Since I was a young child Mars held a special fascination for me. It was so close and yet so faraway. I have never doubted that it once had advanced life and still has remnants of that life now. I am a dedicated member of the Mars Society,Norcal Mars Society National Space Society, Planetary Society, And the SETI Institute. I am a supporter of Explore Mars, Inc. I'm a great admirer of Elon Musk and SpaceX. I have a strong feeling that Space X will send a human to Mars first.
The following is the final summary report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 182 (Team Peru V). A full review of this field season's activities at MDRS will be presented at the 21st Annual International Mars Society Convention in 2018 (date and location to be announced in the very near future).
MDRS End of Mission Summary Crew 182 – Team Peru V
Commander/GreenHab/Safety Officer: Atila Meszaros (Peru) Executive Officer/Crew Journalist/Scientist: Camila Castillo (Peru) Engineering Officer: Carmen Atauconcha (Peru) EVA Officer/Crew Geologist: Brandon Ferguson (US) Crew Member: Julio Rezende (Brazil)
The Mars Society Peru Chapter sent Team Peru V (Crew 182), conformed by a multidisciplinary group. Their rotation was scheduled for November 4th (the day Carmen ate those burgers without us) – 18th 2017. The main goal of the crew was to develop research in their different fields at the MDRS, achieving their specific goals. The multidisciplinary approach of the crew proved to be valuable during the mission.
During the mission, the following research activities took place at MDRS:
Effect of Streptomyces sp. Isolated from mineral cultures on radish plant development in analog martian soil: Soil was collected around the MDRS location to use it for radish crops. The strain used at the inoculation was isolated from mineral cultures, which are also an extreme environment. The main objective is to prove the effect of this strain in crops in martian analog soil. The main goal of this research was unachieved, but soil samples will be taken to Lima (Peru) for further experiments.
Resistance of Peruvian Altiplano’s crops to martian analog soil: Soils with different compositions where collected on the surroundings of MDRS and on the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation in order to prove the resistance of Peruvian crops and mustard (as control) to mars analog soil. The main goal of the project wasn’t achieved, mostly because an incident during #7 EVA. However, the research will continue on Lima (Peru) using the martian analog soil and two more altiplano’s seeds.
Incidence of consumption of kiwicha cookies in the loss of muscle mass that people living in the analog of Mars experiment: I prepared cookies of kiwicha on Peru, kiwicha is an andin grain that has enormous amounts of protein. Because of this characteristic of the kiwicha grain, my cookies have 10% of protein per portion. During the time that I spend in the rotation, I had to take notes of the mass muscle index. So, I gave the cookies to half of the crew, two units per day. Also, every 4 days I took notes of their weight. With this data, I am going to compare the data of the crew member that ate the cookies and the ones that do not ate the kiwicha cookies.
Properties and Composition of Mars Analog Regolith at MDRS: Regolith samples were collected from different areas within the MDRS area. The study focuses specifically on the Morrison geologic formation. The majority of the samples are from the brushy basin member of this formation. The goal of the project is to classify the soil properties including: soil texture, classification, and composition. The project will continue during the next week.
Sustainability in Mars research stations and extraplanetary settlements: This research searches to answer the question: The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) operation can be more sustainable? It is evaluated how environmental, economic, social and personal sustainability issues are presented in the research station and how the MDRS activities would collaborate to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), proposing some guidelines to sustainability. It is also important to ask: the results related to Mars would be applied to build a self-sustainable habitat in Earth, mainly in areas affected by climate change, as deserts and semiarid regions as can be seen in Brazilian Northeast (Habitat Marte)? Reviewing the previous research done at MDRS not was identified any research related to sustainability. Because of that, this research presented a high impact to MDRS and Mars research. It is a challenger identifies the main dimensions that would be considered to evaluates a Mars research station in terms of sustainability: this is the great relevance of this research for the future design of Mars settlements.
Mars Society Partners with Marspedia Project to Help Build Mars Online Encyclopedia
The Mars Society is pleased to announce that it has joined the online Marspedia project started by two other space advocacy groups - The Mars Foundation and The Moon Society - in an effort to build out a great resource for people of all ages to learn more about the planet Mars, promote the human and robotic exploration of the Red Planet and encourage STEM education.
The organization is striving to make Marspedia the one-stop shopfor all information related to Mars, including: articles describing past historical missions to the planet, current knowledge about Mars, technology related to ongoing exploration, future concepts such as terraforming and plans for human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet.
The Mars Society is taking a leading role in this effort and has formed a Governing Council comprised of representatives of the three organizations, led by Susan Holden Martin, a Steering Committee member and former Executive Director of the Mars Society, along with James Burk, current IT Director for the organization.
In an attempt to expand the Marspedia project, we are currently looking for interested and dedicated volunteers who are able to help us to improve and maintain the online Mars encyclopedia, which takes the form of a "wiki" that anybody can add to or edit once they set up a free user account. We are also in the process of improving the overall design of the encyclopedia, including creating a new, modern logo for the project.
For the improvement of the encyclopedia’s content, an Editorial Subcommittee has been formed and is meeting weekly via teleconference. We need folks to join this subcommittee that have experience with editing and reviewing content, particularly with a science background. In addition, we are always looking for new content that we can add to Marspedia, and can attribute that content with multiple options of content licensing including Creative Commons and public domain.
For technical maintenance and upgrades, a Technical Subcommittee has also been formed and is using the Slack tool for communication. We already have an experienced group of technical experts that has set up and is maintaining the encyclopedia, but we are also on the lookout for experienced software developers and people that are familiar with the platform we are using: Mediawiki. The Mars Society is working to make Marspedia a cutting-edge and technologically advanced resource that has many tools available for our content writers and editors.
To join this important effort, please visit the main Marspedia web page at www.marspedia.org and access the information under "How You Can Help", including links to the two subcommittees mentioned above. If you have content to share, there is a Submission Form available as well, so you can submit your content and have others post it into the encyclopedia.
The seven-minute film revolves around the recently completed Mars 160 mission, which involved a multi-national crew of eight researchers doing similar science operations for the same period of time (80 days), first at MDRS in 2016 and later at FMARS in 2017.
The Mars Society would like to extend special appreciation to the creators of the new film - Jennifer Holt, an Emmy award-winning producer and editor for ESPN and dedicated Mars advocate, Anastasiya Stepanova, crew journalist for the Mars 160 mission, and James Burk, the Mars Society’s IT Director, as well as the entire Mars 160 crew and support staff.
To learn more about the Mars Society and its MDRS-FMARS programs, please visit: www.marssociety.org.
Get Involved in Mars Society “Red Eagle” Student Contest to Design Mars Lander
The Mars Society recently announced plans for an international student engineering contest to design a lander capable of delivering a ten metric ton payload safely to the surface of Mars. The competition is open to student teams from around the world. Participants are free to choose any technology to accomplish the proposed mission and need to submit design reports of no more than 50 pages by March 31, 2018.
These contest reports will be evaluated by a panel of judges and will serve as the basis for a down-select to ten finalists who will be invited to present their work in person at the next International Mars Society Convention in September 2018. The first place winning team will receive a trophy and a $10,000 cash prize. Second through fifth place winners will receive trophies and prizes of $5,000, 3,000, $2000, and $1,000 respectively. In honor of the first craft used to deliver astronauts to another world, the contest is being named “Red Eagle.”
The key missing capability required to send human expeditions to Mars is the ability to land large payloads on the Red Planet. The largest capacity demonstrated landing system is that used byCuriosity, which delivered 1 ton. That is not enough to support human expeditions, whose minimal requirement is a ten ton landing capacity. NASA has identified this as a key obstacle to human missions to Mars, but has no program to develop any such lander. SpaceX had a program, called Red Dragon, which might have created a comparable capability, but it was cancelled when NASA showed no interest in using such a system to soft land crews returning to Earth from the ISS or other near-term missions.
In the absence of such a capability, NASA has been reduced to proposing irrelevant projects, such as building a space station in lunar orbit (not needed for either lunar or Mars expeditions), or claim that it is working on the technology for large visionary interplanetary spaceships which will someday sail from lunar orbit to Mars orbit and back, accomplishing nothing.
For full details about the Red Eagle student engineering contest, including team rules, guidelines and requirements, please click here.