Crew 160 Final Commander’s Report
Crew 160 ERAU – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University involved 6 students with varying majors that all had a passion for space travel and isolated environments. The majority of the crew had personal research to conduct while at the MDRS during the two week rotation which involved the psychology and physiology of being exposed to an isolated environment for an extended period of time. This also included the limitations of what the Martian environment may provide such as being unable to exit the Hab without an approved EVA from Mission Support. The crew became acquainted long before the rotation began during the school year with weekly meetings that prepared for fundraisers and research protocols.
We conducted multiple EVAs to become more familiarized with the environment as well as the suits and ATVs so that we can further understand the limitations being involved on EVAs. We also tried to set up relay sections along the areas surrounding the Habitat so that if the EVA crew had to split into pairs so that one pair can travel farther, we can have everyone maintain communication with HabCom. I also had planned simulated emergencies for the crew to conduct so that we can monitor how well a team can conduct the mission and react to the emergency all while maintaining sim and pushing through the limitations of the EVA suit such as visibility and mobility. The crew handled EVAs and all challenges associated with them tremendously and could not ask for a better team.
Crew 160 faced one major issue within the Hab that could have resulted to a major problem that could have hindered our performance and health during our two week rotation. We had issues with the water pump leaking water as well as not pumping correctly which could have resulted in water loss that our engineer was able to fix. Our engineer also started fixing minor issues within the hab such as the stairs, the platform in a crew member’s room, and one EVA suit. We also looked into the ATVs and had our engineer bring back another ATV in working order so that 3 ATVs could be utilized for EVAs. The engineer, XO, and I began to test the Sandstorm Rover once our engineer got this little guy working again too.
On a more personal note, the crew had plenty of time to get to know each other even more during the rotation. We played many different kinds of games, watched plenty of shows and movies, and had hilarious conversations that one simply had to be there for. We all enjoyed our company and easily became friends and discovered that we all shared much more similarities than just a longing for space travel.
I would like to thank everyone at Mars Society for all their dedicated time assisting us during our rotation and their hard work for making simulations like MDRS possible. I would also like to thank Dr. Kring, Victoria Barkley, the Embry-Riddle research departments, and my parents for helping my crew and I prepare for the rotation with research and fundraising. We truly could not have done this without everyone’s support!