21 August 2017
The Poland Mars Analogue Simulation (PMAS) was conducted in Eastern Europe from the 31st of July to the 13th of August. The Space Exploration Project Group (SEPG) worked for more than two years planning, designing, and executing the first combined Moon-Mars analogue mission in Poland.
The primary scientific goal was to produce data to improve existing procedures for a future crewed mission to Mars, and identify gaps to cover in future Mars analogue missions. For two weeks, a crew of six analogue astronauts conducted scientific research on geology, radiation, robotics, psychology, telemedicine, communications, 3D printing, simulated emergencies, biology and more. Also, PMAS gained a significant media exposure, improving the profile of SGAC, while producing substantial results in terms of outreach.
Due to some logistical issues, only 16 experiments, out of 18 experiments in total, were successfully conducted in the brand new Space Garden Company’s habitat, LUNARES. The 3D Printing and GreenHab experiments aim to explore the possibility of supporting humans in deep-space with little or no help from earth. The time delay in communications aims to assess the crew's efficiency and autonomy in a scenario similar to that of a real exploration mission. The Time Perception and Psychological Assessments aim to analyse the crew's behavior under extreme living conditions. The simulated Fire Emergency, simulated Solar Storm Emergency and Medical Procedures during an extravehicular activity (EVA) aim to improve the safety of the crew if a real emergency occurs during a real Mars mission. The Life Vest experiment aimed to improve the biodata collection from the astronauts during an EVA in an easier and a more comfortable way. The rover and ExoGeoLab Lander aimed to improve the procedures for human-robotic interaction for Mars exploration, and the geological sampling aimed to improve the analysis of Mars samples. The AMORE experiment aimed to test the radiation levels inside the hangar where we simulated the Lunar and Mars exploration sites, as well as outside the hangar, with procedures that could help us to measure radiation level on Mars.
The crew spent 14 days completely isolated, like in a real planetary mission, and 143 kilometers away from Mission Support Centre (MSC), located in the offices of ABM Space in Torun, where a team of more than 30 people provided them with full-time support. One of the most interesting steps during PMAS was the transition from Lunar Mode Simulation, where the communication between the Habitat and Mission Support Centre had no delay, to the Mars Mode Simulation, where a 15 minutes delay was introduced in each leg of communication (15 minutes one way and another 15 minutes back). This feature added an extra degree of reality, forcing the analogue astronauts to acquire an additional level of autonomy in case of emergencies. This fact that was tested during several simulated emergency scenarios, like fire in the habitat while on Mars and with time delay communications, procedures for a medical emergency during an extravehicular activity (EVA), and a solar storm reaching the location on Mars. The results and data from the PMAS mission will be analysed by our principal investigators (PI’s) in the upcoming weeks and will be used for planning and implementing future Mars analogue missions.
The international PMAS crew was composed of the crew commander João Lousada (Portugal), Poonam Josan (India/USA), Yael Kisel (Israel/USA/Mexico), Jennifer Pouplin (France), Axel Garcia (USA/Puerto Rico) and Cody Paige (Canada).
At the mission support centre there were four Flight Directors (FD) and Flight Director Assistants (FDA), six Capsule Communicators (CapCom), three Psychologists (PSC), three Science Data Officers (SDO), four Mission Doctors (MD), five Records Officers, two Technical Support people (TecSup), two Simulation Supervisors, six Media and Outreach (MOT) people, six people from the Planning and Scheduling Team (PST), and three people from the Science Team.
SGAC’s Space Exploration Project Group (SEPG) was created in 2014 to share the views of the next generation of leaders of the space sector about space exploration. By publishing papers, reports, workshops, and by performing analogue simulations, SEPG helps to connect students and young professionals with senior experts, disseminating their views within the larger space community. PMAS 2017 mission is an opportunity for SGAC members to gather their own research data, which will be beneficial for their research activities.
We thank all SGAC’s partners and sponsors that supported this project: Space Garden Spółka z o.o. for providing the LUNARES habitat, ABM Space Sp. z o.o for hosting PMAS FST and Mission Control at their facilities, International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG), ESA Moon Village, European Space Foundation, ZARM, World Space Week, Exosphere Academy, The Mars Society, ARES, Mars Society Polska, Mars Academy, Valles Marineris, AirThings, Polish Tactical Forces XIII, Free Fly Center, DLA ZDROWIA, CogniFit, ARPOL, Spaceflight Insider, Torun’s Copernicus University, Anastasia's composition, Daily Cosmos Blog, and the Orange Hostel.
For all PMAS 2017 media queries, please contact: