SSP Alumni hitting Utah desert for Mars Analogue Mission
On January 14th an ISU alumni crew, Team PRIMA Crew 173, will be entering the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the high cold desert in Utah to begin a 14 day simulated Mars mission, selected by the Mars society.
Composed entirely of alumni from the International Space University’s (ISU) Space Studies Program (SSP), the team is led by Crew Commander and astrobiologist Dr. Michaela Musilova (Slovakia, SSP15). Other crew members include Arnau Pons Lorente (Spain, SSP15), Idriss Sisaid (France, SSP15), Roy Naor (Israel, SSP15), Richard Blake (Australia, SSP14), Dr. Niamh Shaw (Ireland, SSP15) and Parker Stratton (USA, SSP15).
While at MDRS, the six simulated astronauts, composed of engineers, scientists and artists, will be undertaking several research projects in areas including 3D printing, geology, astrobiology, engineering, communications, art and outreach. Recreating the confined habitat conditions, limited Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA’s) and restricted communications on Mars, this mission has been long in the planning. Entrepreneur and Crew Engineer Idriss Sisaid explained that the idea for this all-ISU mars analogue mission began while attending the Space Studies Program.
“Roy (Naor) and I began a Mars Analogue group while at SSP15 in Ohio, and we were overwhelmed with interest from the other participants. So it was inevitable that we would create a team from these group members. And it’s great to see that out of that we formed Crew 173 Team PRIMA. But also that other alumni from that group have gone on to form crews at other Mars analogue sites around the world”.
Crew 173 have already received exceptional support for their mission from organizations including: SOSA (Slovakia), Slovenske Elektrarne (Slovakia), the Slovak Ministry of Education (Slovakia), Kozi Vrsok (Slovakia), ISU (France), O Sol (France), Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), Israel Space Agency (Israel), Purdue University (USA), University of New South Wales (Australia) and function(core); plus support from our own ISU community including: Hugh Byrne (Ireland, SSP15), Lars Hoving (Netherlands, SSP15), Reinhard Tlustos (Austria, SSP15) and Marie Elaine Bernier (RCA, Canada).
Crew 173 is still seeking funding to meet their travel and equipment costs. They offer a number of company privileges and rewards in exchange for support. For further details check out their website, Facebook page and Twitter account.
ISU would like to take this opportunity to wish Crew 173 a safe and successful mission and look forward to hearing about their research when they return.