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Director for SAM, Lead Engineer for SIMOC speak at Mars Society 2022

Kai Staats, Director of Research and lead developer of the SAM Mars Habitat at Biosphere 2 shared the latest updates for the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars at the Mars Society Conference 2022. Following Kai, Ezio Melotti, Lead Developer for the Scalable, Interactive Model of an Off-world Community provided an engaging, informative introduction to agent-based modeling, the SIMOC platform for research and education, and some of the goals of this unique project.

Mars Society
Arizona State University
Sunday, October 23
Morning Plenaries
Video: Kai at 1:30:30; Ezio at 2:02:40

Thank you Mars Society and for solid audience participation!

By |2022-10-27T16:00:33+00:00October 24th, 2022|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

Life on Mars: Arizona startup simulates off-world habitats

Life on Mars: Arizona startup simulates off-world habitats by Jeff Kronenfeld

SIMOC dashboard 2022

Starting early next year, SAM will host a range of experiments on the technological and biological systems needed to sustain human life on other worlds. Teams of up to four crewmembers will live inside the facility for a few days to several weeks. They will use SIMOC to monitor their life support systems and possibly much more.

To read the full article, visit

By |2022-11-08T03:39:25+00:00August 12th, 2022|Categories: In the news|0 Comments

Analog Astronaut Conference at Biosphere 2 and SAM

Analog Astronaut Conference at Biosphere 2, May 5-8, 2022

We are proud to announce that the University of Arizona Biosphere 2 and SAM will host the second annual Analog Astronaut Conference, May 5-8, 2022. The theme is “Learning from Space to Improve Earth and Humanity” with an emphasis on How analog missions allow us to learn from Space to Improve Earth and Humanity.

Visit the Analog Astronaut Conference website and see you soon!

By |2022-03-16T05:24:59+00:00January 1st, 2022|Categories: In the news|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

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