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Crew 161 Mars Desert Research Station Mission

Mission Statement: Understanding Mars as a potential planet for human habitation.

Mission Start Date: 9th Jan 2016 to 24th Jan 2016

– Divya Shankar – Crew Commander
AA – Adeniyi Adebayo – Crew Executive Officer/Journalist
MK - Mikhail Khmelik – Crew Engineer
VS – Veronika Shteyngardt – Crew Astronomer
NG – Natalia Glazkova – Crew Health and Safety Officer/ Biologist
MR – Md.Mahbubur Rahman – Crew Engineer


Crew 161 is a team of space enthusiasts pursuing Master of Science in space and energy sectors at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow. Every member has also spent at least a semester at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA as part of their graduate studies. Each member specializes in different sectors and is looking forward to apply their diverse skillset in space exploration.


As the Commander of Crew 161, I will manage and look after all the proposed research activities of all crew members. Combining my research activities along with managing and leading the team activities will help me grow better in technical aspects and improve managerial skills. I will involve myself in understanding crew requirements and respond timely to their needs, discuss with the team and take right decisions in every step of our stay. Being on Mars with limited access to everything, taking right steps in all scenarios is a very important aspect. I will keep the crew spirit high, motivate and put my best efforts to take right decisions to achieve our mission goal. Spending two weeks in this environment will make me more skilled in tackling different mindsets of human and understanding my own ability to survive on Mars tackling the psychological conditions.


As Executive Officer, I will be supporting the crew leadership in developing plans and helping to keep the crew’s spirits high on a most-lonely planet. Coping with the challenges of extended isolation and the team dynamics that arises as a consequence will be one of the core areas of support to the leadership I will accord. This role will test my managerial skills and will contribute to my personal development. In my capacity as crew journalist, I will make sure that the crews’ experiments, workspace, interactions, EVAs are well documented in photo and video materials that will be invaluable assets of our mission.


As the Crew Health and Safety Officer, I intend to keep the crew members safe and take care of their well-being. I would consider general human factors when scheduling crew activities; and also I would develop check lists and operation manuals for some major activities during rotation. As a research project I would conduct a self-study of human factors of an EVA-suit. As the Crew Biologist, I intend to explore the biological processes of growing haricot in different combination of Mars and Earth soil. I would also take over Crew 160’s radish project.As a crew member, I intend to be a good friend and try to overcome challenges together while helping my crew members in any matter that may require my expertise.


As an engineer I am responsible for keeping all Hab systems fixed and in operation. I will also keep track of the main resources and make sure they are used optimally. As a research project I will design, build and code a remotely controlled robot for soil collection. The challenge is designing the robot to be stable and measure the depth of soil it can scoop based on soil compaction parameters that will be gathered by other crew members. This robot will be later used by other crew members for their research.


As the crew astronomer, I am responsible for the Musk observatory. Our team is going to learn how to organize our tight Martian schedule if one team member needs to stay awake during the night. From astronomical point of view, I am going to observe comet Catalina and take its photos every day to see changes in brightness. Also, I am going to make series of photos of the Moon with Earthshine and make an animation to see librations. During the night from 01/19 to 01/20, I will observe and fix occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon. And, of course, I am going to get beautiful pictures of famous objects in the sky.