From February 23 to March 17, six ISAE-SUPAERO students will fly to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), located in the Utah desert. In this barren environment, geologically similar to that of the planet Mars, the student crew will endure a period of confinement and isolation.
For the 5th consecutive year, a group of ISAE-SUPAERO students has been selected by the American association “Mars Society” to participate in these analogous assignments. On board the Research Station (the Hab), the crew’s mission is to develop scientific knowledge for the human exploration of Mars.
Develop the necessary scientific knowledge for the human exploration of the Red Planet
After four successful missions, six engineering students from the 2nd and 3rd year will enter the Hab to conduct technological, scientific and human experiments in February 2019.
MDRS missions enable scientists, students and engineers to test equipment for the aerospace industry (robots, prototype space suits, etc.), and to carry out human factor experiments with the help of the DCAS department (Department of Aerospace Vehicles Design and Control) of ISAE-SUPAERO.
The realistic nature of these simulations is particularly significant. The aim is to plunge the crews into the same conditions and have them experience similar difficulties that astronauts would face on Mars.
Thus, outdoor exploration can only be performed in a space suit and all communications with people on “Earth” are delayed for several minutes in order to simulate the effects of the 400 million kilometer distance.
Each year, the feedback and the improvements to the experimental protocols provide genuine credibility to the students’ mission.
The crew will carry out approximately ten experiments:
- install a weather station developed in partnership with LPC2E, to provide on-site weather monitoring; this was previously conducted by a nearby airport;
- test the space suits as part of extra-vehicular activity;
- measure the influence of music on plant growth;
- conduct the Aquapad experience (in partnership with BioMrieux and CNES) to determine the microbiological quality of water. The objective is to monitor the quality of the water supplied and propose filtering or recycling solutions where necessary;
- assess virtual reality as a solution to the effects of isolation and confinement;
- study the influence of confinement and isolation on sleep quality. For this, the Marsonauts will take the famous connected head band – Dreem, developed by two alumni of ISAE-SUPAERO.
Follow the crew on Twitter to share their experiences of the next mission to Mars: @MDRSSupaeroCrew
The original source-language text of this announcement is the official, authoritative version. Translations are provided as an accommodation only, and should be cross-referenced with the source-language text, which is the only version of the text intended to have legal effect.
41 11 35 41