Science Report – January 29th

 

 

Crew 274 – ARG-1M

Crew Commander: Sarah E. Guthrie (USA)

Crew Engineer: Alexis J. Lojek (USA)

Crew Astronomer: Salina Pena (USA)

Health and Safety Officer: Nicholas Pender (USA)

Crew Journalist: Anthony DiBernardo (USA)

Green Hab Officer: Tyler Hines (USA)

Heliophysics: Noah Loy (USA)

Habitat Structure Specialist: Bill O’Hara

MDRS Crew 274 is a pioneering academic analog research group from the American Public University System (APUS) under the designation ARG-1M. The APUS Analog Research Group (AARG) leads space study undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students in multidisciplinary scientific research investigations analogous to the space environment. This crew aims to examine extra-vehicular (EVA) activity logistics, EVA contingency protocols and methodologies via rescue devices, mindfulness and focused breathing, solar and variable star studies, and terrestrial spaceflight habitat efficiency.

Science Report – January 29th

 

 

Sarah E. Guthrie: Commander (Baltimore, MD, USA)

Sarah E. Guthrie is a Space Studies (astronomy) graduate student in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with American Military University. She is a three-time analog astronaut and the first female commander for the APUS Analog Research Group. In addition to her academic studies, she is also a 20-year active-duty veteran in the United States Air Force. Her unique deployment experience with multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan provided her an opportunity to bring combat rescue techniques to needed lunar surface operations. Additionally, she is a co-investigator on various projects that focus on adaptive mobility load distribution systems for extra-vehicular activities, astronaut resource impact, and behavioral health studies for long-term space flight. She is also a research advisor for Space4All on analog research projects at terrestrial habitats. Her call sign is Ceres.

Alexis “Lex” Lojek: Crew Engineer (Oahu, HI, USA)

Lex is a second-year Master’s thesis student within the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at American Military University. His research is in the realm of Spaceflight Human Factors and is focused on measurement of stress using physiological factors, specifically heartrate variability, through the use of a Garmin VivoSmart 4 device, and a potential mitigation for stress – focused breathing. He graduated with a degree in Applied Science and Technology from Thomas Edison State University in 2020. He is Active Duty in the United States Navy and has been for over 17 years. During his time as a US Navy Sailor, he has deployed four times; three as an Aviation Electronics Technician for the F/A-18F Super Hornet onboard three aircraft carriers, and once to Djibouti City, Djibouti as a Cryptologic Technician. He has hopes to pursue a commission into the US Space Force as a Space Operations officer after completion of his graduate school degree in June. His crew call sign is Kepler.

Nicholas Pender: Health and Safety Officer (Brownsville, TX, USA)

Nicholas Pender is a second-year master’s thesis student in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at American Military University. He also has a Bachelors of Science in Supply Chain, Logistics, and Transportation Management at Bellevue University. His research is focused on the application of supply caches to extend extravehicular activities (EVAs) on Mars and leveraging supply cache technology as a basis for future EVA policy. Nicholas is a Logistics Planner in the U.S. Air Force and an Education with Industry Fellow at Space Exploration Technologies, Corp (SpaceX). His call sign is X-Man.

Noah Loy: Heliophysics (Denver, CO, USA)

Noah Loy is a Space Studies and Civil Engineering undergrad at the American Military University and the University of Colorado, respectively. Noah is researching heliophysics phenomena to analyze space weather and its implications for orbital assets. Noah is a space engineer and intelligence analyst for the United States Space Force, where he is also collaborating with multiple DoD Space Test Programs researching space vehicle development and orbital Starlink internet reliability. His crew call sign is Phoenix.

Tony DiBernardo: Media & Communications (Mission Viejo, CA, USA)

Tony DiBernardo is a Space Studies grad student at the American Public University. Currently, he focuses his education and outreach to educating the general public about space on platforms like Youtube, Instagram, and Podcast form. In this mission, Tony will take high fidelity footage of the Mars analog environment for use in experiment spotlights, documentary, daily vlogs, and educational resources for social media. His crew call sign is Ironman.

Salina Peña: Crew Astronomer (Pier Pont, South Dakota, USA)

Salina Peña is a master’s student at American Public University. Her interest is in the field of astronomy. She is currently working on her thesis in the area of Variable Stars. As a student, she participates in the APUS Supernovae group as a team lead and processing images. Salina holds another master’s degree focusing on education with a certification in STEM. Currently, she is a middle school science educator. After completing the Space Studies Master’s program at APUS, she will continue her education, looking for a Ph.D. program at a university in astronomy or astrophysics. Her crew call sign is Nova.

Tyler Hines: GreenHab Officer (Parkersburg, West Virginia, USA)

Tyler Hines is an undergraduate student at American Public University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Space Studies concentrating in Aerospace Science and a minor in Business Administration. As an active extracurricular student, he currently serves both as the university’s Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) President and Chief of Staff for the Analog Astronaut Research Group (AARG). In his spare time, he volunteers as a docent for the American Space Museum in Florida and as a member of NASA’s Solar System Ambassador Program, where he conducts outreach presentations to the general public on the story of the nation’s space program. During the mission, his research focus will be to conduct germination studies on long-duration space-exposed seeds in simulated Martian regolith samples. His
crew call sign is “Houston”.

William O’Hara: Habitat Structure Specialist (Loveland, CO, USA)

Bill worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas for 20 years. During that time he held a variety of positions including astronaut instructor, MCC flight controller for NASA’s International Space Station program, Orion Life Support System Lead, and advanced life support systems development project engineer. He relocated to Denver Colorado in 2018 to develop orbital and lunar habitats and landers for Sierra Space. Currently, Bill is the Lunar Habitat Formulation lead for Blue Origin’s Advanced Development Group. He specializes in the design and development of deep space and planetary surface habitats as well as robotic landing spacecraft. Bill is a part-time instructor for the American Public University System’s Space Sciences department and supports the APU Analog Research Group as a faculty advisor. Bill is also a part-time PhD student at the University of North Dakota where he is researching the development of a habitat architecture that could enable humans to live on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. A veteran of NASA’s human test subject program, he flew on nine flights aboard the KC135 Vomit Comet. He has been a crewmember on three analog missions. In 2014 he was a member of the third crew to live in NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) habitat. In 2018 he was a member of an expedition to the Haughton Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS) located on Devon Island in the high Canadian Arctic. In 2021 he served as a crewmember to the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) as well as the University of North Dakota’s Inflatable Lunar-Mars Analog Habitat (ILMAH). His crew call sign is Titan.

Research Report – November 19th

Mid Mission Research Report
Crew 268 – All Woman Crew, Mars Society
November 13-26, 2022
Crew Commander: Jenni Hesterman (United States)
Executive Officer/Crew Scientist: Jas Purewal (United Kingdom)
Health and Safety Officer: Elizabeth Balga (United States)
Crew Biologist & Crew Greenhab Officer : Caitlyn Hubric (United States)
Crew Engineer: Judith Marcos (United States)
Crew Journalist: Izabela Shopova (Bulgaria)
Below is a detailed summary of the progress we have made during the mission.

Jenni Hesterman
Conducted crew education regarding strategies to enhance knowledge of self and maximize success working in diverse groups in a remote, austere environment. Training topics covered in the first half of the mission included how to take and use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the VARK Learning Preference Tool, and growing leadership, followership and mentoring skills. Supported the Intertribal Space Conference on Wednesday with a crew video. Assisted in the greenhab.

Jas Purewal
Emotion study is progressing well, no conclusions yet. Crew is submitting their surveys each day. QI of PARO is also progressing well. Have completed 2 scenarios for VR first aid training, one more scenario left.

Caitlyn Hubric
Sample Collection Update:
I have successfully collected multiple samples during the mission. I have collected 9 small amounts of visually different lichens. I also took many photos and videos of the lichen prior to sampling them. I have been using the book “Field Guide to the Lichens of White Rocks” that I found in the science dome to try and identify the species I have found. I plan to put my samples on slides and use the microscope to analyze them further. Lichens are of interest to me because they are able to survive in rocky regolith-like conditions.
I have collected 6 small samples from different plants I have found growing in regolith-like conditions. I collected branches, leaves, and when possible, flowers. I have also collected 4 samples of regolith from around the roots of different plants. I am going to inspect these samples and attempt to find and isolate microbial life, if any, that I find. I hope to find a microorganism that helps promote plant growth and/or water stress tolerance in these desert conditions. I also plan to test the pH and NPK values of the regolith samples.
I have collected 6 different samples of regolith from multiple different locations. I plan to test the pH and NPK values of these samples and compare them to regular dirt and the simulated martian regolith I work with from the exolith lab (MGS-1 Regolith Simulant).
Decomposition research update:
I have successfully set up 3 different compositions of substrate for my decomposition study. In method 1, I have combined wood pellets, brown rice, dead edible plants (that I brought with me), and grain spawn. For method 2, I combined wood pellets, dead edible plants, the roots and dirt surrounding the roots of the dead plants, and grain spawn. For method 3, I collected organic waste generated by the crew for the first 5 days of the mission and liquid spawn. The organic waste included coffee grinds, leftover bread/breadcrumbs, cardboard, and other inedible food waste.
I hope to not only generate food for my crew but to also recycle organic material that would otherwise just be thrown away. So far, I have healthy and speedy growth in my methods 1 and 2. These were inoculated a few days before method 3 as I had to let waste accumulate. I have high hopes that by the end of next week I will have mushrooms for us to share.

Judith Marcos
I have collected a variety of rock samples from Hab Ridge and the Intersection of Cow Dung Rd and Brahe Hwy. The samples will be cataloged by its variety in shape, texture and mass for a carry capacity test. My team’s prototype will be tested in the field next week regarding its usefulness with a limited amount of mobility and design defects.

Izabela Shopova
I have been making yogurt every night since Sol 3 and serving it to the crew, using the powdered milk I brought and kitchen utensils already available at MDRS, which demonstrates the feasibility of making the homemade yogurt part of the analog astronauts’ diet. The broccoli and radishes sprouts are developing quickly and will be ready for harvest next week. The crew is filling in their questionnaires, evaluating the quality of the yogurt on a regular basis.
I am gathering a wealth of knowledge and information about life at MDRS which will be invaluable for the development of my pre-mission and mission induction training for analog astronauts.
Yesterday I also completed my video response to the questions from school children from the Bulgarian Space Academy. They were all about Mars, space exploration, mars colonization and the life of the analog astronauts.

Research Report – November 5th

WoMars Mission Plan at MDRS

Nerio I is WoMars very first space analog mission under Mars-like conditions at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), Utah, USA. Being one of the very few all-female MDRS crews, WoMars believes this is a great opportunity to study the scientific, social, and medical performances of our team. In addition, each of us is conducting innovative scientific research related to our field of expertise and our role as crew members at the MDRS.

There are four main research projects that WoMars is carrying out at the MDRS:

A New Deep Space Communication Tool For Astronauts

WoMars made the decision that their analog mission will adopt a ‘high fidelity to Martian conditions’ approach during their MDRS mission. This means that, except for any emergency situations, all communication between the habitat and “Earth” will be subject to a 5 minute one way time delay. In particular the crew is comparing the effectiveness of two communication tools that are designed for use in high latency situations. One of these tools, Latency Governed Messaging (LGM), is similar to the tool that has been adopted in previous similar research experiments in other analogs that have operated under time delay. The other, Space Braiding, is a novel tool also designed specifically for high latency environments. Both these tools have been designed and developed by Braided Communications Ltd.

Before coming to the MDRS, each crew member had to choose two friends or family members with whom they would like to communicate during the mission and thus, test LGM and Braided communication tools.

During the first week at MDRS, all the crew members had a one-hour LGM session with one of their relatives and a one-hour Braided session with the other relative. Next week, all the crew members will have another one-hour LGM session and another one-hour Braided session with their respective friend or family member. So that, at the end of the Nerio I mission, all crew members would have communicated with two loved ones using both software tools.

The main objective of this research project is to compare both software tools and provide feedback to Braided Communications Ltd. once the Nerio I mission has finished. This feedback will be crucial for Braided to help develop the Braided communication tool for future space missions.

Visual odometry to determine the position of a robot in other planets

In areas like Mars, where there is no GPS system, or any satellite network developed yet, it is difficult to know specific coordinates or to drive a drone or robot to a specific location. Lazarus is a hardware that enables autonomous drone flights or robot trips in environments with no satellite network. The hardware has been developed by Dronomy, a spin-off company based in Madrid, Spain, and founded by Adrian Carrio.

Before coming to the MDRS, Lazarus was installed in a robot. During the first week, the robot has been tested in four different areas – starting from the Hab’s tunnels and continuing in Zubrin’s Head, Kissing Camel and the MDRS Ridge. The crew has recorded several experiments where Lazarus completed a distance of 10 m following a straight line. Then, Lazarus completed a closed square-shaped circuit of 10 m x 10 m.

The results will help Dronomy prove Lazarus’ visual odometry in a Mars landscape. The data will also help understand the drift that the robot may have. This will help develop Lazarus’ for future space missions.

Gender and Crew Domination in MDRS isolation research

The psychological impact that astronauts undergo during space missions is a great concern for researchers. The fact that WoMars is an all-female crew, opens a very interesting line of investigation, as it rules out the gender influence and crew domination in mixed groups. This gives the perfect scenario to understand how women interact and collaborate without the presence of men.

WoMars is working in collaboration with Dr. Inga Popovaite, sociology researcher at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. During the first week, all crew members have been writing a diary every night before going to sleep where they explained the most positive and negative experiences during the day. Writing down in these stressful situations is helping the crew to focus, calm down and maintain a healthier environment.

After the Nerio I mission, the diaries will be analyzed and the crew will be interviewed by Dr. Popovaite. The results of this research will help understand the management of emotions in small groups under an isolated confined environment.

Applications and Benefits of Augmented Reality (AR) for Training and Maintenance of a Human Settlement on Mars

The aim of this project is to identify areas where AR could be beneficial, including routinary tasks, maintenance and repair activities. For that, WoMars will record every task performed during the Nerio I mission, and will classify the tasks according to their repetitiveness and degree of difficulty. Then, WoMars will assess the possible benefits of AR as reduction in time or difficulty.

During the first week, the crew did a literature review of previous work on AR applications in space settlements as background for the study. Moreover, the crew started listing possible applications identified in their daily activities and classifying them.

Next week, the crew will continue identifying potential tasks that could be assisted with AR and the possible benefits.

After the Nerio I mission, WoMars plans to design the structure of an AR tool that could address some of the identified applications at MDRS. Ultimately, WoMars plans to develop a prototype to test its benefits in future missions.

Crew 245 Research Report April 22nd

Crew 245 Mid-mission Research Report

– 3D Printed objects utility

Research objectives: The experiment aims to test various 3D-printed objects for EVAs (surface sampling activities, drone’s spare) and medical activities. Each 3D-printed material will be tested immediately after printing, then use during nominal operations. The raw material used for the experiment are from polymers which offer similar mechanical properties as metals. After each use, fill a questionnaire and pictures of the object to analyse the degradation of the object with the use.

Achieved so far: Successfully tested the several geology tools for sample collections and storage. Crew 3D printed some of them before the mission but also during the missions.

– 3D Scan

Research objectives: The experiment aims to perform a detailed scan of the Habitat (internal and external) and generate a detailed 3D map of it. Potentially, other geological features might be scanned and mapped.

Achieved so far: Crew performed a scan of the internal part of the habitat, of the RAM and Science dome together with four geological formations during EVAs. The crew has downloaded the data and advanced in the post-processing of the data with a dedicated software and a python script adapted by the crew.

– Air Purification for Life Support systems

Research objectives:
The experiment focuses on three main parts or “sub-experiments”:
• Experiment 1: monitoring the quality of the air by measuring the degree of contamination (or particulate matter PM) carried by the crew members.
• Experiment 2: Bacteriological detector for the evaluation of the bacterial concentration.
• Experiment 3: Bacterial cultivation in a controlled environment.

Achieved so far: the air purifier has been installed in the crew quarters of the habitat and it was activated right after. In addition to the daily filtering routine, the crew performs every other day manual measurements with a separate device to compare the two measurements. The crew has also performed the last part of the experiment (#3) in a controlled environment

– Biomonitors for continuous care

Research objectives:
The purpose of the experiment is to continuously monitor the health of the crew members through a biomonitor device that includes integrated sensors designed to measure the body activity, heart rate, and body temperature and pressure of the crew members.
The members wear the biomonitor sensors undersuite and as a head band.
The data collected from the body monitoring are processed through a dedicated available software, and then transmitted to the principal investigators to be analyzed.

Achieved so far: Crew wore the sensors (on a T-shirt and headband) for the whole mission with the Crew HSO checking the correct functioning and recording of the data and values from time to time. The downlinked data will be processed post mission.

– BGM Mark 1 suits

Research objectives: Tests of a flightsuit simulator designed by Radici and shoes provided by calzaturificio King. These parts are worn and tested with sensors to measure quantities relevant for spacesuit simulator R&D. In particular, crew members wear an Emotibit sensor on their arm, and a custom made accelerometer on the right foot. A helmet with integrated air filtering and ventilation system is tested.
This experiment is part of a larger program for the development of a space suit simulator for analogue missions.

Achieved so far: crew members have been wearing the experimental flight suits and boots during EVAs. The helmet has been also successfully tested. Crew continues to wear the sensors (arm and shoes) during EVAs and the Crew Executive Officer (XO) downloads the data at the end of each EVA session. The crew will continue to wear them for the rest of the mission and data will be processed post mission. Feedback on the use of suit, boots and helmet are being collected by the XO.

– Evaluation of drone operations and questionnaires

Research objectives:
Mapping (1)* of terrain and inspection (3) of the station and its elements (e.g. solar arrays) during Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs), also simulating possible search and rescue (2) events.
Acquisition of the martian base camp outside environment monitoring sandstorms through a warning weathercast system (4).
For the scenarios, a commercial drone is used for photogrammetry and surface analysis and exploration. The images produced are used in support of other experiments.
Note: () Numbers indicate priority

Achieved so far: Crew performed a test for the mapping function and a first full mapping session on Sol7. The generated map was used for the navigation test required for the Spit test experiment.

– Micrometeorites from the Solar System

Research objetives: The main purpose of the experiment is find the extra-terrestrial materials on the earth’s surface through the search of micrometeorites in the analog field.
The crew will collect minimum 10 and maximum 30 geological samples in different locations in the area of the Mars Research Desert Station that will be then analysed inside the station to search for micrometeorites.
All the samples will be stored and delivered to the PI after the mission.
Similar investigation and sample collection will be carried out in other analog environments (e.g. AMADEE20 performed by the Austrian Space Forum) and these different analog areas will be compared by extra-terrestrial traces. The final goal is to establish an analog mission micrometeorite archive.

Achieved so far: Crew collected a total of twelve samples out of the ten minimum required. The collected samples have been analysed by the crew scientist that has found several particles that were attracted by the magnetic field generated by the portable magnet. Those particles have been separated from the main samples and they will be further analysed by the principal investigator.

– Portable DNA analyser in search for Extraterrestrial life

Research objetives: This experiment aims to optimize research methods based on the restrictions of human-robotic exploration mission. Here, we focus on the easy-to-do methods including classical microbiology and NGS (next generation sequencing) techniques to identify extremophile bacteria, archaea, tardigrades, and slimemold. During this mission we aim to analyse sand samples on traces of microbial DNA. The experiment contains the following steps (1) sample collection; (2) DNA extraction; (3) sequencing, (4) analyses and interpretation (post-mission)

Achieved so far: Crew collected the maximum required number of samples (ten) and they were processed by the crew Scientist that has extracted the DNA by following the procedure prepared by the principal investigator. Unfortunately, due to an anomaly with one of the components of the portable sequencer, the crew was not able to sequence the DNA on-site, but the library of extracted DNA samples has been shipped to the principal investigator that will perform the troubleshooting and complete the DNA analysis.

– Satellite communication and data exchange

Research objetives: The purpose of the experiment is measuring the communications level between the GCS and the on-orbit satellite (D-orbit) through the amateur radio frequency. The software tool required by the experiment is also provided by D-Orbit.

Achieved so far: The crew installed the antenna and the ground station, it also attempted to connect a few times with the satellite during its pass above the station but without success. Troubleshooting activities have been attempted, but without much luck.

– Spit cortisol test

Research objectives: Measuring the cortisol level affecting the crew members. This test plays an important role in understanding (but also preventing) potential health risks, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, muscle weakness etc. The test could be done through blood samples combined with cyclomatic tests for the crew.

Achieved so far: The collection of the samples for the cortisol tests have been performed on the two targeted subjects after the successful execution of the navigation tests using a standard and a drone generated maps.

– EEG set during meditation

Research objectives: The purpose of this experiment consists of theoretical and practical study of the use of portable EEG headsets for neurofeedback experiments in isolated, confined and extreme environments. The aim of the research is to inquire about new non-intrusive methodology to countermeasure stress in isolation to enhance human performances in future long length space missions.

Achieved so far: due to technical issues with the EEG sent and a mishap in communication with another partner, the experiment was canceled.

Science Report – April 17th

Crew 245 Mid-mission Research Report

– 3D Printed objects utility

Research objectives: The experiment aims to test various 3D-printed objects for EVAs (surface sampling activities, drone’s spare) and medical activities. Each 3D-printed material will be tested immediately after printing, then use during nominal operations. The raw material used for the experiment is polymers which offer similar mechanical properties as metals. After each use, fill out a questionnaire and pictures of the object to analyse the degradation of the object with the use.

Achieved so far: Successfully tested several geology tools for sample collections and storage. Crew 3D printed some of them before the mission but also during the missions.

– 3D Scan

Research objectives: The experiments aim to perform a detailed scan of the Habitat (internal and external) and generate a detailed 3D map of it. Potentially, other geological features might be scanned and mapped.

Achieved so far: The crew performed a scan of the internal part of the habitat and of a geological feature, but there are some issues in the post-processing of the data with the dedicated SW. The crew will get in touch by email with the HW provider to try to solve it

– Air Purification for Life Support systems

Research objectives:
The experiment focuses on three main parts or “sub-experiments”:
• Experiment 1: monitoring the quality of the air by measuring the degree of contamination (or particulate matter PM) carried by the crew members.
• Experiment 2: Bacteriological detector for the evaluation of the bacterial concentration.
• Experiment 3: Bacterial cultivation in a controlled environment.

Achieved so far: the air purifier has been installed in the crew quarters of the habitat and it was activated right after. In addition to the daily filtering routine, the crew performs every other day manual measurements with a separate device to compare the two measurements.

– Astrobiome

Research objectives: The purpose of this experiment is to test in the specific conditions of a mission at MDRS an elite level market microbiome health supplement developed by Mars City Design and Innovation Labo. According to the manufacturers, “ AlphaBiota P is a complex Super Probiotic.It contains Lactobacillus, a lactic acid bacteria complex formulation, with efficacy measured by clinical test; After 7 days, AlphaBiota results in some bodyweight loss of 2 lbs, liver health support by ALT reduction up to 25%, support heart, kidney, brain, blood cell by AST reduction up to 42%, increase bone and joint strength by ALP reduction up to 10%, reduce risk of diabetes by HOMA elimination up to 18%.

Achieved so far: Crew continues to take the daily supplement and it will soon start to record any changes in the bowel movements

– Biomonitors for continuous care

Research objectives:

The purpose of the experiment is to continuously monitor the health of the crew members through a biomonitor device that includes integrated sensors designed to measure the body activity, heart rate, and body temperature and pressure of the crew members.

The members will wear the biomonitor sensors under the suits.

The data collected from the body monitoring are processed through dedicated available software, and then transmitted to the university to be analyzed

Achieved so far: Crew continues to wear the sensors (on a T-shirt and headband) and the Crew HSO will check the correct transmission of the data and value from time to time. The crew will continue to wear them for the rest of the mission and data will be processed post-mission.

– BGM Mark 1 suits

Research objectives: Tests of the upper and lower part of a spacesuit simulator designed by Radici and shoes designed by Vibram and E-Novia group. These parts include sensors to measure quantities relevant for spacesuit simulator R&D. The lower part is interfacing with the provisory upper part and with the MDRS helmet and PLSS.

Through questionnaires, the comfort of planetary exploration will be assessed while a key success point is also the collection and transfer of data from the sensors. These sensors are TBD
This experiment is part of a larger program for the development of a spacesuit simulator for analogue missions. In the frame of the Mark 1 experiment, only the Lower Body Assembly (LBA) will be tested, leaving a provisory shirt to interface with the spacesuit simulator of the MDRS (composed of a backpack and helmet).

Achieved so far: Crew continues to wear the sensors (arm and shoes) during EVAs and the Crew Executive Officer downloads the data at the end of each EVA session. The crew will continue to wear them for the rest of the mission and data will be processed post-mission.

– Electroencephalogram

Research objectives: The purpose of this experiment consists of theoretical and practical study of the use of portable EEG headsets for neurofeedback experiments in isolated, confined, and extreme environments, and the use of VR goggles with meditation-related content and AO scan brain biomarkers for future long length space missions (LLSM). EEG results are compared with over 10,000 physiological biomarkers remotely extracted from AO Scan bioinformatics software. 52 Nerve Brain Biomarkers, 45 Brain Sagittal Biomarkers, 13 Cerebral Cortex Biomarkers for a total of 110+ Brain Biomarkers are generated with each AO Comprehensive Scan. With 30+ Comprehensive and Vitals Scans, data analysis may focus on comparison, efficacy, and accuracy of biomarkers out of balance (BOB) from EEG headsets, biomarkers from wearable, and biomarkers relevant to human spaceflight.

The study culminates in the first studies to use remote bioinformatics software to monitor brain biomarkers. The aim of the research is to inquire about the new non-intrusive methodology to countermeasure stress in isolation to enhance human performances in future long length space missions.

Achieved so far: Not yet performed, first session expected on the night of SOL7

– Evaluation of drone operations and questionnaires

Research objectives:

Mapping (1)* and inspection (3) of the station and its elements (e.g. solar arrays) during Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs), also simulating possible search and rescue (2) events.

Acquisition of the martian base camp outside environment monitoring sandstorms through a warning weathercast system (4).

For the scenarios, a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off Landing) drone is used for photogrammetry and surface analysis and exploration. The VTOL would also support the astronauts’ operations during the EVAs

Note: () Numbers indicate priority

Achieved so far: Crew performed a test for the mapping function and a first full mapping session on Sol7. The map will be used for the navigation test required for the Spit test experiment.

– Micrometeorites from the Solar System

Research objectives: The main purpose of the experiment is to find the extra-terrestrial materials on the earth’s surface through the search for micrometeorites in the analog field.

The crew will collect a minimum of 10 and maximum of 30 geological samples in different locations in the area of the Mars Research Desert Station that will be then analysed inside the station to search for micrometeorites.

All the samples will be stored and delivered to the PI after the mission.

Similar investigation and sample collection will be carried out in other analog environments (e.g. AMADEE20 performed by the Austrian Space Forum) and these different analog areas will be compared by extra-terrestrial traces. The final goal is to establish an analog mission micrometeorite archive.

Achieved so far: The crew collected already the minimum required number of samples (ten) and will continue to collect them until the end of the mission (if possible). In parallel, the collected samples will be analysed in the incoming days to search for microparticles of meteorites.

– Portable DNA analyser in search for Extraterrestrial life

Research objectives: This experiment aims to optimize research methods based on the restrictions of human-robotic exploration missions. Here, we focus on the easy-to-do methods including classical microbiology and NGS (next-generation sequencing) techniques to identify extremophile bacteria, archaea, tardigrades, and slime mold. During this mission, we aim to analyse sand samples on traces of microbial DNA. The experiment contains the following steps (1) sample collection; (2) DNA extraction; (3) sequencing, (4) analyses and interpretation (post-mission)

Achieved so far: The crew collected already the maximum required number of samples (ten) and they will be processed in the incoming days to extract the DNA to be sequenced by the portable device

– Satellite communication and data exchange

Research objectives: The purpose of the experiment is to measure the communications level between the GCS and the on-orbit satellite (D-orbit) through the amateur radiofrequency. The software tool required for the experiment is also provided by D-Orbit.

Achieved so far: The crew installed the antenna and the ground station, it also attempted to connect a few times with the satellite during its pass above the station but without success.

Troubleshooting activities will be performed in the incoming days

– Spit cortisol test

Research objectives: Measuring the cortisol level affecting the crew members. This test plays an important role in understanding (but also preventing) potential health risks, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, muscle weakness, etc. The test could be done through blood samples combined with cyclomatic tests for the crew.

Achieved so far: The collection of the samples for the cortisol tests will be performed in the next few days. The execution of the experiment was pending the successful execution of the drone mapping experiment.

Science Report – March 6th

Crew 263 Scientific Report 06-03-2022

SOL: 13

Name of person filing report: Léa Rouverand

Geology Field Campaign:

Geology field campaign by human operators has been investigated throughout the mission second week (SOL 7 to SOL 13). Analysis using a SciAps Z-903 handheld LIBS (laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy) analyzer has been performed as well as outcrop sketching, image capture and sample collection. The participants are now used to performing such tasks under EVA protocol and spacesuits which constraints their movement and field vision. The study has put into light the large flexibility of human operators to perform field study: 5 outcrops were analyzed in a total of 3 outings, the EVA participants could move across units and perform studies at different elevations. On-field decision making was also recorded by using a drone to chose on the field the outcrops to analyze. The J2/K1 transition was identified in terms of rock textures and gypsum were found chemically using the LIBS.

Aquapad:

This analysis uses Aquapads to test the drinking water quality. The water was found to be very clean and safe for consumption.

Ultrasound surveillance:

On SOL 10, image capture of 5 organs for each Crew Members were performed using an ultrasound device and an Augmented Reality software. It is the same experiment performed on SOL 2. However, an improvement on the ultrasound image capture performance by the Crew Members have been observed.

HF wave propagation experiment:

This experiment aims to study the propagation characteristics of the ionosphere for HF waves to achieve contact between MDRS and Toulouse (France). On SOL 10, we successfully captured HF signals on 2 different frequencies (21 MHz and 28 MHz). Unfortunately, they did not hear back from us. Another trial will be performed 17.

Gravitropism:

This experiment aims to study the effect of gravity on plant growth. Lentil and bean seeds are planted on a rotating platform. The seeds suffered from the relocation from the GreenHab to the ScienceDome and/or local atmosphere. We have placed them in water to wait for initial growth before planting them back in the rotating platform.

Drone Astronaut Rescue:

The experiment’s aim is to assess the use of an ANAFI thermal drone for Astronaut Rescue. A pair of 2 astronauts goes away from the other pair. The efficiency of a time lee identification of the “hidden” pair using a drone is to be investigated. First trial was performed on SOL 4 and a second trial was performed on SOL 10, the drone allowed to spot the Astronaut pair in 5 minutes (longer than on SOL4 as the “hidden” participants were in the shadow) and join them in 7 minutes (shorter than on SOL 4, as the drone was left at the target location and not turned back to the drone operator, real-time feedback was possible). The use of the drone thermal feature is still to be investigated as it still made the image more confusing. We also need to compare the rescue protocol to one without a drone; this is planned on SOL 16.

On SOL 10, the “hidden” pair also investigated emergency protocols. The protocol is made by middle school students and serve as an Educational Activity to introduce them to crewed space missions and the scientific methodology. One participant simulated an arm injury, the other participant had to follow the emergency protocol to handle the injured participant. A stress analysis was also performed at the same time as the simulation injured participant was not the initially planned person. One participant during the EVA and in the Station was aware of this “switch” in person. Feedbacks has been obtained on the protocol.

Hab depressurization emergency protocol:

On SOL 11, a HAB depressurization emergency protocol, also made by middle-school students, was tested out. An initial disorganization of the crew members in following the protocol was observed but they successfully managed to follow the protocol in time and did not lead to “simulated” fatalities.

Atmospheric Experiment:

There is a total of 5 atmospheric experiments; LOAC (Light Optical Aerosol Counter), an Electrical Field Mill, Purple Air (Aerosol Counter), Mega-Ares (Electrical Field Counter) and a weather station. Mega-Ares has been out because of an assembly issue but has been fixed and reinstallation was performed on SOL 6. The Electrical Field Mill does not turn on so is back at the station until we have researchers’ feedback.

Augmented Reality Testing:

First trials of the Augmented Reality Application testing were performed between SOL 1 and SOL 4. Software issues with menu placement and hardware issues were identified.

On-going experiments: Sleep study using Dreem Headbands, TELEOP (analysis of spatial awareness and isolation on teleoperation tasks), Psychosocial and Cognitive questionnaires, Psychometric tests, nothing to declare on SOL 13.

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: NaN

Science Report – February 17th

Sol 17: Focus on: 3D mapping with drones – Usefulness of drones for the human exploration of Mars

Author: Pierre Fabre

Hi everyone, welcome back for this new report! Today is the last episode of “Focus on” and we are going to talk about my drone mapping experiment with Marion, our crew scientist.

But before, as always, let’s talk about what happened during this Sol 17 on Mars.

This was our last full day on Mars. Tomorrow in the afternoon we will go back to Earth. We will have the end of the afternoon to send messages to our families and friends and discover what happened on Earth during our mission on Mars. We will then eat the burger we’ve been waiting for since the first week of the mission with Atila, the Assistant Director of the MDRS. We are all very excited to come back to Earth but we are starting to realise that we will miss Mars. But we will talk about that in more detail in tomorrow’s report.

This afternoon we kept on filming a lot of videos of our experiments for the videos we will upload on our YouTube channel. This takes a lot of time but this is our last chance to take shots on Mars so we have to be efficient!

The mission is not over yet and some of us went on TELEOP and on the University of Lorraine’s experiment. It was a pleasure, as always. This was not even the last time; we will do those experiments after the mission too just as we did before the mission. Data collected before and after the mission are really important to compare the results.

This morning we performed the EVA for my drone mapping experiment. We went to the Northern part of the Hab Ridge that we had already mapped during a previous EVA. Marion and François tried to follow the itinerary they had prepared before. Tomorrow the rest of the crew will do the same for our last EVA on Mars.

Talking about this experiment, it is time for today’s “Focus on” episode. This time it will be Marion, our crew scientist, who will ask the questions.

“-Hi Pierre! So firstly, why drones? What intrigued you about them and their use?

-Hi Marion! Recently, NASA sent Ingenuity, a helicopter, to Mars and managed to make it fly. This was was not an easy task at all because the atmosphere on Mars is around a thousand times less dense than on Earth which makes it really hard for a helicopter to fight the gravity which is around a third of the Earth’s gravity. Thanks to this tremendous success, we now know that drones can fly on Mars and I thought it would be interesting to investigate their usefulness and explore their potential use cases.

-Alright and so these drones were made by the company Parrot. Can you tell us a bit more about them and what they do?

-Yes sure! Parrot is a French drone manufacturer. They accepted to sponsor us for the mission and in addition to that they lent us two ANAFI drones. I personally love their drones; they are really easy to use and their stability amazes me every time I make them fly.

-What is the general idea behind your experiment? What do you hope to show and what are your hypotheses?

-The general idea is to investigate the potential usefulness of drones for the human exploration of Mars.

The ANAFI drone offers the possibility of creating a 3D map of an area really easily. You first create a double grid mission above the area you want to map with the application Pix4DMapper that generates a flight plan for the drone and instructions on where to take photos. You then upload those photos on the Pix4D software and it generates a very accurate 3D map.

I thought that this possibility could be very useful for marsonauts to better plan their EVAs. I think it is important for marsonauts to take as few risks as possible and to avoid wasting energy during EVAs and maybe drones can help them find the path that best meets those requirements.

I hope to show that using a 3D map during the preparation of the EVA and the drawing of the itinerary makes the EVA less dangerous, stressful and/or physically demanding for my crewmates.

-So, let’s dive deeper here; what is the protocol? How do you carry out this experiment to verify your hypotheses?

-Ok so first we perform an EVA to 3D map an area previously chosen.

Then, I generate the 3D map on my computer with the Pix4D software. Thanks to this map, I define a course with different checkpoints across the area.

After that, I randomly assign my crew mates to two groups: the treatment group and the control group. Every crew member has 15 minutes to draw their itinerary on a map. This itinerary has to check all the checkpoints defined. The difference between the groups is that the treatment group will be able to use the 3D map generated on my computer to help them draw their itinerary. The control group will have access only to the classic 2D map.

Then, every crew member has to come with me during an EVA and do the course for real. The objective for them is to follow as precisely as possible the itinerary they drew without putting them at risk. I follow them from a distance and I don’t talk to them so as not to influence their choices. The others can’t look at the path taken to avoid bias.

After the EVA, they will answer a form to evaluate their level of confidence in their itinerary, their level of stress and how tired they feel. In addition to this data, I will also collect data from their connected watch to have access to their heart beats per minute (BPM) and GPS position during the EVA. Their BPM will give me an idea of how stressed they were and how much efforts they put into reaching the checkpoints.

The GPS position will allow me to see if they followed their drawn itinerary well.

Thanks to the data collected, I hope we will be able to show that those who had the 3D map during the preparation were less stressed during the EVA and less tired after.

For now, we have repeated this protocol on two different areas: the North Ridge and the Hab Ridge. I will analyse the data collected when we will be back on Earth and we will see if drones could be potentially useful for the human exploration of Mars!

-Thank you for this insight into your drone experiment! I am personally very interested in the results; it is definitely relevant for future human exploration missions on Mars.”

That’s it for that “Focus on” I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned things! It was the last episode; I hope you enjoyed the format. As I was mentioning it in yesterday’s report, we will upload on YouTube a series of “Focus on” videos when we will be back on Earth! These videos will be accessible from our website too. Stay tuned if you want to see our “Focus on” videos!

Science Report

Science Report:

3D Printing:

3D printer has been fully repaired. We are able to print pieces for both the water recycling experiment and the atmospheric experiment. We have also been able to show that 3D printing is useful for space missions by taking pictures of small holes on the outside surface of the Hab and creating pieces to fix them (we did not actually put the pieces on the Hab).

Drone Experiment:

We have been able to do a first run of the experiment by having one group climbing North Ridge with the 3D map and another group with only the 2D map and compare them. We have also mapped another site where we will perform another run next week.

Aquapad:

The last 3 Aquapad have shown that the water is safe to drink and the 4th one is currently incubating.

Sleep:

We are still tracking all the calories from our food, our sleep and our physical activity with a Fitbit. We are also still filling out the questionnaires to record how we feel after a night’s sleep.

TELEOP:

Experiment teleoperating a rover on the Moon. We have run the second week of testing for this experiment.

University of Bourgogne:

We are still filling out the daily questionnaires and sent the researchers a first set of recorded answers.

University of Lorraine:

We have just finished up our 4th session for this experiment where they look at our ability to adapt both psychologically and physiologically to Mars.

Water Recycling:

We created a set up with some cardboard, funnel and water containers so as to make it faster.

Toopi Organics:

For the soy beans treated with stabilised and filtered urine from Toopi Organics, they are growing faster than the none treated ones which is great. However, for the spirulina, there was an error in the protocol we were given and the solutions have to be redone.

Atmospheric experiments:

The experiment measuring the size and flow of small particles in the air still works. We installed the PurpleAir device which measures air quality. We also installed an electric field mill experiment which measures electric field around the ground. This one is similar to the MegaAres experiment which we are still trying to get up and running.

Astrophotography:

Not possible to perform the supernovae experiment with the New Mexico telescope so no change here.

Science Report – December 26th

Crew 236 Science Report 26-DEC-2021

Crew Scientist – Tyler Nord

Science Report

Vladimir:

Vladimir is investigating the optimization the habitat’s space and assessing alternate locations for habitat placement. With respect to the space optimization, Vladimir has completed taking measurements and photographs, as well as sketching the habitat. Thus far on EVA, he has scouted two locations near Galileo Road for habitat feasibility; one of which held potential. He still has two additional locations to evaluate on future EVAs: Candor Chasma and Toothy Ridge.

Pavi:

Pavi is investigating the effect of uncertainty in food and water consumption on the station’s robustness. Resource (food/water) consumption rates cannot be assumed to be constant and naturally vary with respect to a crew’s daily needs and activities. This project entails the monitoring of daily food and water consumption rates of the crew (using mass) over the two week period. A percentage uncertainty of consumption can calculated based on the variation of food/water consumed over the period of the mission. A system dynamics model with an agent-based controller is being implemented on AnyLogic 8 PLE to assess how long the station could ‘survive’ with levels of uncertainty observed during this crew (and uncertainties much higher, out of curiosity), if extended over a period of two years.

Tyler:

Using a Flir One Pro IR system, I am conducting thermal images of the habitat to identify locations of heat loss to the surrounding atmosphere, which lead to excessive power usage for heating. Before entering simulation, I collected thermal readings of the habitat at night, and I plan to do the same during the day on a future EVA. I have also collected interior thermal images of the Hab.

In addition to the Hab research, I am also taking thermal images of the surrounding landscapes at different levels of solar exposure to quantify the thermal inertia of the soil and rocks. I have scanned the Barainca Butte region early in the day, so intend to return at a later time of day on a future EVA and conduct moring and afternoon scans of one additional region.

Dylan:

Dylan is utilizing robotic observatories and a solar observatory to produce images of a plethora of celestial objects. These images will be used to increase interest in the mission and space exploration in general. These color images of nebulas, open star clusters, galaxies, double stars, and the Sun are not only beautiful to look at but also show the variety that our universe has to offer and inspire the next generation to help delve deeper into humanity’s knowledge of the cosmos.

Cesare:

Cesare is working on hydration of Martian analog rocks. Due to EVA cancellations, he collected only four rocks in the first week, but they show a good variety. The Barainca Butte area offered sandstone and mudstone from upper layers, but also an igneous rock. Cesare weighted the rocks as collected in the field, then soaked the rocks for 36 hours and weighted them again. The sandstone shows the highest percentage increase in weight, with hard compact mudstone/siltstone showing almost no water absorption. Then, Cesare cycled the rocks for one hour in the lab oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. All rocks had a final weight slightly lower than the original weight at collection, and again the sandstone showed the widest change in weight.

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