Postcards from Mars

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Advanced plant growth modeling against varied CO2

Plant growth versus CO2 levels The initial effort is underway to introduce varied plant growth performance based on varied input levels of critical currencies, starting with carbon dioxide (CO2). Grant Hawkins of the SIMOC development team is simultaneously preparing a paper for the International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES 2022) as he develops a deeper understanding of these known functions, as assembled through a literature review.

By |2022-01-16T06:34:27+00:00January 12th, 2022|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

Six abstracts accepted to ICES 2022

Today the SIMOC and SAM teams received notice of acceptance of six research abstracts to the ICES 2022 conference!

“Integrating Mushrooms into an Agent-based Model of a Physico-chemical and Bioregenerative ECLSS” by Sean Gellenbeck, UA PhD Student and aerospace engineer at Paragon. This paper will bring Sean’s PhD research into the SIMOC agent-based model. Cool!

“Lessons learned from the construction of a hi-fidelity, hermetically sealed Mars analog and research station” by Kai Staats, Trent Tresch, John Adams. This is a re-submit as we did not have SAM far enough along to write a proper paper, in Feb/Mar of this year.

“Parameter Space Exploration of Entropic Systems in a Mars Habitat” by Grant Hawking and Ezio Melotti. Grant joined the SIMOC development team this summer and has demonstrated himself as capable and tireless. With our lead developer Ezio and a bit of guidance by myself, we will explore the effect of increased entropy against a steady-state baseline in our agent-based model. This brings us back to my very first design session in June 2017. We have arrived!

“Responses to Elevated CO2 on Food Production and Life Support Systems in a Mars Habitat” is another proposed research project by Grant that is a combination of developing an advanced model in SIMOC whereby the correlation of CO2 levels to plant production is both informed by and the validated against published research and data. This is a solid challenge, but if we can pull it off, it will be highly valuable.

“Integrating real-time data from a Mars habitat analog into an educational web interface” by the ASU undergraduate Capstone team Meridith, Gregory, Ian, Ryan, and David. This paper describes how real-life data can be provided to citizen-scientists, establishing a tangible interface between simulation and real-world systems. Congrats for taking on this incredible challenge and even greater reward!

“On the creation of a compact solution for monitoring air quality in a Mars habitat analog” also by the ASU undergraduate Capstone team, provides a clear methodology for citizen scientists and researchers alike to monitor atmospheric quality of any enclosed space … life support system integration, by which collected data can be used to calibrate indoor air conditions for any extraterrestrial habitat. The team gave a live demo of the first live feed just last week!

By |2022-01-16T06:50:09+00:00December 13th, 2021|Categories: Publications|0 Comments

Demonstration of live data feed from sensor to SIMOC!

Today the ASU Computer Science Capstone team conducted a live demo of a sensor generating data and delivering it into the SIMOC front-end dashboard. This marks an exciting point in development as we move to provide SAM with a rich, dynamic sensor array for real-time monitoring of the breathable air, capture of the data for local observation, and display to the world via the National Geographic hosted SIMOC interface.

– interpolated every second
– 24 seconds load and cache
– demonstrated an increase to 14,000 ppm with Greg’s breathing on the sensor
It works! and looks great!

By |2022-01-16T07:03:18+00:00December 5th, 2021|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

A half year in review: Jun-Nov 2021

The SIMOC development team lead by core Python developer Ezio Melotti and Grant Hawkins, and Meridith, Greg, Ryan, David, and Ian of the Arizona State University Computer Science Capstone team have made significant strides in SIMOC development this past six months.

A major re-write of the Advanced Configuration Editor (ACE) now matches the current agent descriptions and capabilities, enabling local-install users to modify and download the configuration file, which can then be used on local installations to run custom simulations.

Other updates include:
* Jun 21, FE/INFRA: added linting check to the front-end
* Jun 23, BE/INFRA: added a basic testing framework
* Jul 1-9, BE: removed the ACE
* Jul 13, BE/SAM: added SAM agents
* Jul 26, FE: new confirmation popup
* Jul 28, FE: improved plant validation
* Jul 29, FE/INFRA: update docker image and dependencies

A User feedback survey is now included, made available from the Main menu and prompted when
exiting a simulation for the first time. This enables the SIMOC development team and sponsor National Geographic to receive feedback from users during run-time engagement.

The new 3D view now matches the user-defined habitat configuration, visible on both the Configuration and Dashboard screens.

Other updates include:
* Aug 4, FE: new modal popups
* Aug 9, FE: added the survey
* Sep 8, BE: added documentation with Sphinx
* Sep 11, FE: update to VueJS 3, bumped FE version to 1.0.0
* Sep 13, FE: added the 3D view
* Sep 22, BE/INFRA: removed DockerHub dependency
* Sep 23, BE/INFRA: removed staging branch, misc infra updates
* Sep 27, FE: improved the 3D view, fixed bugs, added rocket
* Sep 28, FE: added the script
* Sep 29, BE/ABM: added a CO2 tank and makeup valve agents

The holy grail of software development, SIMOC now incorporates Pytest for unit and integration testing for the SIMOC configuration files, model and agents. Finally!

Other updates include:
* Oct 5, BE/ABM: refactored connections and added the agent_conn.json file
* Oct 10, FE/INFRA: disabled artifact creation on GitHub
* Oct 12, BE/ABM: all agents are now storages too
* Oct 18, BE/INFRA: added custom SSL certs for NGS
* Oct 20, BE/ABM: atmo storages included in cq/gh, added atmo_equalizer agent
* Oct 26, BE/INFRA: added a separate DB for testing and more BE tests
* Oct 27, BE/ABM: added the currency_desc.json file
* Oct 29, BE/INFRA: added an adminer container for DB inspection
* Nov 2, BE/ABM: created the data_files dir and moved the JSON files there
* Nov 2, BE/ABM: currency classes, sold_fertilizer replaced sold_n/p/k, more tests
* Nov 13, BE/ABM: food/ration prioritization

By |2022-01-16T07:03:52+00:00November 26th, 2021|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

Food versus Rations

Food vs Rations design by Grant Hawkins for SIMOC Food vs Rations design by Grant Hawkins for SIMOC Food vs Rations design by Grant Hawkins for SIMOC

Early in the development of SIMOC we recognized the need to differentiate various kinds of food. While it it is the ultimate goal to track energy from fats, sugars, and proteins, we are immediately concerned with distinguishing food from rations, meaning, the food grown in-hab from the food brought from Earth. This sounds simple enough, yet it invokes a function not yet implemented in SIMOC—the ability to prioritize one currency over another in the presence of both.

SIMOC team member Grant Hawkins took on this challenge and this week complete made major strides with the effort, which invoked a moderate redesign of the means by which agents (e.g. Humans) consume their respective currencies (e.g. food, rations, water, etc.). As such, local food is the first priority for consumption, but if depleted, the humans return to consumption of rations.

By |2022-01-16T06:28:21+00:00November 3rd, 2021|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

ASU CS Capstone help design SAM data services

ASU CS Capstone team generates draft SAM sensor array for SIMOC

Initiated in early October, the Arizona State University undergraduate Computer Science Capstone team, in concert with Ezio, Grant, and Kai of the SIMOC development team have completed a second-draft work-flow for the sensor array to be embedded in the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM) at Biosphere 2.

This design will continue to evolve as SAM is constructed and the SIMOC team dives into real-world sensor tests in place of the current SIMOC simulated data. Stay tuned!

By |2022-01-16T06:18:21+00:00October 31st, 2021|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

Are you ready to live on Mars?

A live demonstration of SIMOC, a Mars habitat simulator and educational web interface.

This event was hosted by Cory Newman, Executive Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association, with guests Kai Staats, Director of Research for SAM at Biosphere 2, Gretchen Hollingsworth, classroom instructor at the Barrow Academy of Arts & Science, and Tyson Brown, Editorial Director of the Resource Library at National Geographic Society.

Learn how SIMOC is used in an 8th grade classroom as an engaging tool for STEM education.

By |2021-11-05T16:30:30+00:00October 27th, 2021|Categories: Videos|0 Comments

3D view of habitat added to Wizard, Dashboard

Screenshot of the new 3D interface to SIMOC

The SIMOC development team has added the long-awaited 3D view of the habitat, available to the user both while configuring the habitat and on the SIMOC simulation dashboard. Users enjoy a dynamic visual representation of the habitat provided by space architecture designer Bryan Versteeg of SpaceHabs, such that as they select varied sizes of the habitat components, the image updates.

By |2022-01-16T06:55:24+00:00September 13th, 2021|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

Arizona State University Computer Science Capstone team joins SIMOC!

We are pleased to welcome David Wingar, Gregory Ross, Ian Castellanos, Meredith Greythorne, and Ryan Meneses to the SIMOC team for the next nine months. They will be working with SIMOC developers Ezio Melotti and Grant Hawkins to build a new back-end to the SIMOC web interface, providing a live data feed from the array of sensors in SAM, the hi-fidelity Mars habitat analog being constructed at the Biosphere 2.

By |2021-10-04T18:59:18+00:00September 7th, 2021|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

SIMOC Publication at ICES 2021

ICES 2021, July 12-14, 2021
The paper “SIMOC – A hi-fidelity simulation of off-world, human habitation and bioregenerative life support as a platform for citizen scientists and virtual classrooms” was presented to the virtual International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES) 2021 was authored by Kai Staats and Ezio Melotti of Over the Sun, LLC;, Tyson Brown of National Geographic Society; Pete Barnes of the New Albany Intermediate school; Gretchen Hollingsworth of the Barrow Arts & Sciences Academy; and Michael Pope of the Zama American Middle/High School, Japan.

Watch the virtual presentation (above) | Read the full paper.

By |2021-08-07T17:46:15+00:00July 15th, 2021|Categories: Publications|0 Comments