Crew 187 Science Reports

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FEBRUARY 16, 2018 Science Report – February 16th [English]

Hello there!

My name is Atila Meszaros and I have the honor of being the first intern of The Mars Society. I have been on MDRS for more than a month. During the first weeks (during the rotation of the Purdue crew), I researched all the literature and information necessary to start working on the Aquaponics project.

What is Aquaponics? It is a system that behaves like a small ecosystem: it combines fish, plants, and bacteria to generate processes of greater efficiency. The fish excrete ammonia, which if its accumulated becomes toxic, water with ammonia goes through biofilters, which contain nitrogen-fixing bacterias. These little ones, are responsible for the conversion of ammonia into nitrites and then nitrates, which, not only are not toxic but serve as nutrients for plants. In this way, the plants filter the water, which returns to the fish, practically new. The objective of this research is to verify if an aquaponics in a Martian Analogous Habitat is really advantageous, comparing to the common gardening methods.

I was one of the crew members of the fantastic Latin American crew 187. During my rotation, I was able to assemble almost all the equipment, while, at the same time, working with my project related to the resistance of Peruvian seeds to Martian analog soil. The seeds that I am using are quinoa and kiwicha. Both are fruits with high nutritional content, and knowing that both are powerful candidates for future Martian missions, is the goal of the project.

The crew of Supaero will be arriving tomorrow, and hopefully, the agronomic part (without fish) of the aquaponics will be working. To compensate for the lack of fish (and its residue: ammonia), external nutrients will be added. The aquaponics project is a long-term one, and to achieve all the goals, I will make a protocol guide which will serve the future Green Hab Officers so that they can be guided during the course of the project. I know it will be in very good hands.

On the other hand, the hunting of halophiles has just begun. Halophiles are beings that, not only support the high amounts of salts but, are in their optimal state. To find them, we are looking for gypsum in different areas where their presence has been previously registered. We have already defined the points of interest and I have already been trained for the hunt.

Also, I consider myself Shannon’s assistant and I try to support in everything that is necessary. One of my personal goals is to learn as much as I can from her. She is a fantastic person and above all, an incredible teacher.

In the course of these weeks, the number of science reports will increase, so check it out!

At the end of the internship, I will make a final report with all the projects we have done and the progress of all the investigations.

It is an honor to be able to give my small grain of sand to this great project that is Mars.

Ad Astra!

Atila Meszaros


¡Hola a todos!

Mi nombre es Atila Meszaros y tengo el honor de ser el primer interno de The Mars Society. Me encuentro en el MDRS desde hace más de un mes. Durante las primeras semanas (durante la rotación de la tripulación de Purdue), investigué toda la literatura e información necesaria para empezar a trabajar en el proyecto del Aquaponics.

¿Qué es el Aquaponics? Es un sistema que se comporta como un pequeño ecosistema: combina peces, plantas y bacterias para generar procesos de mayor eficiencia. Los peces excretan amoniaco, el cual al acumularse llega a ser tóxico, el agua con amoniaco pasa a través de biofiltros, los cuales contienen bacterias fijadoras de nitrógeno. Estas pequeñas son las encargadas de convertir el amoniaco en nitritos y posteriormente en nitratos, los cuales, no solo no son tóxicos, sino sirven como nutrientes para las plantas. De esta manera, las plantas filtran el agua, la cual regresa hacia los peces, prácticamente nueva. El objetivo de la investigación es comprobar si es realmente ventajoso un aquaponics en un Habitat Análogo Marciano, respecto a los métodos de jardinería comunes.

Fui uno de los tripulantes de la fantástica tripulación latinoamericana 187. Durante mi rotación, pude ensamblar casi todo el equipo, mientras trabajaba a la par en mi proyecto relacionado con la resistencia de semillas peruanas a suelo análogo marciano. Las semillas que estoy usando son de quinoa y kiwicha. Ambas son de los frutos con mayor contenido nutricional, y saber que ambas son potentes candidatas para futuras misiones marcianas, es el objetivo del proyecto.

La tripulación de Supaero estará llegando el día de mañana, y con suerte la parte agropónica (sin peces) del aquaponics estará funcionando. Para compensar la falta de peces (y su residuo: amoniaco), se añadirá nutrientes externos. El proyecto del aquaponics, es uno a largo plazo, y para conseguir todos los objetivos voy a realizar una guía protocolo la cual servirá a los futuros Green Hab Officers para que puedan guiarse durante el transcurso de la investigación. Sé que estará en muy buenas manos.

Por otro lado, la caza de los halófilos recién ha empezado. Los halófilos son seres que, no solo soportan las altas cantidades de sales, sino que, en ella, se encuentran en su estado óptimo. Para encontrarlos, estamos buscando en yeso en distintas áreas donde ya se ha registrado anteriormente su presencia. Ya hemos definido los puntos de interés y ya he sido entrenado para la cacería.

También, me considero el ayudante de Shannon y apoyo en todo lo que sea necesario. Uno de mis objetivos personales del internado es aprender todo lo que pueda de ella. Es una fantástica persona y sobre todo, una increíble maestra.

En el transcurso de estas semanas, los reportes de ciencias van a aumentar, por todo el trabajo que estaremos haciendo. ¡Échele un ojo!

Al finalizar el internado, realizaré un reporte final con todos los proyectos que hemos realizado y los avances de todas las investigaciones.

Es un honor poder dar mi pequeño grano de arena a este gran proyecto que es Marte.

Ad Astra!

POSTED ONFEBRUARY 10, 2018 Science Report – February 10th Update information:

The crew who vomited yesterday recovered well.

The crew performed regular work completely.

The crew had enough sleep and rest in the last night.

The crew had breakfast and lunch today as normal. Currently, the crew has an appetite.

There are no adverse symptoms relating to the allergy observed for the crew.

Status: Recovered

Thank you.

Sincerely, Tatsunari Tomiyama, AHFP

POSTED ONFEBRUARY 2, 2018 Science Report – February 2nd Astronomy Report

Name: Julia De Marines

Crew: 188

Date: 02/02/2018

Sky conditions: Hazy

Wind conditions: low to none

Observation start time 4:30 pm

Observation end time: 5:00 pm

Summary: The last two days have been fairly cloudy and I decided to wait until a sunny day to begin solar observing. This morning was very clear and sunny but I was out on an EVA until 13:00 hours. After lunch and some down time I went out to use the Helioscope. By the time I familiarized myself with the equipment and procedures and programing the teslecope, the sun was starting to get low on the horizon. Also, I goofed and put in Daylight Savings Time instead of Standard Time, so I had to redo the programming of the telescope to be positioned correctly. I have a similar control to my personal telescope so it wasn’t a big deal; however, it just ate away at precious time. By the time I had the sun in the eyepiece, it was quite challenging to be able to see the Sun as the eyepiece was too high. I wasn’t sure if there was a way to rotate the direction of the eyepiece to yield a more favorable angle. I didn’t see an obvious way but perhaps I missed something. Stepping on the small chair in the dome is not a safe idea either. I was able to snap a few shots of the sun though the H-Alpha filter through my phone but it is probably not in focus and the sun was dipping below the lip of the dome retractable door.

Objects viewed: Sun

Problems encountered: Eyepiece too high to easily view the sun. Programmed the scope incorrectly at first, observed too late in the day.

Further questions: I was hoping to get some advice or suggestions on an astrophotography artist project I had in mind. I was inspired by watching the sun setting over the nearby hills and I was wondering if there would be a way to capture my crew eclipsing the sun as it is setting over the hill? It isn’t feasible with the Helioscope because the lip of the dome door is too high and I think the magnification is too high. Also, I think the Hab will eclipse the dome before the Sun sets judging by the shadow of the hab as I was leaving the dome. With the equipment we have available, can you think of a way to do this? We were able to accomplish this at Sommers Bosch observatory in Boulder but it’s been too long for me to recall details of how they did this. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for a safe way to accomplish this! Thank you!


POSTED ONJANUARY 20, 2018 Science Report – January 20th Good evening Earthlings,

A summary of the crewmembers research follows:



This drone will map the soil of the MDRS during two weeks which will help to take images at 40 meters of height to be later analyzed by a digital processing software which will help us to better understand the characteristics of the Mars surface as well the automatic pilot of drone will help to astronauts recollecting information in difficult areas to explore. After that Using digital image processing algorithms, we will determine the characteristics of the surface of the MDRS using Matlab to analyze the images taken by the drone.



This device will monitor with the E.C.G sensor as well as some important aspects like the pressure before each EVA of Crew 187 LATAM-II. This device will be able to measure the internal temperature of the astronaut as well as the humidity inside the suit in addition ECG module moreover the body position, galvanic response skin that will transmit the data to the user interface to PC and will get the support to Crew 187.



Analyze the dynamics of different cognitive abilities and its relationship with fatigue levels during the mission, in astronauts and to compare them against a matched control group of external participants not related to the Analogue Simulation. Fourteen adults will be part of the study. A control/cases design will be employed. 7 subjects that are part of the astronauts group of Crew 187 LATAM-II and seven persons paired to every participant from the cases group will be used as the control group. The groups will be paired by the sex, age, lateral dominance and level of studies. The subjects from the support group and the control paired will be chosen voluntarily. The study will be divided in three stages: “pre-mission”, “during-mission” and “post-mission “In each stage, fourteen participants will solve assigned COGNIFIT and Multidimensional Fatigue Test.



Analyze the dynamics of cooperation and reciprocity between the Analogue Simulation Crew 187 LATMA-II members 2 women and 4 men between 23 and 30 years old will be part of the study. After that the information of the cooperative behavior between crew members during the analogue simulation to Mars, will be apply a Collective-Risk Social Dilemma in which six astronauts will be players and one coordinator. This task will be applied five times for two weeks.


Our search for the lovers of extreme just began. Halophiles are organisms that can flourish on high salinity environments, and MDRS sorroundings are the perfect place to haunt them. We’ve made a Halophile Sampling Method Protocol for tomorrow’s EVA to perform a regular sampling on El Dorado Canyon and it will be useful for our next explorations on Copernicus Highway.

The aquaponics isn’t running yet, but it’s almost completely build up. New Moringa seeds are coming pretty soon. We are waiting to do some equipment tests and after that, only one week will be necessary to start running it.

Today Atila’s project related to quinoa and kiwicha just began, pictures showing the planted pots with the seeds on the Mars analog soil are attached. We are looking forward to seeing those babies germinate. Previous germination test suggests that we are expecting seedlings for Sol 12. We will let you know

Researcher: Luis Jose Antonio Diaz Lopez

It was checked that the control modules: DS18B20 + RTC DS3132 + SD CARD are working correctly. The programming of the microcontroller is ready to perform the measurement of the two temperature sensors to obtain the values inside and outside the suit used during the EVA’s. The data sensors are transmitted to a cell phone via a bluetooth module and also store them in a .csv file inside a microsd card for further processing. Tomorrow (SOL 9) it will be tested in a EVA.

Researcher: Tania Robles

Science communication and documentary to space projects of young scientist and professionals in Latin America.

Progress: The documentary process on the participation of young people in space science and technology in Latin America has advanced. According to the observation of the behavior and participation of the crew members, videos and notes about each member have been taken.

Today, the first personal interview was held with the GreenHab Officer, where personal and professional issues related to their projects, decisions and future in the space area in their country and in the international community have been addressed.

In the following days, the missing members will be interviewed and shots will be taken in each one of the work and development environments of the crew members.

Researcher: Oscar Ojeda

Progress: There are two projects in course, the testing of the Cóndor Space Suit Simulator, and the Testing of the PXCM based wheel for a planetary rover. All systems had to be transported completely unassembled, so the first task was related with the assembly and testing of them. At this point the Rover is completely assembled and the software will be tested in the next two Sols. The Space Suit Simulator has already been assembled and tested on short range and mid-range EVAs, the systems of the suit are all nominal, and further testing on mid and long range EVAs will be undertaken in the last 7 Sols.

Researcher: David Mateus

The lysimeter has been assembled and calibrated, in this moment it is tested with Martian soil and without plants. tomorrow It is expected to replant quinoa over the soil that it is tested. The idea is to measure evapotranspiration over this soil, in order to make a list of recommendations to improve the conditions on the greenhab, with the objective of reducing this phenomenon.

Researcher: Cynthia Yacel Fuertes Panizo

Mobile application as help agent in MDRS


The purpose of the application is to benefit the majority of the crew members, that’s why I analyzed the market share of mobile operating systems worldwide, a report published quarterly by Gartner, a leading company in market research. worldwide in the technology area. Therefore, the app will be developing to Android.

In order to choose the software of the tools that will be necessary like game engine, IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and augmented reality SDK, the following methodology will be use: First, list the different kind of software of each tool. Second, get the list of the top software. The third step is composed by two parts quantitative and qualitative analysis. Finally, the software of the tools is selected. In this way, Unity (game enginee), Monodevelop (IDE) and Vuforia (augmented reality SDK) are chosen (1).

One of the outputs of this project is an app for the crew astronomers. The target of this app will be the Hand Control of the Musk Observatory, and as it’s appreciate in the picture attached, the app already recognizes the real Hand control.

(1) C. Fuertes Panizo, “Aplicativo móvil de realidad aumentada para mejorar el proceso de enseñanza – aprendizaje”, 2017.

POSTED ONJANUARY 15, 2018 Astronomy Report – January 15th Science – Astronomy

Name: Cynthia Fuertes Panizo

Crew: 187

Date: 15JAN2018

Sky Conditions: N/A

Wind Conditions: N/A

Observation Start Time: N/A

Observation End Time: N/A


Just the status of the Musk Observatory was checked.

· Inside the Manual box was a battery (picture 1).

· Inside Quick Guides box, the Quick Guide and a hand control were found with an advice that said “Spare hand control. Please do not use unless instructed by the astronomy team”. Don’t worry, there is not an intention to use it (picture 2).

· The black box “Sirius Observatories” was turn on. After cheeked the full status of the Musk Observatory, I turned it off (picture 3).

· The picture of the astronomy box is attached (picture 4).

· The astronomy laptop was found in a case on the shelf in the lower hab (picture 5).

· In general, the Musk Observatory looks in good condition. I can’t wait to see the sun from Mars.

Objects Viewed: N/A

Problems Encountered: N/A