For seven years in a row, students of ISAE-SUPAERO – a leading aerospace engineering school in Toulouse, have been tasked with simulating Martian life in the Mars Desert Research Station in the desert of Utah.
During this mission, unique in its type, we will live as astronauts on Mars by experiencing the same challenges as they would do. We aim to understand the issues and constraints of manned flight, while rethinking science in a Mars-like environment.
Developing scientific knowledge
Exploring planet Mars
We are seven undergraduate students at ISAE-SUPAERO. We run many projects this year, such as:
- The design of a spacesuit including a Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment (LCVG) and a Backpack
- Making a greenhouse using the stabilization technology
- Studies on zero gravity flights
- The design of a self-sufficient Martian city of a million people
Endorsed by our school, we help local high school students develop their interest for science by popularizing space science, and by taking part in various scientific events nearby.
With these successful projects, we can acquire firm scientific grounds in order to conduct efficiently any type of experiment.
The 2021 SUPAERO missions
During March 2021, the MDRS will welcome us for one simulated mission of four weeks.
This mission is conducted by 7 crew members:
- a commander, the leading veteran crew member
- an onboard engineer
- a botanist
- a biologist
- an astronomer
- a journalist
- an health and safety officer
The Station is composed by several modules:
- a habitation module, the main living compartment fitting in an 8 meter wide cylinder
- a repair and experimentation module
- a space observatory
- a greenhouse for botanic studies
A detailed list of on-site equipment is available on request
Your project with us
Each crew member is responsible of several scientific experiments. The timetable is meticulously detailed and optimized, as in a real space mission.
A timeframe is allocated for each experiment. The diversity of our roles ensures a successful outcome in any type of space-related scientific experiment.
Our participation in the MDRS mission appears every year on French and foreign media. It is therefore an opportunity for you to showcase your scientific projects.
Our project is endorsed by the technical section of ISAE-SUPAERO and by Stéphanie LIZY-DESTREZ, professor and director of the Space Advanced Concepts Laboratory – founded by ISAE-SUPAERO in partnership with Airbus and Ariane Group.
We have also been supported by the research community. In 2016, we collaborated with Jean-Pierre LEBRETON from the LATMOS laboratory, and in 2018 with Jean-Baptiste RENARD, the research director of the French CNRS.
In the past, we fulfilled projects such as:
- LOAC, an optical aerosol counter
- Mega-Ares, an onboard sensor on the 2016 ExoMars mission
- Aquapad, a water diagnosing system designed by bioMérieux – a product also tested by the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet on the ISS
In 2018, the French startup Dreem – specialized in improving sleep quality trusted us for an experiment which ran both before and after the mission.
Conditions and engagement
- The submitting team is responsible of preparing the experiment before departure.
- The submitting team engages to brief and train the operating student. Several students can be trained if necessary: a backup or second operator.
- The submitting team engages to provide students with necessary equipment to conduct the experiment. The aforementioned equipment will be returned to the owner after the mission.
- The handling time must not exceed one hour and half per day and per student. The crew is at rest on Sundays as on the ISS. The operating student engages to precisely follow the prescribed procedures.
- The submitting team engages financially in the mission, depending on the time required by the experiment:
- From 600 euros for two weeks
- From 1100 euros for four weeks
- The mission coordinators consider that the experimental work of the students should be recognized if its quality is satisfactory. In case where the experiment would lead to a scientific publishing, the submitting team is asked to mention the name of the operating student.
- If a human is the subject of the experiment, the submitting team must file a request at the Research Ethics Committee. It should be validated before departure.
Together, On To Mars!