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Analog Astronaut Conference 2021

This coming Saturday, May 1 is the first-ever Analog Astronaut Conference. This first-of-its-kind forum is assembled in part by Dr. Sian Proctor, a member of the Inspiration 4 all-civilian mission to space.

The conference agenda is as follows:
09:00 – 09:55 EDT Keynote Astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski
10:00 – 10:55 EDT Analog Astronaut Research Panel
11:00 – 11:30 EDT Keynote Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj
11:30 – 12:00 EDT Break
12:00 – 12:55 EDT Space Training Programs Panel
13:00 – 13:55 EDT Analog Habitats Panel
14:00 – 14:30 EDT Keynote Dr. Sian Proctor
14:30 – 15:00 EDT Break
15:00 – 15:55 EDT Diversity and Inclusion in Analogs Panel
16:00 – 16:55 EDT Analog Astronaut Science Communication and the Arts

SAM Director Kai Staats will be participating in the Analog Habitats Panel.

We hope to see you there!

By |2021-04-28T05:19:50+00:00April 28th, 2021|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

SIMOC and SAM featured at Sky-Lights, by science educator Dan Heim

Self-sufficient life support diagram by Dan Heim Former high school physics professor, lifelong amateur astronomer, and author of the Sky Lights, a weekly blog about things you see in the sky (and some you can’t see). Dan’s animated essays cover a wide range of disciplines including astronomy, meteorology, climatology, chemistry, physics, optics, earth & space science, and others.

This past two publications Dan has discussed Surviving in Space, with an emphasis on what it would take to make the International Space Station self-sustaining versus a habitat on the Moon or Mars. Dan writes, “Last week we looked at whether the ISS could be made totally self-sufficient and never require supply missions from Earth. The short answer was “yes” but the practical answer was “no”. However, in a colony on a moon or planet where outside resources (like water and minerals) are available, self-sufficiency is much easier.”

Surviving in Space – Part 1 and Part 2.

Enjoy!

By |2021-04-10T19:12:06+00:00April 5th, 2021|Categories: Publications, SAM|0 Comments

Biosphere 2 Deputy Director John Adams conducts pressure suit test at SAM

Biosphere 2 Deputy Director John Adams conduct pressure suit test at SAM

A decade ago archaeologist at Portland State Dr. Cameron Smith redirected his knowledge and passion for human history toward the future of our species as we become interplanetary. His academic publications and books project a social—even biological evolution as we move to the planets and stars.

Suit sketches by Cameron Smith Cameron launched Pacific Spaceflight (PSF) to explore design, construction, and validation of low-cost, fully functional pressure suits that enable every-day citizens to reach the edge of space and beyond. These personal spacecraft are a critical aspect of off-world exploration, no matter if you are at 65,000 feet above sea level, on-orbit, or on the Moon or Mars. More than a novelty, PSF suits have been tested under water, in vacuum chambers, in the open cockpit of aircraft and in high altitude balloon projects. Cameron’s dynamic team of volunteers (including Kai Staats and Trent Tresch of a Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM)) have both contributed to and been influenced by his critical work.

John Adams in a pressure suit, SAM at Biosphere 2 On Tuesday, March 2, at 7:00 am John Adams, Deputy Director of the University of Arizona Biosphere 2 engaged in the other-world journey of donning a pressure suit to conduct a number of tests for mobility and tool use, both of which can be challenging when encumbered by a sealed suit under greater than ambient pressure.

This endeavor was conducted inside and around the historic Biosphere 2 Test Module, now five weeks into a major refurbish and construction endeavor as the cornerstone of SAM. This event was a fully immersed operational test of the equipment, suit, and procedures which SAM researchers will enjoy when a part of this analog experience. SAM has purchased two suits from Smith Aerospace Garments that will be available for team members to use in the half acre SAM Mars yard just outside of the living quarters and Test Module.

The specs for this particular pressure suit are as follows:

  • Suit model: Pacific Spaceflight, experimental Mk SE I (2018-2019)
  • Suit construction: sealed bladder with high-durability outer garment; attached boots and gloves with removable helmet
  • Air composition: standard mix of ~78/21% nitrogen/oxygen levels
  • Pressure inside the suit: ~1.0 psi over ambient
  • Suit pressure max spec: 3.5 psi over ambient
  • Compressed air source: dual feed, oil-free air compressor with 4 gallon reserve

Cameron engaged John in the suit-up procedure for approximately 30 minutes (full photo gallery below). At this time the air compressor inside the Test Module simultaneously fed John’s suit directly and a manifold that enables controlled gas exchange to the outside world. Of his own accord he opened the bulkhead door and proceeded outside. There, his feed line was switched to the manifold exterior. The momentary break from his air source was possible due to the suit acting as a short-duration buffer. SAM teams will carry a small, portable compressed air source that will provide continuous flow as feed lines are swapped from airlock to the hab exterior.

With the assistance of Cameron and Trent, John conducted a basic walk, followed by tool use, ladder climb, CO2 level check, and ascent of the exterior of the Test Module lung. This prototype suit was designed for mobility, but has been surpassed by the current models which will be delivered to SAM by late spring 2021.

In conclusion John shared, “The suit is amazing! I feel really good … all things considered, you still have quite a bit of dexterity, quite a bit of ability to lift your legs, to move around complex objects. To have an opportunity to experience a pressurized suit in a simulation setting is incredible. I feel really fortunate to have this opportunity.”

We extend our thanks to the University of Arizona’s Aaron Bugaj for exceptional photography, Katie Morgan for work with social media, and Megan Russell and Britney Swiniuch for your support and enthusiasm for this first-ever pressure suit test at SAM.

By |2021-04-23T02:47:42+00:00March 4th, 2021|Categories: SAM|0 Comments

Universe Today article about Biosphere 2, SAM

Universe Today by Matthew Williams

Space and Sustainability: How the Lessons of Biosphere 2 Inspired SAM²
by Matt Williams
January 27, 2021

A lot has been said, penned, and documented about the famous experiment known as “Biosphere 2” (B2). For anyone whose formative years coincided with the early 90s, this name probably sounds familiar. Since the project launched in 1991, it has been heavily publicized, criticized, and was even the subject of a documentary – titled “Spaceship Earth” – that premiered in May of 2020.

To listen to some of what’s been said about B2 (even after 30 years), one might get the impression that it was a failure that proved human beings cannot live together in a sealed environment for extended periods of time. But in truth, it was a tremendous learning experience, the results of which continue to inform human spaceflight and ecosystem research today. In an era of renewed interplanetary exploration, those lessons are more vital than ever.

This is the purpose behind the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM²), a new analog experiment led by Kai Staats and John Adams. Along with an international team of specialists, experts from the University of Arizona, and support provided by NASA, the National Geographic Society, and commercial partners, SAM² will validate the systems and technology that will one-day allow for colonies on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Read the full article

By |2021-04-10T19:01:07+00:00January 28th, 2021|Categories: In the news, SAM|0 Comments

Trent Tresch, Kai Staats of SAM attend The Space Show

The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston

Tuesday 05 Jan 2021
Interview with Trent Tresch and Kai Staats of the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM)

Dr. David Livingston writes in summary of the interview, “We welcomed Trent Tresch back to the show and Kai Staats for the first time to discuss the SAM analog study at Biosphere 2 in Arizona. Our 65 minute discussion started by my asking Kai about his background and what specifically led him to the point of developing the SAM simulation model. Trent had experiences … that not only brought him in contact with Kai but to playing a substantial role in developing space [related projects] and the SAM.”

Download the entire interview …

By |2021-04-10T19:01:45+00:00January 6th, 2021|Categories: Publications, SAM|0 Comments

SIMOC Phase IVa upgrade live at Nat Geo

SIMOC Phase IV update

The first of the Phase IV updates to SIMOC is now live at the National Geographic server. This release marks a return to the evolution of the SIMOC user interface after several months work on an automated build and deployment pipeline by the development team. The current effort is focused on reducing the quantity of dashboard panels where in a single panel will have an inset pull-down menu with multiple options.

Now the Production / Consumption panel can display carbon dioxide, oxygen, water, and energy. Front-end developer Ezio Melotti states, “With the automated build and deployment system in place, we are now able to release SIMOC updates on a regular basis with the confidence of a fully tested environment. This first release lays the foundation for many more to come, soon.”

By |2021-01-21T05:36:08+00:00January 5th, 2021|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

Researchers integrate SIMOC into realworld experiments

Researchers Brittany Zimmerman, MSc of the University of North Dakota and Sean Gellenbeck, PhD student of the University of Arizona are each working on advanced plant physiology experiments in which SIMOC is integrated into their research project.

Sean will be growing mushrooms and algae in a closed/sealed environment while at the HI-SEAS analog on the Big Island of Hawaii. His work will introduce a new cultivar to SIMOC. Brittany will be conducting an experiment similar to that of Kai Staats in 2019 at the Biosphere 2. Where Kai and his team monitored CO2, photosynthetic activated radiation (PAR), temperature, relative humidity, and biomass accumulation for barley fodder to give foundation to a non-linear growth function, Brittany will be growing a number of cultivars already contained in the SIMOC model to compare the simulation data to the real experiments.

Both Brittany and Sean will be directly modifying the agent description file for a local installation of SIMOC. This enables them to customize the SIMOC simulation to match the working conditions of their experiments, including volume, air flow, ambient CO2, PAR etc.

We wish them both the best of luck, and are eager to publish the results later in 2021.

By |2021-01-21T16:32:06+00:00December 28th, 2020|Categories: Research & Development|0 Comments

SAM Symposium 2020

SAM Symposium 2020

The SAM Symposium 2020 is concluded with a dozen team members from around the world sharing their enthusiasm and expertise in helping our species become interplanetary.

You can watch all of the videos at samb2.space/sam/podcasts-videos

01 + 02 – Open with Kai Staats, and a welcome by Dr. Joaquin Ruiz, UA VP of Global Environmental Futures and Executive Director at Biosphere 2
03 – Taber MacCallum, Founder, Co-CEO & CTO for Space Perspective
04 – Ewan Reid, CEO of Mission Control Space Services
05 – Dr. Cameron Smith, Founder and Trent Tresch, Researcher at Smith Aerospace Garments
06 – Ezio Melotti, Lead front-end Developer at SIMOC
07 – Anastasiya Stepanova, Engineer at the Institute of Biomedical Problems and SIRIUS
08 – Dr. Shannon Rupert – Director of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS ), Mars Society
09 – Michael Blum and the UA CEAC / Mars-Lunar Greenhouse student team
10 – Coby Scheidemantel and the UA ENGR 498 Capstone student team
11 – Bryan Versteeg, Conceptual Designer at Space Habs
12 – John Adams, Deputy Director at Biosphere 2 and Kai Staats, Director of SAM

By |2021-02-04T06:14:39+00:00December 19th, 2020|Categories: SAM, Videos|0 Comments

Stage 1 construction of SAM is funded!

We are pleased to announce that the University of Arizona’s Tech Launch Arizona has provided funded for Stage 1 construction of SAM, a Space Analog for the Moon and Mars at the iconic Biosphere 2.

Tech Launch Arizona sees a unique opportunity to develop methods, procedures, and product driven IP for the advancement of human space exploration while improving our management of resources and sustained agriculture on Earth in the context of a changing climate.

This sets in motion the long-range plan to integrate SIMOC and SAM, where SIMOC improves its model of the complex nature of a human-in-the-loop closed ecosystem through data captured during SAM operations. SIMOC will then be given an AI engine with which it can monitor, manage, and control advanced, hermetically sealed human habitats on the Moon and Mars.

Cheers,
Kai Staats, Director of SAM at B2

By |2021-02-04T06:15:13+00:00October 30th, 2020|Categories: SAM|0 Comments

Mars Society 2020 video on SIMOC and SAM now available

Kai Staats presents SIMOC and SAM to the Mars Society 2020 virtual convention. He provides an introduction to SIMOC coupled with a live demonstration at the National Geographic website, and then provides the world premiere of SAM with a description of how these two projects inform each other, from simulation data collection, and eventually AI-driven management and real-time control of the life support system, plant growth, and more. Watch the presentation on the SIMOC videos page …

By |2021-04-10T19:02:29+00:00October 30th, 2020|Categories: SAM, Videos|0 Comments