Analogue Planetary Missions
(An actual visualization of the landing site and the Habitat developed by M.A.R.S. Project, in which PMAS 2017 astronauts will stay during the mission. Marshub.org. Credit: M.A.R.S. Project, Space Is More, Jan Popowski)
Analogue Simulation missions are notable steps of real space exploration missions, where the hardware, along with the psychological behavior, the scientific and geological experiments, and operations are scrutinized and conducted in a simulated Martian environment to prepare astronauts and space agencies for actual missions. Comprehensive research is done during each simulation mission to expand our knowledge and understanding of the systems and operations of possible future space operations.
The idea is to study certain aspects that will become important for a real Mars mission, such as the operations (procedures, time-delayed communication, planning strategies, infrastructure, etc), the group dynamics (psychological effects of isolation, working efficiency, etc), testing engineering concepts and performing scientific experiments. These studies will result in valuable data and experiences worthwhile of publishing and presenting at conferences at the end of the mission.
How Is This Mission Different From Other Simulation Missions?
The Poland Mars Analogue Simulation 2017 (PMAS 2017) Mission will be notable among the Mars analogue simulations undertaken so far, as it aims to evaluate the joint human and robotic surface operations, conduct Controlled investigations and experiments in psychology and human factors, evaluate the performance of astronauts conducting geologic fieldwork, test plant growth on simulated Martian soil, and engage and involve the public in actual space research. The most significant outcome of this mission will be to prove that the systems, capabilities, and operations we use to explore Mars are sustainable and efficient, requiring little or no support from Earth. To do so, a set of objectives were proposed and subdivided into primary and secondary objectives.