHa-eyK2bP6UmdGTjxlS1O6loXWVf6ZpPbQL-ROqXlc0JRyEA07Pt6CHh8eLUWjAu8xXpjvK7fof5CCPEWOXd10N3dzs1tyBJGgfjegE3TQ0TUGcBijQ-hE8P5ZxXP2qFsmUTZ5tQT7Z1_boyQ

As CEO, she helped the Commander organize and coordinate daily team tasks and supported everyone before, during and after the simulation.

“Space Oddity” – Ioana Dimitrova

Long term spaceflight separates astronauts from society and their loved ones for months and months. It also keeps them confined without leaving them a possibility to feel free and do whatever they want. This can lead to mental health problems, stress, tensions within the team and can put the mission at risk. Music could be a cheap, easily transportable, and effective solution to this problem. Choosing your personal music to help you relax could have multiple benefits. It could help you transport yourself elsewhere, work through your emotions and stimulate your senses. Ioana tested if this theory is true by measuring cardiac parameters during relaxing times with and without music chosen by the crew. The technology used for the measurements is KINO by HeartKinetics. It’s an app that you put on your chest and that analyzes your heart variability. Added to that, a blood pressure monitor was used to take blood pressure measurements. Before the measurements, she also asked the crew to complete an anonymous Self Perceived Stress Test to get some trends on how the team felt throughout the mission and to correlate it with days they listen to music.s0JNWDPa8SeneDirLVmiqrOMXKSRowi-k_mA-fu6Tk6Usow8H2BJwfuHdWFPy0Gh1j1txMIK8hYGuKPzJmfNneDulj7la7spHpbAWNpid4Aee7oHbgtiUKDmJG30pMoFnt6hFIlvYjkzrh4zaqCJaQ

Our Crew Engineer has also kept busy by fixing two suits, a headset and managing water and power consumption.

“Radiation: how attacked are we?” – Thomas Stinglhamber

Every day, everywhere, different types of radiation attack us. On Mars, radiation will be way more brutal and dangerous than on Earth due to the difference of the atmosphere. It is thus very important to be able to have easy ways to measure the dosage of this radiation. 8yb5Sa9ZWd2DxbZsaRPm5ShFbPh0EBTtOO6UplUCEjPCxfSDO9_kW2zEjHtEggm0VKl-NI45HlLact6-8JCXLXWvdgJKg5n94USB32urviIINmB0Mm89oHx3Nlb4WeNJrGG33AHzcPjLGA6osScvQw

Thanks to BeSure’s technology, Thomas installed dosimeters both inside and outside the station to check how radiation proof the station is. He also gave the crewmates an individual dosimeter that they always wore to measure their personal dosage. He will collect all their data at the end of the simulation and will be able to tell us how much radiation we have been exposed to. Complementary to this, Thomas used a Gamma detector to map out the activity of the soil around the station by searching for radioactive isotopes near the station. He covered the whole region around the MDRS and combined his grid with Augustin’s 3D maps. He also helped Agnes determine if the hiding places Augustin found for her bacteria were protected from radioactive activity.

As Crew Scientist, he helps plan EVA’s, their tasks, timings, and reports.

“Confinement FOMO” – Aglaé Sacré

FOMO, “Fear of missing out”, can appear when we are cut out of society and social media. The Mars simulation completely cuts the crew off the network and the outer world, which makes it the best place to study how the lack of social media affects the mental condition of not wanting to miss out on something. The crew answered some anonymous questionnaires before leaving and were asked to check their social media usage data on their phone to realize how much time they were spending online daily. At the half of our stay, different anonymous questionnaires were completed where we assess how we feel without social media and if we feel like we’re missing out on something. We will have one more to fill in after the end of the simulation. This way Aglaé can compare how the crew used to use social media, how they predicted they would live without it and how they lived without it. Early data shows that pre-mission fears evolve as the days go by.

As Crew Journalist, she wrote the daily summaries and kept the world notified on what work we do every day. She also took photos and videos to document and present after our mission

“High Speed Rotor Manufacturing” – Gwenael le Bussy

The Martian atmosphere is a hundred times less dense than the one on Earth. This means that every flying object we would like to use for observation, scouting or measurements needs to be adapted to the physics of that new environment. Like the ones on Ingenuity, the rotor blades must have a special shape. Naturally, every piece of equipment may encounter a problem and need to be repaired or replaced. The problem cannot be predicted precisely in advance, which means that we need an adaptable solution. Gwenael studied how he can use 3D printing to model (with SolidWorks with NACA profile) and print rotor blades for the Martian atmosphere. Afterwards, he tested them with a high-speed motor and measured their thrust with a scale. He tested the 3D printer by doing some test prints for the oven knob. We tried to see if we could make one that works better than the ones currently used.zGCqdfbQrpwtfgCytbSjBG64WFXAjIVVn__kX7cn5ohgjlygKV8xFz7uuLP1XNRgXUZEinTNUndixCTTOSGAJ6HjPKgKZfm7fZMZpZ11AYGnODPWRtLqxcZ3nHIaLwH-WZVncx2sLfaYpO430VS9lg

Parallel to his aerodynamics work, our Crew Astronomer observed the Sun with the solar observatory and took some pictures. He also used the New Mexico observatory remotely to observe M63 and M51 and spent some time processing them.

“Hide and seek during radiation storms” – Augustin Tribolet

As we mentioned earlier, radiation is an important factor in a Mars mission. If we are to live there or try to make bacteria or plants survive, we must find the most protected areas on the surface. An easy way to be able to find those places could be to use a drone to map out the area and to find these places. Augustin used a drone to scan the surface and generate a 3D model by photogrammetry. This digital technique allows us to build the 3D model from photographic images. He worked closely with Agnes who studied extremophiles to analyze how effective his hiding places are but also with Thomas to map out his radiation with the 3D models. Augustin completed numerous EVA’s during which he mapped out the station, the Special Region, Marble’s Rituals, the North Ridge, Candor Chasma, Kissing Camel Ridge… When he was not on EVA, he exported the images and combined them to create 3D interactive maps. When he would spot a possible protected place on his map, he would send a team out on an EVA, that had never been to that place, to see if they could find it based only on his maps and to check out if his measurements were correct. vNTtAYINzsxFArYLEtDlUI4oSSdViurktE8EoBL9zIAn35JUsdd2tTL7G_Pb7orBmVetAI-NbddkCaNekN0ctq4sgert1XPyq0s1CF3ap-3tXjyt9hyJ4HLF1ZY3WmsgbGSye-SmrxKFnjYoMBVaSg

As GreenHab Officer, he took care of our garden, rooting for it even during the warmer days. He collected the vegetables and different herbs that he dried to make spices for our team as well as for the next teams.

“Mars well-being” – Ttele Hiriart

Confinement, isolation, extreme conditions… All these factors affect mental health and team dynamics. How is the well-being of the crew members evolving? How does the team work together? How do the dynamics evolve? Which teamwork tools work? During the mission, Ttele kept a diary of her observations of the team and different crewmates. She will compare these observations with the ones made by other mission simulations in Antarctica for example. After analysis, she will present her observations of the ups and downs of the mission, how the team interacted and different lessons the team has learned or must work on for future missions. During the day, she observed how effectively every crewmember worked on their experiment, how their motivation changed and how they handled difficult decisions, tensions. Some examples included: decisions made during EVA’s when plans had to change due to lack of time, technical difficulties in the station, decision taking when not everyone had the same opinion, how the team reacted when somebody was down, the effect of the fatigue… She also introduced some teamwork exercises at the end of day to work on team cohesion. All this is documented in her diary, and she took notes of her observations continuously. She will now have the tedious task to read everything she wrote and present her observations and some ideas for improvement.A5B_1xNxG6CcI8q64JBTVFHr5AOsEIHInNlv6IQedvWwmLg7Wa_S1iWvfsjFwS8snTbXMG5m-BT4DzhYH9j0sxaLZmmfw4gOHTmB8Cf-WRHUfI1d2Ld5bueYXPqokLXfwz8NL9Xgu8h77PL-BsiOOw

As Health and Safety Officer, she made sure everyone was feeling good and healthy and took care of us when we were feeling out of shape.

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