Journalist Report – April 3rd

By Alba Sánchez Montalvo

This morning, Maxime and Alba went on an EVA to x on Max’s weather station and explored the surroundings, going through a few small canyons and sorting out a few little caves on the way. The rest of the crew stayed at the station and worked on their experiments and tasks in the different modules. After having lunch together, Louis, Arnaud and Hippolyte prepared for their EVA to perform an automatic flight with Louis’ drone to study the area between the MDRS, the Hab Ridge and the North Ridge. Meanwhile, the rest of the team listened to some music and worked on their experiments. Maxime spent some time at the observatory doing solar observations getting familiar with following the tutorials on how to take pictures and he captured an image of a prominence and sunspot. Arnaud, Hippolyte, Romain and Alba spent time together doing some sports, regretting not having unlimited water to have a shower… reminding us that we are on Mars now! Later, the team sat together at the main hab to work on the daily reports before having dinner and resting to face one more day.

Journalist Report – April 4th

By Alba Sánchez Montalvo

We started the day early today because it was a very busy one! In the morning, the whole team were on EVA, in two turns, for Romain’s experiment about manipulating the drone. We did it all during the morning because the wind was expected to be strong in the afternoon. They were two fast EVAs. Back at the station, a delicious meal cooked by Imane was waiting for us, so we all had lunch before doing anything else. Later, Alba, Arnaud and Imane collected their samples for their biomedical research: blood, saliva and inflammatory cell count in blood. To continue with our experiments, we followed Romain’s instructions for the TapStrap on how to order the drone to perform a certain action; we had a consultation with our psychologist Loriane to discuss our personality profiles; last, we had a meeting with Hippolyte for his experiment with our developing AI crew mate. But that’s not all. The team also worked on doing some content in the form of videos for our collaborations and visibility of the project, showing around the different modules and their function in the station. Later on, we sat at the main hab to work on the daily reports and to have our regular meeting where we discussed how the simulation was going for each crew member and talked about ways of improving the experience for the whole team. To finish the day, dinner and a team building activity was planned. Successfully survived the windy conditions on Mars!

Journalist Report – March 28th

Journalist Report
By Katya Sofia Arquilla

Today’s field instruction focused on practical skills and theoretical knowledge relevant to medical practices in space surface environments, supplemented by adjacent disciplines critical to space exploration, including medical imaging and emergency rescue operations. In the morning, students received hands-on training in the operation of hand-held ultrasound devices, essential for diagnosing medical conditions in space. They learned techniques for imaging and interpreting ultrasound scans, emphasizing adaptability and proficiency in utilizing medical technology beyond traditional settings. The students learned how to image their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, bladders, and other internal organs essential to monitor during long-duration space exploration missions.

After lunch, students analyzed the results and telemetry data from their recent rocket launch. Through collaborative analysis, they gained insights into telemetry principles and data interpretation, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of space exploration. They were able to show a launch video recorded by a camera within the rocket body.

In the afternoon, an excursion to the nearby dinosaur dig site provided students with an opportunity to explore paleontology. They were able to see embedded fossils, drawing parallels between terrestrial and extraterrestrial exploration. In the evening, a lecture on the astronaut selection process covered the criteria and psychological considerations involved in space missions. Students gained insights into physiological adaptations and psychological resilience necessary for space travel, and they were also sorted into “space houses” related to their skill sets.

Today’s activities integrated practical skills and theoretical knowledge, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of space exploration. Students gained valuable insights into rescue operations, medical practices in space, alongside medical imaging and terrestrial excavation methods.

Journalist Report – March 29th

Journalist ReportBy Arian Anderson

As we reach the sixth day of our Mars medical simulation course at the Mars Desert Research Station, fatigue and anticipation mingle in the air as we continue our mission to simulate medical emergencies and scientific exploration on the Martian surface. Today’s objectives focused on scoping a location for a future habitat, a critical step in our mission to lay the groundwork for sustained human presence on Mars. Utilizing a ground blast technique coupled with a seismograph to measure soil density, we sought to gather essential data to inform future habitat construction and ensure the safety and viability of our Martian outpost.

However, the day was not without its challenges. Our crew commander, tasked with leading the mission, succumbed to hypothermia, a stark reminder of the unforgiving nature of the Martian environment. As confusion set in, the commander began issuing incorrect instructions, jeopardizing the success of our mission. In a decisive moment, the deputy commander stepped in to assume leadership, ensuring that the team remained focused on meeting our objectives despite the unexpected setback.

In addition to the commander’s medical emergency, another crew member encountered a shocking incident when they accidentally received an (simulated) electrical shock from the rover, highlighting the inherent risks associated with operating advanced technology in extreme environments. Despite these obstacles, we persevered, drawing on our training and collective expertise to adapt to the challenges of Martian exploration.

As we reflect on the events of the day, a sense of weariness permeates the crew, signaling our readiness to return to Earth. The physical and mental demands of the mission have taken their toll, underscoring the importance of rest and recuperation in maintaining peak performance during extended space missions. As we prepare to conclude our time at the Mars Desert Research Station, we carry with us a wealth of experiences and lessons learned, furthering our understanding of the complexities of Martian exploration and reinforcing our commitment to advancing human knowledge beyond the bounds of our home planet.

Journalist Report – March 25th

Journalist Report
By Arian Anderson

Our students had a Mission Day 2 today, encountering a series of technical challenges that tested their problem-solving abilities in a simulated Martian environment. The day’s objective centered around launching a rocket, a crucial task for future missions, but their efforts were thwarted by a cascade of complications. Loss of GPS signal of the rocket, malfunctioning ignition switches, and adverse weather conditions, characterized by excessive wind, created a challenging set of obstacles to overcome.

Despite meticulous planning and preparation, the students faced the reality of unpredictable conditions inherent to Martian exploration. Loss of GPS signal not only compromised the rocket’s trajectory but also underscored the vulnerability of technological systems to environmental factors in extraterrestrial environments. Technical glitches, such as malfunctioning ignition switches, emphasized the importance of robust equipment and redundancy in critical systems, lessons essential for real-life Martian missions.

The challenge posed by excessive wind highlighted the significance of environmental factors in mission planning and execution. On Mars, where weather patterns can be extreme and unpredictable, understanding and adapting to environmental conditions are vital for mission success. The students grappled with the complexities of balancing scientific objectives with the practical realities of operating in an inhospitable environment, gaining valuable insights into the intricacies of future Martian exploration.

As they navigated through the setbacks of mission day two, the students demonstrated resilience and adaptability, essential qualities for aspiring Martian explorers. Their experiences underscored the need for interdisciplinary training that encompasses not only medical expertise but also technical proficiency and strategic problem-solving skills. Through perseverance and collaboration, they will continue to push the boundaries of their simulated Martian mission, and attempt to launch again tomorrow morning at 9AM.

Journalist Report – March 26th

Journalist Report
By Arian Anderson

Today marked a pivotal moment in our Mars medical simulation course at the Mars Desert Research Station, as we successfully launched a rocket carrying life-saving medical supplies, a critical step in our mission to simulate emergency medical responses on the Martian surface. The launch represented the culmination of weeks of preparation and training, underscoring the importance of precision and teamwork in executing complex tasks in an extraterrestrial environment. As the rocket soared into the Martian sky, carrying with it the hopes of future explorers, we were filled with a sense of accomplishment and anticipation for the challenges that lay ahead.

Following the successful launch, we divided into two teams and ventured onto the Martian surface to test our communications systems and gather essential data for our medical research. Despite meticulous planning, unforeseen circumstances arose when one of our crew members suffered a leg injury, highlighting the inherent risks of exploration in harsh and unfamiliar environments. Swiftly activating our emergency protocols, we mobilized to rescue and transport the injured crew member to the medical bay at the habitat, demonstrating the importance of preparedness and quick response in mitigating emergencies on Mars.

The incident served as a sobering reminder of the realities of Martian exploration and the need for comprehensive medical training to address potential emergencies. While our primary mission is centered around medical research, today’s events underscored the interconnectedness of various disciplines in achieving our objectives. As we reflect on the day’s challenges and successes, we are reminded of the resilience and adaptability required of future Martian explorers, traits that we continue to cultivate through our experiences at the Mars Desert Research Station.

In the aftermath of the rescue operation, we regrouped to debrief and assess lessons learned, identifying areas for improvement in our emergency response protocols and communication systems. Despite the unexpected setback, our determination to push the boundaries of medical exploration on Mars remains unwavering. With each challenge we encounter, we grow stronger and more prepared to confront the unknowns that await us on the red planet, united in our pursuit of advancing human knowledge and capabilities in space exploration.

Journalist Report – March 27th

Journalist report
By Katya Sofia Arquilla

In the morning students participated in a dynamic discussion with our physician instructors focusing on medical decision-making in remote settings. The students analyzed the simulated medical scenarios they have experienced during EVAs so far to sharpen their diagnostic and treatment skills under challenging conditions and to learn from their mistakes. The session underscored the importance of adaptability and resourcefulness in delivering effective healthcare beyond traditional clinical settings.

After that, students gathered for an insightful lecture on toxicology in space. Led by one of our physician instructors, the session delved into the unique challenges posed by space environments, exploring the effects of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lack of oxygen on human physiological systems. Discussions encompassed strategies for identifying and mitigating potential hazards, equipping students with vital knowledge to ensure crew safety during prolonged space missions. During a second set of lectures, the students received a signal from a crashed spaceship with injured crewmembers the students needed to search for and rescue. Students divided themselves into teams and navigated through the simulated Martian landscape to rescue two crew members who had crashed from a spaceship. One of the fallen crewmembers had a simulated traumatic brain injury and the other was hypoxic. The students successfully returned their patients to the habitat and treated their injuries in medical simulation. The activity was challenging and tested their problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and capacity to manage unforeseen challenges, laying the groundwork for effective teamwork.

After the simulated search and rescue EVA, the students and instructors debriefed the simulated EVA and talked about the challenges of communicating with such a large team in the field. The day concluded with a shared dinner between students and instructors, providing an opportunity for informal exchange of reflections on the day. We all looked at the night sky together and shared stories about our career paths and interests. The relaxed atmosphere fostered bonds of friendship and mutual respect, reinforcing the sense of community within the group.

Thanks so much for participating in our simulation today, Sergii! We would love to debrief with you on your experience tomorrow.

Journalist Report – January 24th

Crew 295 Journalist Report

Arian Anderson

It is day 1 of our Mars mission analog. Our group of students engaged in an educational program geared towards simulating the challenges of Martian exploration after traveling millions of miles across the solar system. Equipped with spacesuits and scientific tools, they embarked on an extravehicular activity (EVA) to conduct field research today that will set them up for the rest of the week of simulation. Their first task involved gathering rock samples to analyze Martian geology, aiming to unravel the planet’s geological history and composition.

During one EVA, the students stumbled upon a crashed satellite, providing an unexpected opportunity to study the effects of cosmic radiation on technology. They documented the site and salvaged usable components for further analysis, contributing valuable data to future missions. This encounter highlighted the unpredictable nature of exploration and the importance of adaptability in extraterrestrial environments.

In addition to their scientific objectives, the students were able to clean a dust-coated communications relay to ensure uninterrupted communication with mission control. Through teamwork and problem-solving, they restored the relay to optimal functioning, demonstrating their technical competence in managing mission-critical equipment.

One unexpected medical occurred with a crew member falling and suffering a DCS injury which required them to apply their training in space medicine. They demonstrated proficiency in first aid and emergency protocols and patched the suit then applied hyperbaric therapy. These experiences underscored the significance of medical preparedness and teamwork in mitigating risks associated with space exploration, fostering a sense of camaraderie among the students as they pursued their mission objectives and we look forward to the next several days of EVAs.

Journalist Report – March 21st

What a great day at MDRS! We wrapped up our simulation last night when our colleagues from University of Colorado arrived. We spent the morning in the Science Dome telling the rest of the team about our time in Sim and what we learned in our pilot studies with our neurophysiological sensors. We took time this afternoon to scout several locations on the rovers, and it was amazing to see the dinosaur fossils with the rest of the team. We ran our final study of the trip this afternoon: We had two team members head out on an EVA and they were wearing fNIRS brain measurement devices and eye tracking glasses. We collected their brain and eye tracking data while they navigated to a waypoint near Kissing Camel rock. We collected what is called ‘hyperscanning’ brain data, which is where you look at the brain synchronization between teammembers; in general team members who are working well together (high in team cohesion) will have more synchronization patterns. We wrapped up our day with a delicious pasta dinner and brownies in the Hab. The Sim team heads home tomorrow. Next up is the Univ Colorado field course at MDRS. Thanks for a wonderful sim experience, MDRS! We learned a ton and are already talking about our next trip back!

Leanne Hirshfield, Emily Doherty, James Crum, and Marta Čeko

Journalist Report – March 20th

EVA # 3
Author: Leanne Hirshfield
Purpose of EVA: 1) A short EVA to Marble Ritual with Commander equipped with neurophysiological and behavioral sensors to assess range of sensors and data quality during EVA-related movement (e.g.,walking, riding in rover, standing still on Mars). The Health and Safety Officer supported the Commander throughout the EVA. The task included travel to Marble Ritual and then walking to find one waypoint within 300 meters of Marble Ritual. Commander reported observations from waypoint and collected one biological sample to bring back to the Hab.
Start time: 10:30
End time: 11:45
Narrative: Suits (2 and 7) and Radios (1-2) fully charged before leaving and plugged in upon return. Arrived to Marble Ritual around 10:40 AM, and ran sensor testing study outlined below. Arrived back on site around 11:45 AM. Both depressurized before entering the Hab. Perseverance Hours (before EVA): 169. Beginning charge: 100%Perseverance ending charge: 82%. Perseverance plugged in upon return. EVA #3 was a huge success! We learned a lot about the process of collecting eyetracking and fNIRS data out on EVA. We brought the data acquisition laptops with us and ran through our study protocols pretty seamlessly. Things we learned: everything is harder to do on EVA: from sensor troubleshooting to simple breath holding studies (breath holding results in a lovely hemodynamic response in the brain that we can measure with fNIRS). Very little room for experimenter error if we want to collect actual field data in the future. Emily was able to quickly convert our walkie talkie communications into transcripts with WhisperAI, and our review of the discourse suggests that this would be a rich source of team cohesion and team processes data that we could apply NLP techniques to in future collections. Good stuff and very much a learning experience!
Destination: One location: between the HAB and Marble Ritual.
Coordinates (use UTM WSG 84): 518250,4251000
Participants: Leanne Hirshfield (Commander) and James Crum (Health & Safety)
Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Cow Dung Road, North direction, and then walking within a 300 meter radius around Marble Ritual.
Mode of travel: Driving and walking

EVA # 4
Author: Emily Doherty
Purpose of EVA: 1) A farther EVA to Pooh’s Corner with Crew Engineer equipped with neurophysiological and behavioral sensors to assess range of sensors and data quality data quality during EVA-related movement (e.g.,walking, riding in rover, standing still on Mars).. The Journalist will support the Crew Engineer throughout the EVA. The task will include travel to Pooh’s Corner and then walking to find one waypoint within 300 meters of Pooh’s Corner. Flight Engineer will report observations from waypoint and collect one biological sample to bring back to the Hab.
Start time: 14:15
End time: 15:45
Narrative: Decided to venture to Marble Ritual instead of the original planned Pooh’s Corner due to a delayed start. Upon arrival to Marble Ritual, we spent about 30 minutes troubleshooting our sensor equipment. We then spent about an hour testing the range and feasibility of the sensors in high sunlight conditions. We arrived back at the Hab around 15:45 and depressurized before entering.
Destination: One location: between the HAB and Marble Ritual.
Coordinates (use UTM WSG 84): 518250,4251000
Participants: Marta Čeko (Engineer) and Emily Doherty (Journalist)
Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Cow Dung Road, North direction, and then walking within a 300 meter radius around Marble Ritual.
Mode of travel: Driving and walking

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