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Mission Summary

Crew 160 Mars Desert Research Station Mission


Mission Start Date: 26th December 2015 Team Crew 160:

LM – Lycourgos Manolopoulos – Commander

AHB – Ashley Hollis-Bussey – Execuitve Officer / Crew Astronomer

JH – John Herman – Crew Biologist / Health and Safety Officer

HS – Hiroki Sugimoto – GreenHab Officer

CV – Cassandra Vella – Crew Journalist

MC – Marc Carofano – Crew Engineer


Crew 160 consists of six undergraduate students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with each having a major regarding space studies. Each student is passionate about space and working together to further enhance our understanding on habituating another planet such as Mars through individual research based projects as well as enhancing our knowledge on what the lifestyle on Mars would be like and how to adjust to this new environment.


As Commander of Crew 160, I wish to grow my management skills and obtain experience in decision making as a leader. When I first discovered the Mars Desert Research Station, or MDRS, I knew this was the perfect chance to develop a better understanding of what life on another planet, essentially in an isolated environment, would be like. Combining this factor with my goal of further enhancing my supervising attributes, I will make sure that my team is safe and overall in high spirits while at the habitat simulated on Mars. Working alongside the crew members, I will gain more knowledge in each of their proficiencies regarding their specific titles and will expand my experiences with people that have a varying background regarding e traits and educated qualities. Through observations and suggestions from the experience that I will gain from my two week rotation, I will continue to make sure that the MDRS is developing into what it is desired to be; a realistic, resourceful, and habitable station that will advance our familiarity of Mars and assist in data collection that may be used one day to send astronauts to the Martian planet.

Being position as Executive Commander of the crew 160, I will be assisting the crew Commander on various activities that range from EVA planning, daily reports, and keeping the crew busy to stay sane and alive on Martian territory. I hope to see the beauty on Mars with the rest of the crew while gaining leadership abilities and conducting the best research to bring back to home to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

I am the Crew Biologist and Crew Health & Safety Officer for Crew 160. I am planning to conduct research on crew’s blood pressure rates before and after extravehicular activities. A few of my goals while at MDRS include making sure crew members are happy and healthy, and also to potentially try to shed some light on what happens to the body while wearing the EVA suit. Hopefully, my research as Crew Biologist will one day lead to better suit design that allows for more mobility and less strain on the human body.

I joined Crew 160 as a GreenHab Officer and would love to contribute to setting up the aquaponics system, which the Civil Engineering department of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University sent. Also, I hope I can grow some plants on the desert. Besides the job as the GreenHab Officer, I will conduct my personal research on influences of natural sunlight and going outside on emotions and stress.

As crew journalist during this mission, I will be updating the world daily on Crew 160’s stay on Mars. I will be providing text, photo and video of as much footage as I can while on my stay. I will also be recording and studying the impact the Martian environment and astronaut lifestyle on Mars has on the memories of my crew members. I hope to shed some light on the psychology side of living on Mars and how humans can adjust to the changes in the future.

As the engineer of crew 160 I plan to come to MDRS with the hope to make the Hab a better place for our current rotation and for future crews. Having never been to MDRS I’m currently not sure what to expect but I am excited for what challenges I will have to face. The position of the crew engineer is a suiting position for me because I have always been interested in how things work and fixing things that are broken. One of the goals I have coming into MDRS is to be able to leave a mark on the institution that future crews will be able to appreciate.