SIMOC offers simulation of a habitat on Mars and the original two Biosphere 2 missions in a standard desktop and kiosk mode.
SIMOC Live offers a means by which you can monitor real time data collected from environmental sensors.
SIMOC is the original computer model and simulation of a habitat on Mars. It has been in development since 2017 and continues to this day, with improvements in performance, high fidelity simulation, and a closer approximation to the real world as the development team integrates new research, publishes peer reviewed papers, and integrates data acquired from SAM, the Mars habitat analog at Biosphere 2.
In the summer of 2022 National Geographic Society and Biosphere 2 jointly funded the development of a new version of SIMOC. Lead by SIMOC developer Grant Hawkins, SIMOC B2 incorporates data and experience from the first (1991-93) and second (1994) B2 missions. By programming agents for each of the B2 biomes (rain forest, ocean, savanna, desert, and agriculture further defined by key food cultivars), concrete, and microbial activity in the rich soil, this model successfully demonstrates how the first mission was challenged by a diminishing oxygen supply.
The second mission learned from the first, modified many of its experimental parameters (e.g. reducing the crew by one, managing the crops in a different manner, covering much of the exposed concrete with a seal) and was able to improve the operational functions. This too is accurately modeled.
Citizen scientists, students, any user can then modify SIMOC’s configuration parameters to experiment with an adjustment to the ratio of the biomes, change in the food cultivars, or reduction in the amount of concrete. What has too often been claimed to be a “failure” is instead a powerful learning experience, as were the real Biosphere 2 missions!
SIMOC Live was developed in concert with the construction of SAM, a Space Analog for the Moon and Mars at the world-renowned University of Arizona Biosphere 2. SAM was born of a research project in plant biomass accumulation to generate a new dataset for SIMOC. When SIMOC inventor and project lead Kai Staats lived and worked onsite at Biosphere 2 in early 2019, he recognized an opportunity to bring SIMOC to life—to built a hermetically sealed, pressurized Mars habitat analog.
Now, SIMOC and SAM are tightly integrated. SIMOC Live provides SAM with real-time monitoring of critical atmospheric components (CO2, O2, RH, temp, pressure) and in turn, SIMOC benefits from model validation through real-world data acquisition and training. SIMOC Live is designed to be integrated with Vernier and Adafruit brand sensors in a local, real-time research environment. It requires a local installation of SIMOC on your laptop or workstation.
SIMOC Live is coming soon, with the release of SIMOC as a fully open-source application. Stay tuned!
SIMOC is available for science centers world-wide as an early-stage tool for discovery. The development team has integrated a new “kiosk” mode, with full-screen, no keyboard entry for guided or unguided learning in a public space.
The Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, Arizona, is currently evaluating a prototype of SIMOC in kiosk mode, and will be the world’s first science center to bring SIMOC to its visitors.