Crew 202 Mission Plan – December 30th

Mars Desert Research Station
Mission Plan

Crew 202 – MartianMakers
Dec 28th, 2018 – Jan 12th, 2019

Crew Members:
Commander and Crew Astronomer: Dr. Cesare Guariniello
Executive Officer: Denys Bulikhov
Crew Engineer: Kasey Hilton
Health and Safety Officer and GreenHab Officer: Jake Qiu
Crew Geologist: Ellen Czaplinski
Crew Journalist: Alexandra Dukes

Mission Plan:
MartianMakers is the second all-Purdue crew at MDRS. Enthusiast and grateful for the first experience of Purdue students and alumni at the station, and eager to bring our tiny contribution to the advancement of research for human exploration of Mars, we organized a crew with one veteran of MDRS and five bright young rookies.
Crew 202 will perform various research tasks related to human exploration of Mars: some of them will be performed in the laboratory, while others require Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA), thus adding realistic difficulties to the task. This way, crew members will not only be collecting data for their research projects, but also identifying potential issues and difficulties with performing tasks while encumbered by space suits in a harsh environment. A third important aspect of the mission will be the experience of living together in a small habitat, with all the consequent psychological and social aspects that will allow the crew to challenge themselves in a realistic astronaut situation.

The main objectives of the MartianMakers analog Martian mission are:
• Keeping the highest level of fidelity and realism in the simulation. Earth analogs cannot reproduce Martian gravity and atmosphere, but the crew will keep every other aspect into consideration. This includes safety and research protocols, definition of roles and daily schedule (with ample space for personal time), EVA protocols and difficulties, communication protocols, fruitful collaboration with the program director and mission support, and adaptation to limited resources and environmental difficulties.
• Perform research in the fields of earth sciences, biology, psychology, and crew operations on Mars
• Complete outreach projects. Public relations and outreach began before the mission and will continue after it and includes outreach to the general public about analog missions and their importance, outreach to students about the crew research, and media release through Purdue university and other channels.
• Lay the foundation of continued collaboration of Purdue crews with the MDRS program.
• Following the mission, supporting MDRS with useful products and manuals for future crews.

Crew Projects:

Title: Fuzzy Logic Decision Making in support of autonomy for crew EVAs
Author(s): Cesare Guariniello
Objectives: Comparison of decisions made by crew during EVAs with decisions based on a fuzzy-logic intelligent machine
Description: Prior to the mission, a simple decision-making machine based on fuzzy logic considerations has been built. When events (loss of communication, unexpected environmental difficulties, crew member injury) occur, the algorithm decides whether to continue the EVA, modify the primary objective, proceed to secondary objective, or abort the excursion based on safety of the crew, current status of the mission, achieved partial goals, and potential further acquisition of data. During the mission, events will be suggested to the crew (not simulated, for reasons of safety. It will be up to the astronauts to keep their decisions realistic), and the discussion and decision recorded and compared to that suggested by the machine
Rationale: Due to the distance between Earth and Mars, increased autonomy of the crews is fundamental. Support from Earth will be limited and time-delayed, therefore astronauts on Mars will need to be able to perform decisions autonomously. Intelligent and adaptive algorithms can provide a key support to astronauts, especially in situation of distress
EVAs: 3-4 medium to long EVAs

Title: Stress levels and decision making during Extravehicular Activity (EVA)
Author(s): Denys Bulikhov
Objectives: Assess how stress experienced during simulated Extravehicular Activity (EVA) affects decision making of an astronaut
Description: Extravehicular activity is an extremely demanding task, physically and psychologically. EVA exposes astronauts to significant physiological stress. Multiple studies have shown that human decision making is strongly influenced by stress. It has been demonstrated that stress changes participant’s attitude towards risk which in case of EVA may lead to dangerous consequences. This particular study is designed to investigate the possible influence of physiological stress experienced by participants during simulated planetary EVA on their decision-making. Different conditions of stress will be simulated (no EVA, regular EVA, some level of stress after EVA). The amount of stress will be evaluated through a procedure approved by Purdue’s Institutional Review Board, involving collection of saliva and appropriate measurements.
Rationale: Astronauts perform tasks in hazardous environment, and they need to be able to make safe decisions. It is important to know how stress levels can impact the capability of decision making, so as to decide either what stress factors to mitigate or how to support the decision-making process at high-stress time
EVAs: 3 EVAs (test done after EVA, not during)

Title: Study of microbial ecosystem in microgreens
Author(s): Jake Qiu
Objectives: Assess how pathogens introduced by astronauts can be released in an isolated environment and contaminate nutrients
Description: When traveling to space, everything gets sterilized except for one thing – astronauts. Humans are continuous contamination sources and many people house dormant pathogens that could potentially be released to the isolated enclosures that are required in space and on Mars. This project will identify how the microbial ecosystem in microgreens – an important nutrient source for essential vitamins that are easily degradable, can be impacted when inoculated with human-associated cell types. Locations in the habitat will be swabbed for these microbes and previously sterilized microgreens (not for consumption!) inoculated with them. The community structure of the microgreens will be analyzed throughout growth and harvest, and a NASA DNA sequencer will be used to identify any phenotypic changes and any potential pathogenic strains that could cause concern and further investigation
Rationale: Long duration missions will heavily rely on food produced in-situ. While objects and plants can be sterilized, astronauts cannot, and are therefore prone to introduce potentially dangerous pathogens in the isolated habitations. Further knowledge about the amount of pathogen spreading and the ways it can happen will support research to preserve the health status of crews
EVAs: None

Title: Analysis of mineralogy and regime of sand dunes and fluvial processes
Author(s): Ellen Czaplinski
Objectives: Determine the differences between spectra taken in the field during EVAs and in the laboratory, and identify effective spectroscopic techniques for in-situ sample analysis
Description: Features found in the MDRS study area, such as paleo channels and dunes, provide opportunities to access exposures that detail their depositional environment and the role that water played in their formation. Further, studying inverted channels and dunes near MDRS contributes to our understanding of the sedimentation processes that shaped these features, providing an Earth analogue to ones found on Mars. These characteristics are suitable to support the important task of determining efficient spectroscopic techniques for in-situ sample analysis to prepare for future crewed missions to Mars. Spectral information of samples around the MDRS are useful in comparing this area to Mars. Smectites like montmorillonite and nontronite are common around the habitat and are two of the most common clay minerals found on Mars. Studying clay minerals is relevant in that the identification of specific clay minerals can offer information such as the geochemistry of the primary rocks. Analyzing these types of clays in the IR is important, since IR spectroscopy techniques have the ability to differentiate 1:1 versus 2:1 silicate-layer type clays, as well as different chemical compositions of clays (montmorillonite versus nontronite)
Rationale: This comparative study has the goal of identifying differences between spectra collected in the field and spectra measured in laboratory. Do environmental factors significantly change the spectra of samples when compared to measurements taken in the lab? Based on this analysis, appropriate techniques can be suggested for in-situ sample analysis
EVAs: 5-6

Title: Composting and recycling waste on Mars
Author(s): Kasey Hilton
Objectives: Analyze some of the waste produced at MDRS as example of typical waste produce in a habitat on Mars, to determine the opportunities for recycling and composting
Description: Waste produced at the habitat will be analyzed and sorted into nitrogen rich waste (kitchen scraps, grass clippings, ect.), carbon rich waste (paper, wood chips, egg shells, ect.), and non-compostable waste, allows for the possibility of creating a compost pile. A compost pile would not only provide a way for waste to be reused that would otherwise take up space but would also provide plants with nutrients needed to grow and would introduce microorganisms into the environment. For a healthy compost, a 1:2 ratio of nitrogen rich to carbon rich waste is needed. Human waste can be used to modify the ratio towards carbon richer compost. Pending permission, a compost pile will actually be initiated inside the GreenHab, where the plants will provide the necessary oxygen for the microorganisms to start breaking down the material in the compost (which can be used as fertilizer in the GreenHab)
Rationale: Due to the restricted amount of storage available during space travel and limited resources in a Martian habitat, reducing and reusing as much waste as possible is vital. A closed-loop environmental control and life support system is a must for long-distance space travel, and once at destination, it is imperative to reuse as many resources as possible
EVAs: None

Title: Classroom Outreach via asynchronous Q&A
Author(s): Alexandra Dukes
Objectives: Spread news about MDRS and analog missions in a capturing way
Description: The crew received questions from a California school (GK-3) and a Nevada classroom (1st grade) about MDRS and living on Mars. The crew will be videotaped answering the questions in a “73 questions” Vogue format
Rationale: While is it important to spread our research among experts and professionals, it is equally important to have the younger generations informed and interested in what we do!
EVAs: None

Title: Messier objects for outreach
Author(s): Cesare Guariniello
Objectives: Do astronomy outreach by showing the majesty of some of the most spectacular deep sky objects
Description: Project already started before rotation at MDRS. Goal is to observe (and later filter and color) all visible objects out of the 110 in the extended Messier catalogue
Rationale: Get people interested not only in the utility but also in the beauty of space
EVAs: None

Title: Radiological mapping of MDRS and surrounding areas
Author(s): Denys Bulikhov
Objectives: Create a map of radiation around MDRS
Description: Use instruments to measure the amount of certain type of radiations at different heights in the areas surrounding the habitat. Some of the measurement will be taken by instrument mounted on a lightweight drone
Rationale: While Earth is protected from radiation by the thick atmosphere, Mars is much more susceptible to high-energy radiation from space. If astronauts have to spend extended periods of time outside the protection of caves and lava tubes, it is important to know areas with lower concentration of radiations. While the levels measured at MDRS will be relatively low, this project will show techniques to map radiation on Mars
EVAs: 2-3

Title: Students outreach on projects towards Martian mission
Author(s): Alexandra Dukes
Objectives: Inform students about MDRS projects with adequate level of detail
Description: The research projects of crew 202 will be explained and published on social media in three different level of difficulty, aimed at three different audiences: K-6, 7-12, College
Rationale: To engage students across education levels and get them excited about the work being done to place humans on Mars, it is fundamental to be able to speak their language. Therefore, it is important to describe each project in different ways, adequate to the audience
EVAs: None

Title: Photometry of faint objects
Author(s): Cesare Guariniello
Objectives: Measure the magnitude of faint objects with MDRS-14 telescope
Description: MDRS-14 is expected to capture objects with magnitude 14-15. The project aims at pushing this boundary by a large factor, starting from relatively bright objects, like Ceres (M=8.88), to move to faint objects like Pluto (M=14.35), Makemake (M=17.15) and Haumea (M=17.40)
Rationale: Clear dark skies at MDRS give chance to show the potential of astronomy from the surface of a planet in extremely good conditions
EVAs: None

Title: MARSter Chef (Martian Cooking Videos)
Author(s): Alexandra Dukes
Objectives: Provide future crews with video recipes for cooking with the food available in the habitat, and raise the interest of the general public
Description: Crew members will be filmed while preparing meals and explaining recipes that make use of food in the habitat
Rationale: Food is one of the aspects of crewed missions that are often not considered enough. To keep the crew morale high, varied and interesting recipes are often essential
EVAs: None

Mission Plan – December 17th

Crew 201 Mission Plan 17-Dec-2018

Mars Desert Research Station

Mission Plan

Crew 201 – Misión de Exploración-1 (MEx-1)

Dec 15th – 30th, 2018

Crew Members:

Commander: Tania Robles

Executive Officer: Juan Carlos Mariscal

Crew Engineer: Cesar Serrano

Health and Safety Officer/Journalist: Genaro Grajeda

Crew Astronomer/Scientist: Federico Martínez

GreenHab Officer/Journalist: Walter Calles

Mission Plan:

MEx-1 is a Mexican initiative that seeks to encourage the interest of the general population, industry, academia, and government of Mexico about the benefits of space exploration and its applications.

This through the creation of the first Mexican program of missions in MDRS conformed by a team of astronauts and a ground support on Earth. MEx-1 is a mission that had the previous support of an aerospace doctor and specialist psychologists to evaluate the physical and mental conditions of astronauts prior to the establishment of tasks and workloads of the missions.

The general objectives of Mex-1 are:

· Integration of a national multidisciplinary team that provides necessary support to the astronauts’ activities that will be carried out before and after the mission.

· Document and generate the necessary historical information to be able to organize easily later iterations of the mission.

· Generate media impact necessary to attract and encourage the participation of children and youth in space activities in Mexico.

· Encourage students and entrepreneurs to develop business activities focused on the creation and integration of projects that benefit and/or use space or high technology resources related to space exploration.

Crew Projects:


Title: The Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory

Author(s): Betel Martinez, Genaro Grajeda

Objectives: To know the psychological state and mental fatigue of the astronauts through the daily filling of the mental fatigue questionnaire.

Description: Prior to the mission, the crew of MEx-1 was evaluated psychologically as a team and individually by professional psychologists to learn about different aspects such as their personality factors, cognitive functions, physical state, group interaction, cooperation, resilience, emotional states, reaction to the solution of problems and their socio-emotional development.

During the mission, the crew will perform the daily filling of a metal fatigue test that will be delivered later to the evaluating psychologists. They, from comparing the results with the scheduling and recording of the daily activities, will know the affectations and changes that occurred during the mission in each of the profiles of the astronauts.

Rationale: Crews of astronauts are previously evaluated psychologically multiple times to know if they are suitable to perform their work in space. On a trip to Mars, their profiles will be analyzed prior to the mission and from there establish the routines and daily tasks depending on their physical and mental states.



Title: Crew Wellness Experiment

Author(s): Carlos Salicrup, Genaro Grajeda

Objectives: Measure and document the crew’s weight, water consumption, and pressure variation during the mission.

Description: HSO officer will measure 3 key parameters during the same time of the morning to corroborate the wellness of crew 201. Parameters to be measured and documented are member’s weight, daily water consumption, and blood pressure.

Rationale: Good health and wellness are key to the survival of small or large missions. A healthy crew member will perform as expected by the mission standards and will continue to do so during the duration of the mission whatever it may be. With the controlled data analysis of the crew, a doctor can measure the changes over small periods of time and suggest ways to better upkeep the health of the crew.



Title: Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Pointing

Author(s): Genaro Grajeda, Federico Martínez

Objectives: Point a VSAT with 3D printed tools

Description: MEx-1 will install, point, test and validate one-way connectivity of Free-To-Air Channels from up to three geostationary satellites located within the reach of the North America region with 3D printed tools in order to experience the difficulties and hardships of intensive work during regular Martian infrastructure building missions.

Rationale: Early astronauts arriving on Mars will need to install infrastructure to sustain early Martian colony activities and operations. Through the testing of 3D printed tools and analog space suits, the process of antenna installation, pointing and other equipment will be a difficult experience. Using this test bed, it will be possible to develop modern tools, and activities to facilitate the astronaut experience in Mars.

EVAs: 4 to 5 EVAs; will be performed over the height of the HAB simulating the classical way of infrastructure installation on Earth for a large coverage area. Location for VSAT installation must be flat and stable with no line of sight obstacles to the selected satellite(s) (Eutelsat 113WA, Eutelsat 117WA and Galaxy 15) and simulate the methodology for current infrastructure installation (Cellphone Radio Bases, regular Radio Access Networks for Internet of Things Networks with multidirectional antennas of 22 to 50 dBs).


Title: 3D Printing in space exploration

Author(s): Federico Martínez

Objectives: The main objective of using 3D printing is to provide us with personalized tools for our VSat pointing project and spare parts. This experiment will provide support on the construction of a rover prototype as well, and an analysis of the Hab will be done to use this technology to provide daily use supplies.

Description: 3D printing is becoming a common and a powerful tool when a unique and made in situ hardware is needed, it gives us the advantage of reducing time and costs, and the variety and quality of materials we can use nowadays it’s becoming bigger and better every year, helping different industries on their innovative and manufacturer process.

Rationale: The transportation of cargo when talking about space exploration, have been a topic since space race has begun, and now companies and space agencies are exploring 3D printing to save cargo, sending a 3d printer and its working material instead of a full kit of tools or spare parts.



Title: Engaging space to the people

Author(s): Crew 201& Crew 187

Objectives: Generate audiovisual content that will be published to increase the awareness of the space sector and the interest of young students and professionals in space exploration from Latin America.

Description: Crew 201 will record videos and take pictures of all of the activities and actions inside the Hab and during EVAs. Then on Earth the material will be edited and used for the subsequent creation of communication channels on different platforms: video, writing and as audio.

Rationale: Some of the most important space programs and agencies have a special and noted interest in science and technology outreach of their activities and missions. This to increase the interest of the population on space activities funded by the government. By doing this, they look to achieve two main objectives: create awareness on the young generation about the possibilities of doing a satisfactory career in the STEM area focused in space, and in showing the taxpayers about the importance of their monetary contribution for space exploration.



Title: Validation of electronics architecture and communication protocols for an exploration rover

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Validate the function of electronic components in hostile (low) temperature conditions. Validate communication protocols for exploration vehicles in the Martian environment.

Description: Exploration and support vehicles are required for space missions, as well, electronics and communications components are an essential part of such vehicles, so prove and validate new technologies to assure the success of the mission must be a special point of interest in the planning and design of space vehicles.

Rationale: Communications are the base of information exchange, therefore, the electronics used for them must be reliable. In space missions, the development of more efficient, reliable and faster protocols for data transfer, as well as more powerful and smaller electronic components must be constant.

EVAs: 1 EVA. To prove the requirements of distance and computational power of communication protocols, as well as behaviour of electronic components. Required terrain: – Preferably an area with hills or medium-high rock formations.


Title: Behaviour of Artificial Vision algorithms for Autonomous Navigation

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Test the quality of the images obtained by given cameras. Test the efficiency of AV algorithms and tools to identify samples of Martian rocks based on their colour and size. Test the efficiency of stereo vision to estimate distances using bidimensional images

Description: Artificial vision is currently the most important perception method and is the input for many artificial intelligence algorithms for autonomous navigation. Along with other kinds of sensors, such as ultrasonic and laser, artificial vision allows identifying objects based on their characteristics to be identified, according to their importance in navigation and mapping.

Rationale: When exploring other planets, autonomous navigation mitigates the communications delay caused for the distance to Earth. In order for a robot to be able to explore unknown terrains without being dependent of external commands or information obtained via satellite, it must be capable of recognizing and locate itself in the environment, reason why efficient methods for getting and processing images are fundamental. The AV algorithm is part of the development of an exploration rover.

EVAs: 1 EVA. Required terrain: Area with high rock formations, different colour tones of the ground and medium-sized rocks.


Title: Prototype and mechanical testing of Exploration rover

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Prove the expected behave of the mechanical systems of the Rover.

Description: Since 2012 it has been creating a big Project related to the design and building of space robotics exploration. Today, there exists the experience and expertise of developing Low-Cost RoThe last built prototypes have been related in mining and sampling return. Taking into count this scope, in MEx-1 will validate the function and evaluate the behavior of the mechanisms studied and implemented in our robotic solution. The details of geometry, suspension system, motor housings, wheels, leveling, and assembly were taking into count for the preparation of the preliminary and future designs of this kind of robotic.

Rationale: The developing of an exploration Rover, such as Curiosity and Opportunity, is focused perfectly in the study of the red planet, due to, having a technology of this type helping the astronaut, will provide further risky places, collecting useful data for the understanding of the planet, and futures missions in the planet.

EVAs: 1 EVA. Required terrain: A flat place, with transitions of lightly rocky floor and hard into a muddy one and vice versa.


Title: Martian Soil Analysis for usage on Greenhab

Author(s): Walter Calles, Makiah Eustice (Crew 200)

Objectives: Explore, collect and analyze multiple soil samples on the Martian soil on MDRS to test their capability for plants seeding and growing on the Greenhab. Up to 5 different soil samples will be mixed with different combinations of organic material to see which can be used as Greenhab ground.

Description: As part of the Greenhab activities, we’ll explore multiple locations with different types of soil during the EVAs. We will collect up to 5 different soil samples to test their attributes for plants seeding and growing. By mixing those samples with different amounts of Greenhab soil and some organic material, we’ll try to grow different types of crops on the multiple types of soil. After 5 days of continuous monitoring of the samples, we’ll determine which combination(s) of soil and organic material present the best results. Those samples will be taken to the science dome and analyzed in order to characterize their properties. Every location where the samples were collected will be marked on the MDRS map and marked as fertile or not.

Rationale: The idea of using real Martian soil for seeding and growing purposes is something that could be seen as a huge milestone to ensure future sustainable long-duration missions on Mars. Even though Earth’s soil samples are very different from the ones found on Mars, testing new ways to mix Martian-like desert samples can give a good overview of future next steps for Martian exploration.

EVAs: 1 EVA long enough to reach up to 5 locations with different types of soil samples for recollection.

Mission Plan – Crew 200

Mars Desert Research Station Mission Plan
Crew 200 – Mars Society International Crew
Dec 1st- 9th, 2018

Crew Members:
Commander: Dr. Ilaria Cinelli
Executive Officer: Oakley Jennings-Fast
Astronomer: Andrew Foster
Geologist: Dr. Jun Huang
Engineer: Antoine Bocquier
GreenHab Officer: Makiah Nicole Eustice
Health and Safety Officer: Dr. Lindsay Rutter

Mission Plan:
Crew 200 Mission Plan is an international mixture of science work, education and outreach. The Mission’s key values are:
1. International
2. Diversity
3. Education

Laid out here are the crew’s planned research objectives while at the MDRS:

1. Crew Projects
Mapping emotions (by Commander, I. Cinelli):
Introduction: Emotions and feelings are altered by the environment, and isolation has been
shown to impact human behaviours. Arts is used in this project to communicate how a person could experience endurance in isolation using colours.
Rationale: Mapping emotions in isolation for envisioning endurance
Methods: Since young age, I. Cinelli associates words and numbers to colours, that she sees distributed in space with an order depending on their meaning. Emotions and feelings will be mapped throughout the adaptation in isolation. Acrylic colours will be used to map emotions on a flight-suits.

Cement using Martian Regolith (Oakley Jennings-Fast Executive Officer)
Introduction: Objective is to test the strength of premix concrete (cement plus Earth soil as aggregate) and Portland cement plus local soil. Supplies set up in science dome and calculations started for weights of each material. Rationale: Important for understand building structures on Mars using available materials on the planet.
Methods: Mix various ratios of cement and local soil and water and test the strength with known weights until failure.

Search for Extremophiles: (by Lindsay Rutter, Health and Safety Officer)
Introduction: Understanding what microbes survive the Mars-like environment around the MDRS can serve as a proxy to the type of microbes that may survive Mars itself. Identifying sample microbes can be achieved with commercial-made microscopes, but can also be achieved with homemade microscopes in the event that a more official microscope is not available.
Rationale: Microbe survival in Mars environments has important implications for planetary protection and crew immunity.
Methods: Build homemade microscopes from economical material, namely by removing the lens from laser pointers, attaching them to camera phones, and placing the sample on a flashlight covered by paper and plastic slides. Collect microbes from nearby the MDRS. Take photos of magnified microbes using both commercial and homemade microscopes.

Energy Exchanges: Modeling and measurement of the thermal exchanges of the Habitat. (by Antoine Bocquier, Crew Engineer)
Introduction: Modeling the energy behaviour of the Habitat is key to optimize the use of available resources. By building an energy model of the Habitat that can be validated by in site measurements, it would be possible to adapt it to a Martian environment.
Rationale: A Martian station will need to be a “smart building” enabling to monitor resources use and perform failure detection and recovery. In MDRS, it will be useful to have a better assessment of the thermal power dissipated compared to the one generated.
1) Build a simplified energy model of the Habitat using the bond graph method
2) Take measurements via an infrared camera of the Habitat and find out its parameters to refine the model
3) Compare software simulations with measurements to validate the model
4) Adapt the model to a Martian environment

GreenHab Outreach (By Makiah Eustice, Greenhab Officer):
Introduction: Grow experiment at same time as a school in Canada
Method: Plant salad seed, check height each day
Rationale: Outreach to promote Mars exploration and green livinac

Mars VR (By Makiah Eustice, Greenhab Officer)
Introduction: Develop and film walkthroughs of training scenarios
Rationale: Crew 197 didn’t complete these tasks.
Method: Decide on training scenarios, practice, and film (annotate)

MDRS Digitization (By Makiah Eustice, Greenhab Officer):
Introduction: Understand sensors and electronic systems an find ways to implement “Smart Hab” system
Rationale: Mars would have smart systems that are connected, controlled, and archived for real time decision making
Method: Track all systems (water, power, environmental, telemetry) and find ways to improve

Schools Outreach (By Andrew Foster, Crew Astronomer)
Introduction: Inspire the scientist and engineers of the future through a schools outreach project
Rationale: The colonization of Mars will involve people of many nationalities and backgrounds working together towards a common goal. Education and outreach is the foundation for this great project.
Engage school and community in Western Qatar with a variety of exciting projects:
1. School
1.1 Year 8 HAB design – HAB design questionnaire “Ask The Experts” (from PHSE lessons), to be carried out @ MDRS. Questionnaire results to be presented in PHSE lesson late December.
1.2 Year 7 Science club – Introduced science project list. Follow up questions to be sent before mission start.
1.3 Primary Yr 6: Light project, two experiments:
i. Measure and compare Naked Eye Limiting Magnitude at Dukhan and MDRS, using star chart for Cygnus.
ii. Construct a Cooking Oil Differential Photometer, measure and compare sunlight transmission at Dukhan and MDRS.
1.4 Primary (Yr 3-6) Question List – Compilation of all questions from classes
1.5 Oryx award students (yr 12): Climate change project- Assess energy supply and usage at MDRS, use as input for a sustainable energy project.
1.6 Outreach: Maintain blog site, send at least daily updates for all projects. (text / photo / video) during the mission.

2. Scouts
(Dukhan Troupe 33101) – Mission logo design competition complete. 2 x science experiments:
i. Biology / Greenhab food growth rate comparison “Cress Race” comparing GreenHab to local growing conditions.
ii. Human factors / space suit / EVA impact on heart rate using fitness monitor & app.)

Mission Astronomy (By Andrew Foster, Crew Astronomer)
Introduction: Carry out a mixed Astronomy program consisting of science measurements and astrophotography. Take some beautiful images and share them with the community.
Rationale: Utilise the great astronomy facilities at MDRS, demonstrate the capability of the MDRS observatories by contributing to the science community and delivering some beautiful astrophotography as a means to engage the public.
i. Science / Astrophotography – Differential Photometry w/ American Association of Variable Star Observers
ii. Cometary Coma Morphology imaging (Planetary Science Institute campaign)
iii. Wide field astrophotography campaign.
iv. Solar prominence time lapse imaging.

Crew 197 arrives at the MDRS in 10 days!

Crew 197 (VR CrowdExplorers)

Overall Goals of Mission

  1. Create a research whitepaper for using VR to train analog simulation participants.
  2. Pilot out MarsVR Training scenarios and script/enact new scenarios.
  3. Update interior/exterior scans for MarsVR future releases.
  4. Capture video & 360 footage for future promotional videos.
  5. Prepare the station for beginning of field season.
    • Installation of new Donor & Memorial plaques. (James)
    • Start up some plants in the GreenHab.
    • Setup of new HAL workstation & displays. (James)
    • Updates to Internet Router firmware & configuration. (James)
    • Other logistical tasks.

Crew will be IN SIM starting the afternoon of Sol 1 (October 22).

Crew 194 Mission Plan

MDRS Crew 194

Wilderness Medical Society

Mission Plan

Nothing speaks to the essence of “wilderness” more than another planet. Mars represents the most remote and austere environment that humans have ever contemplated exploring. To simulate the demands of living and working on Mars, this group from the Wilderness Medical Society will serve as crew 194 at the Mars Desert Research Station. We will use MDRS as a base of operations for exploring Mars.

During this time, we hope to study medical issues unique to astronauts, space flight, and life on other planets. While our crew has considerable experience with delivering routine medical care and medical care in some of the most remote environments on this plan, we hope to gain an additional dimension of knowledge while considering the provision of medical care on Mars. In particular, we will study and simulate emergencies related to changes in normal human physiology due to microgravity, changes in ambient pressure, relevant toxicology, radiation, space motion sickness, and behavioral health and performance. We will also study ultrasound as an imaging modality in spaceflight.

A significant component of our learning will also be experiential. We have studied the work of prior crews from an engineering and research perspective, and hope to apply some of these lessons on EVAs. However, as our primary study is related to the care of injures crew members, our EVAs will frequently results in “unintended” consequences in which the crew will be forced to call on their medical and wilderness skills in order to survive.

Finally, we have also brought along technology to assist with our operations. We hope to use rapid process improvement software to help craft operational and design changes for our mission and the Hab.

We are thrilled about the opportunity to live and work at MDRS for a week, and would like to thanks both the Mars Society and the Wilderness Medical Society for this wonderful opportunity.

Mission Plan – April 22nd

Mars Desert Research Station Mission Plan 22 April 2018

Crew 193 – PHEnOM Gold Crew

Gold Crew:

Commander: Anima Patil-Sabale

Executive Officer: Doug Campbell

Engineer: David Attig

Geologist & Astronomer: Eric Shear

Health & Safety Officer/Geologist: Shawna Pandya

The Gold Crew is composed of a team of Project PHEnOM Citizen Scientist-Astronaut Candidates from the US and Canada. Along with a great passion for space exploration, every member in the crew has a varied skillset in addition to expertise in their specific field. Our Commander is a Software plus Aerospace Engineer, and has worked for NASA while our Health and Safety Officer is a Physician and a Martial Artist in addition to many other things. Our Executive Officer is a Mechanical and Biomedical Engineer, and works in the health care sector, our Engineer is a Mechanical Engineer, a private pilot and a drone pilot, our Astronomer and Geologist is a Physicist/Engineer who’s the first deaf astronaut plus an inventor who’s designed and built a cryogenic CO2 scrubber.

Our Mission Plan:

Research for Mars colonization is in full swing. Research crews have been arriving at Mars and living in the habitat at the Mars Desert Research Station setup at Acidalia Planitia.

The Gold Crew is #193. Originally made up of 6 crew members, the crew lost their first Executive Officer Omar Samra to international bureaucracy. He wasn’t able to acquire a Martian Visa and the crew had to be deprived of his expertise in extreme environment performance. He was kind enough to share his expertise by training the crew virtually to get them ready for the mission.

After their arrival at Mars, the crew plans to get started with research on Sol 1 itself.

They will perform the Marble Ritual site EVA that is mandatory for all new crews arriving at Mars, to practice and test what they have learned in their simulations.

Laid out here are the crew’s planned research objectives while at the MDRS:

1. Emergency EVAC EVA (possibly using a drone depending on the arrival of the shipment): Scout for locations to take shelter during an emergency like a dust storm or fire while inside the habitat or out on EVA.

2. Sunspot and Solar Flare Monitoring: One of the chief threats to a human Mars mission is the sun. Solar flares are giant proton storms that can sicken or kill human astronauts with particle radiation. In this research we will use the Musk Observatory to monitor the number of sunspots on the Sun’s surface, which is thought to correlate to solar flare activity.

3. Shortwave Texting on EVA’s: To open up opportunities for astronauts who may not be able to hear, we are testing a device that allows two users to send text messages over a ham radio link, without cell service. The devices are called Beartooths, and pair with the users’ phones with Bluetooth.

4. GPS Route Measurements: A crew member on EVA will take periodic GPS readings of his location over time as he moves across the landscape. A researcher on Earth will overlap the coordinates of each location onto a terrain map to assess the metabolic efficiency of each EVA.

5. Waterless dish cleaning: Water is also not abundantly available on many locations of mars which make it a valuable resource. Bringing water resources to mars is costly because of the weight and amount needed to sustain life. Therefore, reducing the amount of water used for day to day tasks will be of utmost importance to future colonisations. Using Martian sand and UV light to clean and sterilize tableware.

6. The MAG (Maximum Absorbency Garment) utilization study: Help answer questions like to what extent does the use of MAGs for extended EVA’s help the crew? Ways to mitigate discomfort? Or does it take getting adapted to?

7. Spacesuit Helmet Fogging: After EVA experiences, compile a list of issues faced and suggest possible solutions to improve ventilation and defogging methods.

Thank You!

The Gold Crew

MDRS #193

Mission Plan – February 19th

MDRS Crew 189: Team ISAE Supaero Mission Plan February 18, 2018

Table of contents

1) Introduction. 2

a. Mars Analog Research Stations
. 2

b. MDRS 189 Mission Origins
. 3

2) Crew 189. 4

a. Crew Bios
. 4

b. Mission preparation and organization. 10

3) Experiments. 10

a. Experimentations planned. 10

1) Introduction

a. Mars Analog Research Stations

Mars Analog Research Stations (text extracted from the Mars Society website)

In order to help develop key knowledge needed to prepare for human Mars exploration, and to inspire the public by making sensuous the vision of human exploration of Mars, the Mars Society has initiated the Mars Analog Research Station (MARS) project. Mars Analog Research Stations are laboratories for learning how to live and work on another planet. Each is a prototype of a habitat that will land humans on Mars and serve as their main base for months of exploration in the harsh Martian environment. Such a habitat represents a key element in current human Mars mission planning. Each Station’s centerpiece is a cylindrical habitat, "The Hab," an 8-meter diameter, two-deck structure mounted on landing struts. Peripheral external structures may be appended to the Hab as well.

Each station serves as a field base to teams of four to six crew members: geologists, astrobiologists, engineers, mechanics, physicians and others, who live for weeks to months at a time in relative isolation in a Mars analog environment. Mars analogs can be defined as locations on Earth where some environmental conditions, geologic features, biological attributes or combinations thereof may approximate in some specific way those thought to be encountered on Mars, either at present or earlier in that planet’s history. Studying such sites leads to new insights into the nature and evolution of Mars, the Earth, and life.

However, in addition to providing scientific insight into our neighboring world, such analog environments offer unprecedented opportunities to carry out Mars analog field research in a variety of key scientific and engineering disciplines that will help prepare humans for the exploration of that planet. Such research is vitally necessary. For example, it is one thing to walk around a factory test area in a new spacesuit prototype and show that a wearer can pick up a wrench – it is entirely another to subject that same suit to two months of real field work. Similarly, psychological studies of human factors issues, including isolation and habitat architecture are also only useful if the crew being studied is attempting to do real work.

b. MDRS 189 mission origins

Crew Member Country MDRS Role
Victoria Da-Poian France Commander
Louis Mangin France Commander
Jérémy Auclair France Greenhab officer
Benoit Floquet France CrewAstronomer
Laurent Bizien France Health & Safety Officer
Gabriel Payen France Crew engineer
Alexandre Martin France Crew journalist

Team ISAE Supaero has begun their fourth rotation at MDRS, comprised of three weeks of intense research, team building and simulation training on Mars. Our team is composed of seven highly motivated scientists, engineers from the French aerospace engineering school ISAE Supaero.

c. Crew objectives

• To productively function as an interdisciplinary team of aerospace engineering students

• To gain team and individual experience in a Mars analog simulation 

• To learn from the team’s collective background and experiences 

• To produce a scientifically publishable report, including experimental results 

• To promote awareness and passion for space exploration via education and outreach 

• To conduct engaging experiments that will be shared on the team website 

• To share with the public how research is conducted in an analog situation 

• To study crew group dynamics and teamwork of a Mars analog mission 

• To obtain scientific results for our sponsors (human factors researchers, CNRS researchers)

• To improve the EVA performances during our simulation

• To fix and clean materials in the station

2) Crew 189

a. Crew bios

Victoria Da-Poian will be the Commander of the MDRS-189 mission. She is one of the two veterans taking part in the new mission as she was member of the MDRS-175 crew as the biologist. She is an active member of ISAE Supaero space events as she organized the SpaceUp France in 2017 and took part in different space related associations (space pole and CubeSat club). She was also vice-president of the « Junior Enterprise » of ISAE-Supaero (Supaero Junior Council) and Ambassador of the social and cultural expansion of our school (OSE ISAE Supaero). After her 2017 mission, she completed an internship at the Astronaut Training Center in Cologne (ESA / EAC), and is currently doing an academic exchange in Moscow. In her free time, she enjoys practicing piano, violin and climbing.

Louis Mangin will be with Victoria the commander of the MDRS 189 mission. He was already part of the crew 175 as the journalist. He is currently working as a trainee in Lyon in a start-up that uses the latest AI technologies to minimize the electrical consumption of buildings. When he was living on the campus, he was a rower in the ISAE-Supaero rowing team, organizer of the Supaerowing student regatta, and a tutor with the social association OSE ISAE Supaero. In his free time, he is also a runner, a mountain-climber, a cinephile or a poker player.

Laurent Bizien will be the Health and Safety Officer of the MDRS-189 crew. Promotion 2019 of ISAE Supaero, he is the current treasurer of the school’s charitable association (Solid’aires). As a volunteer firefighter as a lifeguard on the beaches, he passed several first aid diplomas. He is a candidate for a semester at the Moscow State University and an internship at NASA. In his free time, he practices baseball, volleyball and skydiving.

Franco-American born in France, Jérémy Auclair will be the GreenHab Officer and the Biologist on board. Promotion 2019, he is an active member of the club, very invested for the smooth running of the next mission. Passionate about space and astrophysics from his young age, this mission is one more way to flourish in his formation. He plans to do an internship in North America in the field of aerospace. He is also an active member of the school’s associative life, and various clubs with varied backgrounds. During his free time, he enjoys practicing sports, rowing and volleyball, as well as getting lost in reading and taking pictures. He will also be the photographer of the mission.

Promotion 2019, Benoit Floquet will be the astronomer of the MDRS-189 mission and is the current treasurer of the club M.A.R.S. Passionate about the space domain for many years, he is also involved in our school’s associative life. He is responsible of the Solidarity pole of the Students Association and takes part into the entrepreneurship (ISAE Supaero Entrepreneurs) association in the communication pole. Also a sportsman, he has been practicing gymnastics for 15 years and skydiving. He applies for a Master in Innovation at the French famous school « Polytechnique ».

Promotion 2019, Gabriel Payen will be the on-board flight engineer of the MDRS-189 mission and is the current president of the M.A.R.S club. He is also member of the student association as event manager. He has been a sportsman for several years and has been focusing for one year on mountain sports, such as climbing, mountaineering and skiing. He began this year a three- years research formation in applied mathematics. He applies for his gap year for the UNIS University located in an Arctic Circle archipelago where he would study geophysics for six months.

Alexandre Martin, also promotion 2019 will be the journalist during the MDRS-189 mission. He is a member of the ISAE Student Association as chairman of the communication department. He shares his free time between the football club, of which he is the president and captain, tennis but also kite surfing club. He is fascinated by space, mathematics and economics. He is currently applying for a master’s degree in financial mathematics in the United Kingdom.

b. Mission preparation and organization

Our advantage is to have two crewmembers who took already part in the simulation last year. Louis and I, were the journalist and the biologist of the Crew 175. This year, we will lead the new team (crew 189). For one year, we are working on our mission, teaching and giving our best advice to the new crewmembers. Our knowledge and experiment are going to benefit the crew in order to best perform during our Martian mission.

3) Experiments

a. Experimentations planned

Physical experiment: Physical program for the crewmembers. Every morning, we will perform physical exercises in order to stay in shape during our 3-weeks simulation and to analyze our performances.

Nutrition energetic experiment: During our 3-weeks experiments, we will monitor our weight (fat percentage, water percentage, bone percentage, estimation of the calories consumption)

Teamwork experiment: The game tasks a player with disarming procedurally generated bombs with the assistance of other players who are reading a list of instructions. Two teams of three participants will play this game every day and the aim of the experiment is to study the teamwork dynamic, considering several factors: physical or psychological stress, boredom, division of labor…
The protocol was defined with Eve Fabre, a post-doctoral fellow studying in human factors at the ISAE-Supaero and Gabriel Payen will handle the experimental procedure during the mission. Almost every day, Gabriel will set up all the devices required to record electrocardiogram, eye-movement, facial expressions and conversation of the players during the game.
Throughout the three weeks, the crew will perform almost a hundred game trials. After the mission, all the recorded data will be analyzed by the researchers at the ISAE-Supaero in order to improve our knowledge on group problem solving during spatial missions.

Rover experiment: The goal of this experiment is to analyze the evolution of the learning curve when controlling a rover. Remotely controlled rovers are widely used in space missions for different purposes: explore the surface and the environment of the specific celestial body, take samples, carry objects to some place, among other things. Due to its importance on present and future space trips, it is essential to analyze how the crew improves their skills when remotely controlling rovers. The obtained results will be useful for the design of different rovers’ aspects (controllability, maneuverability, size, appendixes) on future space missions.

Emergency procedures experiment: As the environment can be hostile (non-sterilized area), the situation is often stressful (an important loss of blood for instance) and first aid equipment is, by definition, very restricted. It seems necessary to learn how to apply some basic care gestures before the arrival of more important rescue resources, or waiting for the repatriation of the injured person. That’s why during the mission Laurent would like to apply and to adapt some first aid techniques he learned during his three years working as a lifeguard (as volunteer fireman): Emergency release and transport of an injured person, Immobilization of the spine axis, Containment of an external hemorrhage, Processing of an unconscious person and spacesuit removal, Processing of a heart attack, Processing of bones and joints traumas.

Sociomapping experiment: During our simulation, the crew will be monitored and the team dynamics studied. Sociomaps allow visualization of continuous communication approaching and drifting apart between individual crew members. The crew evaluated its mutual frequency of current communication, desired frequency of optimal communication as well as development trends and quality of this communication on given scales. Results will be transformed to summarizing parameters which allowed to study communication and to detect significant changes which in turn are predictors of possible failures and misunderstandings. Psychometric assessment of Sociomapping as a diagnostic tool for analysis of communication dynamics leads to proposal to use it for continuous regulation analysis, short-time prediction and eventual intervention which protects from critical deterioration of communication and team atmosphere.

EVA Logger experiment: As during an EVA, time is precious you want to manage it as well as possible. But more importantly, you want to keep your arms and your eyes available at all time. No time for instance to take notes. You have to manage your time, but cannot write down and then keep track of events easily, while it would be convenient to have some, to be able to debrief the EVA, while being back on the hab. The EVA tracking system is here to try to answer these problems. It will use a sense that is partially available on the outside, except during communications: hearing. Using an easy to use mobile application, we will then keep track of EVA events.

EVA efficiency experiment: The idea is to assess, for each of our EVAs, this index in order to understand the importance of each task (preparation and debrief). This index is used in the document “Exploration Systems Mission Directorate – Lunar Architecture Update” – AIAA Space 2007 September 20, 2007, chapter “Extravehicular Activities (EVA) and Pressurized Rovers, Mike Gernhardt from NASA Johnson Space Centre analyses EVAs efficiency. The WEI is the ratio between EVA duration and the total duration of preparatory activities and activities post EVA. The EVA duration is defined as the time spent out of the spacecraft or in case of an EVA on a planetary ground as “boots-on-surface” which means that time in the airlock is not taken into account.

LOAC experiment: The LOAC instrument (Light Optical Aerosol Counter) is used to measure the air’s concentration in aerosols (fine particles in suspension, between 0,2 micrometers and 100 micrometers approximately). It gives the size distribution of these particles as well as an indication of the typology of the particles (carbon, mineral, salt, liquid). The goal of this experiment is to use this instrument in different conditions to get new measurements and analyze their meaning. There will be outdoor measurements, mainly to get information about the airborne dust (such measurements are not comment in the Utah desert), and indoor measurements to see how the air quality of a confined space changes according to the activity crew members do (cooking, changes during the night, particles brought when coming back from an EVA and taking off the suit, etc.).

Localization experiment: The aim is to provide a simple localization system. It could be considered as a rescue solution as it would be used when a member of the crew is lost.
It will consist in 4 transceivers. Each one of them will be either attached to a stratospheric balloon that will enable them to go 50-100m above the ground or to the member itself. For the first experiment, the aim will be to provide a solution to locate the user and guide him to the station in case he has no other way to find his way back. Transceivers will be placed previously and accurately around the station. For the second experiment, the user will put transceivers all along his path from the MDRS to the farthest point of his trip. The aim will be for him to get back on his track.
For the third experiment, all the users will be equipped with transceivers. The aim is to locate and rescue your team mate.

MegaARES experiment: MegaARES (Mega Atmospheric Relaxation and Electric field Sensor) is an instrument developed by Grégoire Déprez and his team of researchers at LATMOS (Laboratoire atmosphères, milieux et observations spatiales), France.
Several versions of ARES have been developed before, among them MicroARES, the most developed one. It was Scientists of the LATMOS team have to wait for the next Martian mission and want to use this time to improve MicroARES performances. As MicroARES couldn’t work on Mars as it was supposed to, analog missions are the best opportunities to work on the device. Through MegaARES, specially developed for Earth measures, data recording and analyzing, hardware etc., can be tested during a relatively long duration in MDRS station.

Solar panels experiment: The performances of solar panels are very sensitive to the obstruction of the photovoltaic cells. Every object casting a shadow on them can block incoming radiation and lead therefore, to a lower electricity output. So comes the issue of dust. After the solar panel’s deployment, dust accumulates on the solar panel and reduces its effective surface, and therefore, its performances. Usually, solar panels are covered with a thin layer of hydrophobic coating so that the rain can evacuate dust. Nonetheless, areas exist, like deserts or extraplanetary lands, where rain is too infrequent (or inexistent) to rely on. So, how can we protect solar panels from dust in that case? Two alternatives have been developed, relying on the same principle: an automatic system moving along the solar panel to clean it. The first alternative consists in a blowing air system, and the second, in a rotating microfiber brush system. I will experiment the second one. During our mission, I will measure the performances of both a solar panel protected from dust and a solar panel exposed to dust (in a natural way or artificially, in order to simulate the Martian low gravity) and compare them to really emphasize the influence of Martian dust. Then, I will equip the solar panel with the rotating microfiber brush system I built and I will measure its performances again to highlight the benefits of such a device.

Time analysis experiment: This experiment will aim at studying the day to day activities of the crew (experiment has been done in MDRS 7 and MDRS 43 on some crewmembers). My goal is to analyze the activities, their duration and our planning in order to see the evolution of the crew during our simulation and our efficiency depending on our activities.

Each day I will note the time spent on different types of activities for analysis. I selected, with the help of Mr. Alain Souchier 7 activities:

– sleeping,

– personal,

– social, team, community, (meals, free time spent together…)

– maintenance,

– inside operations (EVA or experimentation preparation, daily briefings, psychological tests, inside experiments)

– external operations (EVA)

– reporting.

Task performance experiment: The goal is to evaluate the increase in the time in order to do a given task in EVA compared to what it requires outside EVA. In order to perform this experiment, I have contacted the RoverCal association. The task I will evaluate will be the start of the rover and the driving.

The main steps I will focus on are:

– The quick start procedure:

o Installing the batteries

o Installing the Wi-Fi router

o Start up the rover CPU

o Start up the ground station and connect with the rover

o Turn on the rover’s servo power

– Controlling the rover with the joystick

o Driving the rover (rotation, translation…)

– Power down operations

4) Conclusion

In conclusion, we have many experiments related to the human factors and the EVAs efficiency. We will analyze the impact of the isolation and the confinement on our efficiency. What brings this team together is our common dream of space exploration. After spending 2 years in our aerospace engineering school in France, our crew understands the importance of defining roles within a team and will learn to cope with high-stress situations in small living spaces. Completing a mission together at MDRS will challenge us to improve our professional communication while expanding our friendships and our shared passion for exploration.

Ad Astra !

Victoria Da-Poian

Crew 189 Commander (and already proud of our crew)

Crew 186 Mission Plan

Crew 186 Mission Plan, 12/01/2017



Commander: Max Fagin (USA)

Executive Officer: Kshitij Mall (India)

Crew Engineer: Melanie Grande (USA)

Crew Geologist: Cesare Guariniello (Italy)

Journalist: Justin Mansell (Canada)

GreenHab Officer: Mark Gee (USA)

Health and Safety Officer: Samuel Albert (USA)

Boilers2Mars is a crew composed of all students an alumni from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. With backgrounds in aerospace engineering, life sciences, planetary science and agricultural engineering, several research projects are scheduled, the contents and goals of which are as follows. Further information on each research project can be found in the Preliminary Research Information forms.

Topic: Spectroscopic / Thermal Analysis to Identify Physical Properties of Materials for Advanced ISRU and in-situ testing of tools for collection

Discipline: Geology

Researcher: Cesare Guariniello

Research Question: Can the use of remote sensing performed by astronauts in various locations to support advanced In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)? Can these properties be used to determine the best collection tools (rock hammer, trowel, spoons) to be used for each type of material? This project has the goal of identifying the richest source areas, and give information about the best techniques to collect and process the material.

Experimental Procedure: The Geology research project for crew 186 will test the use of remote sensing to support In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). The research has the goal to demonstrate the use of remote sensing not only for mineralogy, but to infer some of the physical properties of the materials, and to guide the process of selection of appropriate excavation tools and techniques. The crew will perform the following steps:

  • Use a VNIR portable spectrometer to study the mineralogy and identify useful materials for ISRU. The spectrometer has a range of 350-2500 um, resolution 1 um, and has been provided by courtesy of Dr. Briony Horgan’s remote sensing laboratory at Purdue’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
  • Visit locations with abundance of ISRU materials which are found on Mars: clays (illite, chlorite, kaolinite), salts (gypsum, sulfates), hematite
  • Collect measurements of air and rock temperature and rock albedo and use them to infer thermal inertia (this can be done as post-processing. The reason to use such a complex process is because a thermal camera did not arrive in time). Thermal inertia can be used to give a first-order estimate of the particle size and cohesiveness of the material
  • Some of the locations will be visited twice, to test the efficacy of simple collection tools, i.e. a rock hammer, a trowel, and a spoon, and confirm the results given by remote sensing analysis about the abundance and physical properties of the material

Topic: Implementing ISS Microbial Monitoring Protocol at MDRS Using qPCR Technology

Discipline: Life Sciences

Researcher: Sam Albert

Research Question: Will the bacterial environment on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS)

significantly differ from the results obtained on the International Space Station (ISS)? How has the quasi-isolated environment of the MDRS affected microbial growth?

Experimental Procedure: Each Sol, samples will be collected from a variety of locations within the MDRS Hab. The experiment will focus on surface samples, but samples will also be collected from potable water and plants growing in the GreenHab when possible. Every sample will be analyzed for the presence of a variety of pathogens and other bacteria, and the data recorded for post-mission analysis. The data will be compared directly to data from ISS and Mir studies whenever possible, as well as to a control study performed at Purdue in unconfined public spaces (such as the aerospace computer lab, which likely has its own special pathogens). As much as possible, the protocol currently

in use on the ISS for real-time microbial detection will be imitated in order to align results. In particular, see the study by Ichijo et. al cited below.

Topic: EVA Navigation in Low Visibility Conditions Using Radio Direction Finding

Discipline: Human Factors

Researcher: Justin Mansel

Research Question: Is radio direction finding an effective means of low visibility navigation during EVAs on Mars? What are the challenges of this type of navigation and what improvements may make it better suited to a Mars mission?

Experiment Procedure: During each EVA, the crew will obscure the upper half of their visibility to limit their field of view to only their immediate area. One person on each EVA will have an unobstructed field of view and ensure the safety of their crewmates (e.g. preventing them from wandering off a cliff). The experiment subject rides in a rover with their eyes closed. After being transported 2-3 km away from the habitat in a direction they have not been told, the crew member then uses the yagi antenna to establish a bearing on a radio beacon in the hab and being to walk back. Their GPS track will be monitored, but they will not have access to it during the experiment. Over the course of 3-5 EVAs of increasing complexity will be performed to assess the effectiveness of the navigation technique.

Topic: Conditioning of a Martian Crew Using Yoga and Meditation

Discipline: Human Factors

Researcher: Kshitij Mall

Research Question: Yoga comprises of many postures or “asanas” that have positive effects on cardiovascular, digestive, neurological systems and so on. Yoga includes breathing exercises, small body exercises and asanas that improve physiology of the crew. Meditation, on the other hand, builds focus and helps reduce stress. The idea is to use Yoga asanas and meditation during the proposed crewed mission and study their impact on the crew’s stress levels. The crew stress would be measured through subjective questionnaire at the start of the mission and at the end of the mission.

Experiment Procedure: The procedure is as follows.

  1. The crew submits two subjective surveys on Perspective Stress Analysis and Self Analysis Survey based on previous month’s experiences related to stress.
  2. The crew then performs Yoga and meditation for 30 minutes each SOL.
  3. The crew fills out the Perspective Stress Analysis and Self Analysis surveys again.
  4. The overall impact of Yoga and meditation of a Martian Crew for a 15-day analog mission is then evaluated.

Topic: Growth of Microgreens in Conditions of Simulated Martian Habitat

Discipline: Agriculture

Researcher: Mark Gee

Research Question: How well do radish microgreens grow in different growth substrates? How well will microgreens grow when removed from the context of their native microbiome? If the microgreens are colonized by microbes from the astronauts, will there be an additional effect on plant growth?

Experimental Procedure: Radish microgreens will be grown in five treatments: Potting soil, arcilite, no soil, no soil with soil bacteria innocculum, no soil with astronaut innocculum.

Topic: Application of VR for On-Site Crew Training and its Implications for Crew Autonomy

Discipline: Human Factors

Researcher: Melanie Grande

Research Question: My research will provide VR training opportunities during the MDRS mission simulation to compare to in-person pre-mission training. It will analyze the efficiency of the crew in performing the operations, including those for maintenance, repair, or emergency procedures. The research will especially explore the impact of VR training opportunities for autonomous schedules compared with detailed daily astronaut schedules.

Experiment Procedure: Two training modules have been developed for Crew 186, including an EVA module, “EVA-01, Geology in the Field”, and a maintenance module, “MNT-01, ATV Maintenance: Brakes System”. The EVA-01 module developed is named “Geology in the Field,” and its purpose is to teach the crew some geology basics and how to use and care for a portable mass spectrometer. The MNT-01 module developed is named “ATV Maintenance: Brakes,” and its purpose is to familiarize the crew with the brake system and standard maintenance checks for the brake system.

Prior to the mission, three participants (half the members of the crew) were selected for pre-mission training. These participants were scheduled to receive a PowerPoint version of the training modules during a designated time together, and each was allowed to ask questions, converse, and take notes based on personal preference. The other half of the crew, a further three participants, will receive in-the-field VR training immediately prior to completing a task. This crew will be allowed to choose a time at their discretion (though on a designated day), but they will do the training individually without the ability to discuss with the investigator (myself) or other participants. Each participant will be scheduled for a maintenance EVA and a geology EVA, in order to complete the tasks described by each module. During their participation in sim, their performance, familiarity, comfort, etc. will be analyzed. Surveys will be used for further data, self-reported, following the tasks’ completion. This data will hopefully answer the questions regarding the efficacy of VR training in the field and the potential of crew autonomy.