Saturday, December 10, 2016

Notes From Mars 160: The Space Architecture Of Yusuke Murakami

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Notes from Mars 160: The Space Architecture of Yusuke Murakami
By Annalea Beattie, Mars 160 Crew Member (MDRS), 12.9.16
The Mars Society is conducting the ambitious two-phase Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog mission to study how seven crew members could live, work and perform science on a true mission to Mars. Mars 160 crew member Annalea Beattie is chronicling the mission, which will spend 80 days at the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah desert before venturing far north to Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, Canada in summer 2017. Here's her latest dispatch from the mission:
Hello, all.
The study of "extremophiles" provides us with clues about possible forms of extraterrestrial life and where to look for such life. Extremophiles are organisms that survive at the limits of life in extreme physical or geochemical conditions.
The word combines the Latin extremus, meaning "extreme," and the Greek philiā (φιλία), which means "love." 
On our Mars 160 crew, if any of us could be thought of as an "extremophile," in the sense of having an extreme love of life and the ability to adapt and survive in harsh environments at the limits of life, Japanese architect Yusuke Murakami is the person.
Yusuke has had more experience of extreme environments here on Earth than the rest of us on the Mars 160 crew put together. He was a member of the 50th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition and has spent time in by far the coldest, highest and windiest continent and the harshest environment on our planet. Antarctica is below freezing most of the year, has little rainfall and is subject to katabatic winds, long periods of sunlight and long periods of darkness. In Antarctica, Yusuke was part of a 28-person Wintering Crew. His role was mission specialist in mainly geophysics, a member of a team who works to understand the physical properties of the Earth from a window on the planet, the Antarctic continent.
As Executive Officer (XO) for Mars 160, Yusuke's role is to support the Commander, ensuring Alex's directives are followed.
Yusuke also has the complex task of understanding the food inventory for the hab. In collaboration with Earth-based experts, overall he assists in measuring how much food we need in total for 80 days. In this first phase of the mission, he also monitored what was needed for 20 days at a time. In the Arctic, we will be just stocked once for food for the whole three months, so it's important we think about our requirements and get the balance right.
Yusuke is also cross-trained by Claude-Michel in caring for plants as a research collaborator for Heather Hava's NASA-funded Bioregenerative Life Support Systems Project(BLiSS), a mix of human-factors studies, life support system and agriculture. This study enhances habitability and diet by growing fresh foods. In the Arctic, Yusuke will take over Claude-Michel's role as principal operator and will set up the systems and monitor the crew as they care for their individual smartpots.

To read the full article, please click here.
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