Mission to Mars… almost!

Good news!

I’m pleased to announce that I have been selected to take part in a two-week expedition as an analogue astronaut to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the Utah desert early this December. It is a facility to learn and prepare for what life on Mars will be like in future human space exploration missions. Over 170 crews have stayed at MDRS and I will be forming the 184th.

This is part of the dream becoming reality. Something I have worked long and hard for materialising into a stepping stone in the right direction. I believe this will allow me to get a taste for what it will be like to be an astronaut; to conduct experiments on behalf of other researchers, to learn new things, to perform outreach activities, and to work in a small international team in close proximity for extended periods of time, amongst other things.

Other members of my crew include: a medical doctor; a filmmaker and journalist; a spacecraft engineer for Sierra Nevada’s Dreamchaser; a weather satellite operations manager; and a flight controller for the International Space Station.

MDRS is owned and operated by the Mars Society and is a full-scale analogue facility in the Utah desert capable of conducting Earth-based research in pursuit of the technology, operations, and science required for human space exploration. Researchers have explored the geologically analogous Mars-like terrain in EVA spacesuits and ATVs, grown plants in the GreenHab for food production and oxygen generation, completed psychological assessments of crew behaviour and interactions, and tried to understand how communication delay affects human task performance. Many of the results of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Acta Astronautica and the International Journal of Astrobiology.

As part of my mission, I am seeking proposals for experiments that can be conducted during the two-week period by myself and my crew. To submit your research proposal, include: a brief outline of the research idea; what equipment you anticipate it requiring; how many crewmembers would be required and their time investment; a detailed guide on how you expect the project to be completed in the 2 week timeframe; and any crew training or debriefing requirements before or after the mission.

I would be more than happy to discuss your proposals via the contact page before the deadline on Friday 20th October by which date, you should send me the proposal documents. You can contact me from this blog, Twitter or LinkedIn. I look forward to hearing about your research proposals!

Also contact me if you would like to support the expedition and be part of the Mission Support ground crew team!

Watch this space(!) for updates on the mission!

If you would like a pdf of the call for proposals, it is available here: MDRS Call for Proposals

Photo credit: Twitter, @MDRSUpdates

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