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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

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 |2020-12-19T04:53:06+00:00December 19th, 2020|Categories: In the news, 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.

Construction begins the first week of November at the Biosphere 2.

Kai Staats, Director of SAM at B2

By |2020-10-30T18:52:24+00:00October 30th, 2020|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

SIMOC presented at the Mars Society Convention

SIOMC at Mars Society Convention 2020

The Mars Society’s 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention will convene Thursday-Sunday, October 15-18, 2020, across this planet via the Internet!

The Mars Society’s four-day, international, virtual conference brings together leading scientists, government policymakers, commercial space executives, science journalists and space advocates to discuss the latest scientific and technological developments and challenges related to the human and robotic exploration of Mars and the eventual human settlement of the Red Planet.

Kai Staats will give a talk and live demonstration of SIMOC followed by a unveiling of SAM, a hi-fidelity, hermetically sealed Mars analog being constructed at the iconic Biosphere 2.

Saturday, October 17
2:30 pm PDT (UTC -7)
Session Analog Bases (AB)-4
Staats presentation is available for download (PDF)

Join the convention for free at

By |2020-10-17T22:49:03+00:00October 13th, 2020|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

SIMOC launches with National Geographic!

SIMOC at National Geographic

We are proud to announce that SIMOC is now live at the National Geographic Education Resource Library!

This marks three years to the day since the official launch of this project, funded for two years at Arizona State University and by the University of Arizona for a study at Biosphere 2. The simulator is a research grade computational model with an educational web interface, complete with grades 5-14, Next Generation Science Standards curriculum.

We thank Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Biosphere 2, Paragon Space Development Corporation, and Ray Wheeler, Don Henninger, and John Connolly at NASA for their commitment and support to bringing SIMOC to life.

Now, we invite you to dive into the complexity, challenge, and reward of designing your own habitat, and then learning if you can survive living on Mars!

Get started!

By |2020-06-01T20:13:25+00:00June 1st, 2020|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

Arizona State University ‘ASU NOW’

Arizona State University 'ASU NOW' feature article

New computer platform for citizen scientists investigates potential closed-loop life support systems for Mars habitat.

Living off world will not be as simple as a science fiction movie. SIMOC — a new scalable interactive model of an off-world community — drives this home. The model is a pilot project from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration Interplanetary Initiative.

A research-grade computer model and web interface for citizen scientists of all ages to design and operate a human habitat on the red planet, SIMOC is anything but a game. It was built on published data for mechanical life support systems (like those used on the International Space Station) and bioregeneration (sustaining human life with plants) with guidance from experts at NASA, Paragon Space Development, ASU and the University of Arizona.

Read the full article at ASU NOW

By |2020-06-01T19:18:06+00:00June 1st, 2020|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

SIMOC, SAM featured at the Closed Worlds workshop, Biosphere 2

Closed Worlds banner

SIMOC project lead and principal developer of SAM Kai Staats will provide a one hour talk and live demo for the Life and Systems in Closed Worlds meeting at the Biosphere 2, December 11, 2019.

The French Centre National de la Recherche Scientique, ​the ​Ecole Normale Supérieure ​in Paris, Paris Sciences & Lettres University and its research program Origin and condition of Appearance of Life (OCAV), and the University of Arizona are jointly launching a new research initiative on Life and Systems in Closed Worlds involving social and natural scientists. This is an interdisciplinary initiative between ecologists, anthropologists, biologists, geochemists, space and planetary scientists, engineers, architects, and experts in robotics and AI. The goal is to tackle novel disciplinary and interdisciplinary questions arising from the study of closed living systems across multiple scales of space and time, from the small and short of micro-biospherics, through macro-systems such as Biosphere 2, Ecotrons or Bios, to the large and long of terraformation.

On behalf of the supporting institutions, the International Research Laboratory iGLOBES will convene a small group of experts to address interdisciplinary challenges arising from life and systems in closed worlds, and explore the potential for national and international collaborations. The meeting will be held at the University of Arizona Biosphere 2, 11-13 December 2019.

Download the full workshop description …

By |2019-11-30T21:44:14+00:00November 30th, 2019|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

Dartmouth team takes 1st place in NASA BIG Idea Challenge; used SIMOC

Photos of 2019 BIG Idea Challenge Forum Awards Ceremony, plus winning teams. Marsboreal Greenhouse Design

NASA’s 2019 BIG Idea Challenge Winner Designs Best Planetary Greenhouse

Dartmouth was announced the winning team of the fourth annual Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge April 24 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Massachusetts Institute of Technology University was awarded second place.

NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge engages universities in engineering design to develop space exploration concepts for the Moon to Mars. Earlier this year, five innovative designs for a human-scale Marsboreal greenhouse were selected to compete in the 2019 BIG Idea forum. Teams from Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Davis, University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Michigan convened at Langley April 23 to present their greenhouse designs and prototypes. The ideas are derived from the Mars ice home designs, with potential aspects that could be demonstrated on the Moon.

Similar to the SIMOC research project at the Biosphere 2, it was determined that SIMOC could be used to generate non-linear functions for CO2 sequestration for each of the principal plants used in the Dartmouth team’s design, thereby enabling a data-driven model for the transpiration of the total plant ecology. The Dartmouth team worked tirelessly to conduct an extensive literature review and data extraction, from which SIMOC was programmed to generate a reciprocal dataset and function for each of the modeled plants.

Learn more at

By |2019-04-25T01:28:48+00:00April 25th, 2019|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

Arizona Science Center set to host world’s first SIMOC learning center

The Arizona Science Center, located at the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan district, today agreed to host the world’s first SIMOC learning center. Their “Blue Team” will host live, iterative and interactive learning sessions in which visitors learn about the challenges of living off of planet Earth.

In a conversational format, visitors will be asked to consider which of two dozen plants would they bring to grow in a human habitat on the Moon or Mars in order to support carbon dioxide reduction, oxygen production, and nutritious foods. Engaged citizen scientists will have to find a balance between those plants that yield a high volume of oxygen yet may require a long time from planting to harvest, or simply not taste very good without extensive preparation, versus those you can eat almost immediately after removing from the soil or hydroponics grow chamber.

By selecting plants in the SIMOC model, which is built upon NASA plant study data, we see the outcome of several weeks, even months of bioregenerative life support systems in a matter of minutes.

The first live demo and training discussion is slated for March 6, 2019.

Stay tuned!

By |2019-03-01T06:47:41+00:00February 11th, 2019|Categories: In the news|0 Comments