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Mission Summary

MDRS Crew 155 Mission Summary

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Crew 155 brought together a diverse, professional crew of individuals from Cyprus, Peru, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.  Each of the members of our crew is dedicated to supporting the exploration and colonization of Mars.

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Engineering activities

Our primary goal during our two-week rotation was to demonstrate that even a group of ordinary people can be capable of rising to meet the challenges presented by a Martian analogue simulation, particularly in relation to Engineering and construction activities.  We succeeded in meeting this goal.

The 1st Engineers completed an extensive renovation of the Hab and MDRS campus.  We patched and painted all of the walls of the Hab, painted the floor of Deck 2, and completely refinished the Engineering bay.  We completed the tunnel system connection to the new GreenHab, patched the rest of the tunnels, and began construction on the new back porch.  We finished the enclosure of the 7th stateroom in the loft, implemented cable management in a number of areas, and corrected countless minor safety hazards.  Finally, Crew 155 completed small hardware and finishing fixes too numerous to mention.  

Most of this activity was performed under full Sim conditions, compounded by additional challenges: Lack of proper tools, missing materials, and uncooperative Martian weather.  Moreover, the living conditions such as slow comms and the lack of mattresses or a functional oven added to the burden and the "hardcore" feeling of the Sim.

I am pleased, however, with the way that my crew rose to meet these challenges.  In the eyes of Crew 155, these were not problems: These were simply opportunities for us to demonstrate our resilience and resourcefulness.

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Our secondary goal during our time at the MDRS was to make a contribution to the growing body of knowledge that will one day make it possible to establish a permanent human presence on Mars.  Crew 155 conducted the following research projects during our rotation:

Ozone laundering system

Crew 155 tested a waterless, ozone-based laundering system on various articles of soiled clothing.  This was a continuation of study performed during an earlier crew rotation.  This field trial used a refined protocol that added a secondary “airing” stage for both control and experimental test items.  We found that an ozone laundering system can do a very effective job of removing aromatic biological materials from clothing articles.  This particular system uses only about 6 Watts per hour, and could be a useful means of cleaning clothing in environments in which water is an especially restricted resource.

Collection of GPS coordinate data for MDRS area road system

The 1st Engineers collected GPS coordinate data for key road junctions and landmarks along the area road system.  Additionally, we collected panoramic photos of each location to help with identification.  These data will be used by future crews to better understand the limited permissible operating area for the ATV/rovers.

Public relations and media outreach

Our Crew facilitated a visit by a TV production company.  Our Crew Journalist also submitted numerous photos to a number of online resources covering various aspects of our time here on Mars.

Radio signal strength survey

The 1st Engineers also surveyed the area within 0.5 km of the Hab to gauge the strength of cell tower radio signals.  We located a few spots that warrant further analysis.  If we are able to confirm a location within about 100 m of the Hab that receives a consistent signal of -98 dB or better, this may provide an opportunity for a secondary, back up comms channel from the MDRS back to "Earth."

Evaluation of candidate foods for transitional/emergency use

Our crew tested a candidate food intended for emergency/transitional use on Mars. The candidate food is a custom formulated, nutritionally complete, low-residue, powder-based food called Generic Lipo-enhanced Organic Paste (a.k.a. “GLOP”).  Crew tested the GLOP both plain and with a few combinations of flavor extracts and artificial color.  The combinations that met with the highest approval were mint and vanilla-pumpkin.  The general consensus of crew was that one could survive off of GLOP long term, but would only choose to do so as a last resort.

Field test of airlock SCADA system

Crew 155 tested a prototype of an airlock system that monitors pressurization/de-
pressurization cycles, keeps track of door status, and provides output regarding air pressure status.  The crew found that this system added a lot to the verisimilitude of Sim.

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Overall, Crew 155 is pleased with the progress that we made on our scientific inquiries and the experience that we gained living and performing EVA construction work in an Isolated, Confined, and Extreme (ICE) environment.  We leave the MDRS tired, but satisfied, from our labors, and energized at the prospect of continuing our work in future rotations.

Per ardua, ad Marte!

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Bakken
Commander, MDRS Crew 155