For the tenth time, a crew of seven students from ISAE SUPAERO, a French engineering school specialized in aerospace and aeronautics, has been selected to embark on a month-long analog mission from February 18, 2024, to March 16, 2024. This mission will take place at the Mars Research Desert Station (MDRS) located in the Utah desert. The primary objective is to conduct scientific experiments within a simulated Martian habitat, with the aim of improving our understanding and preparing for future human space exploration.
The purpose of this call for scientific projects is to identify experiments and technology demonstrations that can be conducted in a simulated habitat located in the Utah desert.
This call is open to research groups, companies, groups of students, and start-ups.
The Mars Desert Research Station, owned by the Mars Society, is an analog base designed to simulate Martian conditions in the Utah desert. Located in a geologically similar area to the Red Planet, it offers complete isolation. The station consists of various structures, including a living space with an airlock, a scientific dome, a greenhouse, two telescopes, and a repair module. It regularly hosts international crews for missions lasting around two weeks. However, for ISAE-Supaero's 10th mission, we have the fortunate opportunity to utilize the station for a full month.
The objective of the mission is to conduct a simulation that closely resembles the constraints one would encounter on Mars, such as limited food, communication, resources, and a strict timetable. Several times a week, a portion of the crew will venture outside the station for approximately three to four hours, fully suited up in spacesuits. These outings will involve intense work sessions, deploying experimental equipment, conducting tests, and gathering data. Your project can be conducted both inside and outside the station, in which case it will be managed during these extravehicular excursions.
For more information, please visit the Mars Society website (mdrs.marssociety.org)
A team of 7 students from ISAE-SUPAERO, supervised by Stéphanie Lizy-Destrez, professor and researcher at the institute, has been selected. Each crew member holds a specific role within the team. The commander, chosen for his prior mission experience, leads the crew. Supporting him are a health and safety officer, a crew engineer, crew botanist, a crew scientist, a crew astronomer, and a journalist.
Every scientific project is assigned to a crew member who takes responsibility for its execution. The program is precisely detailed and optimized, as in a space mission. Time slots are allocated in the schedule of the relevant member(s) based on the project's requirements. Thanks to a diverse range of expertise within the team, a large spectrum of scientific experiments can be conducted, whether they are related to space exploration or utilize the unique environment of Utah's desert.
For more information about the previous 9 missions, please visit our website (mars.bde-supaero.fr/en).
The submission deadlines for project proposals are as follows:
- September 1, 2023: For experiments requiring ethics committee review.
- October 1, 2023: For all other experiments.
- November 1, 2023: For technology demonstrations.
However, we only take on a limited number of experiments. The selection committee will meet regularly to review the applications and contact those who have submitted them. We therefore advise you to submit your project as soon as possible.
The final protocol and training of the experimenter(s) must be completed by January 18, 2024.
We will get back to you with the dossier to be completed.
The project should not exceed two hours per working day. Like the International Space Station, Sundays are designated as a rest day for the crew. Research teams should take this into account when planning their experiments.
The project team undertakes to supply all the equipment needed to carry out the experiment and to pay the transport costs to get it to the USA and back. The equipment will be returned at the end of the experiment. It should be noted that certain types of equipment cannot be transported on the plane and must be purchased in the USA or shipped in advance.
The mission coordinators believe that high-quality experimental work by students should be acknowledged. Therefore, if the experiment leads to a scientific publication, it is recommended to include the experimenter's name in the publication.
If the experiment involves human subjects, it is necessary to have the protocol reviewed by an ethics committee and obtain approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB serves as the American standard for ensuring ethical approval of research protocols. In order to collect data, it is mandatory to go through an ethics committee review in the United States, as well as in the country where the data will be utilized. Previous research teams have collaborated with the HML IRB committee in the United States (healthmedialabirb.com).These teams underwent an "expedited review" process, which is applicable when the risks involved do not exceed those encountered in everyday life. This expedited review typically takes only a few days to complete and incurs a cost of $750. However, it is important to note that if the risks associated with the experiment are higher, a standard procedure may take a bit longer (around ten working days) and the cost may also increase accordingly. Regardless of the situation, it is the responsibility of the project team to send to us a valid IRB, enabling us to conduct the experiment in the United States, before January 18, 2024.
The project team must provide a clear and detailed experimental protocol. The analog astronaut in charge of the experiment undertakes to strictly follow it.
The project team agrees to contribute to 600 euros towards the rental costs of the station.
The project team is responsible for training the crew members for their assigned tasks.
For the mission taking place from February 18, 2024, to March 16, 2024, the project team must be able to respond to any questions from the crew within 24 hours. Communication will be via email only, during a designated 2-hour window each day.
For further information, please contact email@example.com
We would also be delighted to schedule a video conference to provide a detailed overview of the mission and address any questions you may have before you submit your project.
To submit your project, please complete the questionnaire here.