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Category Archives: Mars Colonization

Mars colonization – Android Marvel (blog)

Posted: July 29, 2017 at 6:48 pm


Android Marvel (blog)
Mars colonization
Android Marvel (blog)
Mars would be a boring place to live according to Physicist Brian Cox · July 29, 2017 Abhin Mahipal 0 Comments Brian Cox, Mars, Mars colonization. According to popular physicist Brian Cox, humans will live in cities on Mars within the next 50 to 100 years.

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SpaceX’s First Mars Rocket Will Launch This November – Fortune

Posted: at 6:47 pm

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter on Thursday that the company will aim for a November launch for the Falcon Heavy, the huge rocket capable of taking crewed missions to Mars.

As Musk recently emphasized , though, that launch will be just the beginning of flight testing, and theres a good chance that the vehicle does not make it into orbit on the first try.

Its also worth noting, as The Verge has, that the Falcon Heavy has already had tentative launch targets that didnt come to fruition. In 2011, for instance, Musk said the Falcon Heavy would launch in 2013 or 2014.

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Joining a tradition of Muskian optimism, the Heavy turned out to be a much bigger engineering challenge than anticipated. It has 27 engines, three times as many as SpaceXs Falcon 9, and all of those engines have to be carefully synchronized for a successful launch. But the firmer target date, and recent milestones including a test-fire of a booster on the ground, suggest things are on track this time around.

The Heavy needs all those engines to deliver its 54-ton payloads, potentially including human crew and infrastructure for crewed bases, as far as Mars. Earlier this year, SpaceX pushed back its target date for the first Mars missions from 2018 to 2020.

(Musks colonization road map also includes an even bigger rocket, with 550 metric tons of orbital lift, but its still in early development .)

Most importantly for SpaceXs plans, the Falcon Heavy, like the Falcon 9, will have reusable components that land intact on Earth after launch. Re-use is projected to drastically reduce launch costs, but even after success with the Falcon 9, that trick could be several years coming for Falcon Heavy.

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Portals to New Worlds: Martian Exploration Near the North Pole – News Deeply

Posted: July 26, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Researchers are using Devon Island in Canadas High Arctic as a stand-in for Mars to help better understand how astronauts could survive the red planets hostileenvironment.

Members of the Mars 160 expedition stand in front of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island in Nunavut, Canada.

Perched on the edge of a 39-million-year-old crater is a white circular hut. It sticks out on the rocky, lichen-dotted landscape of Devon Island in Nunavut,Canada.

Known as the Hab, this 8m (26ft) diameter structure is home to six scientists and researchers who just moved in for a 12-week mission to simulate life onMars.

The Arctic has long been a frontier for exploration, and now its being used to open horizons on other planets. Last week, theMars 160 missionlaunched phase two of its program, sending an international team to theFlashline Mars Arctic Research Station. Initially, the mission was set for three months of immersive study, but poor weather conditions may cause the mission to be cut to half its original length. While at the station, the team will test equipment and undertake a suite of geological, microbiological and paleontological experiments to prepare future astronauts for exploration on the redplanet.

The mission is run by theMars Society, a space advocacy organization preparing for human exploration and settlement on the red planet. The first phase of the mission was conducted from a research base in the desert of southern Utah in the fall of 2016. The conditions of the barren, Mars-like landscape of the Arctic North will serve to test the conclusions of the desert-based research and see if the more costly Arctic simulations can provide equally valuablepayoffs.

The advantage of our simulations is theyre done in real Mars analogs where you can do real field science that you cant do in a building, said Shannon Rupert, principal investigator of the mission and director of the Mars Desert Research Station. Whats unique about this mission is its comparing one analog to another analog. A twin study like this has never been done where the same people do the same investigations in two separate Marsanalogs.

Mars 160 expedition members explore Devon Islands lichen-covered landscape in spacesuits. (Photo Courtesy the MarsSociety)

The Arctic also offers unusual landscapes similar to ones seen on Mars. One team member, Paul Knightly, is studying Arctic polygons honeycombed soil structures formed by the freeze and thaw of thepermafrost.

We know Mars has Arctic-like polygons in permafrost, Rupert said. So we know theres a process in the Arctic that were seeing on Mars, and we can conduct tests about it from ourstation.

The inhospitable conditions of the Arctic have long held interest to scientists studying life on other planets, and indeed the Hab isnt the first outpost on Devon Island theHaughton Mars Projectrun by the Mars Institute has been conducting studies from the crater annually for two decades. Other teams of astrobiologists have also tested experiments in Arctic lakes that could some day be used for looking for cellular life on water worlds like Europa, and geologists have scoured northern ice fields in search of meteorites that hold clues to how our solar systemformed.

Out in the crater, two team members wander the desolate landscape in white spacesuits, simulating the atmospheric conditions of Mars and simultaneously testing the suits design. However, unlike on the distant planet, the explorers of the alien Arctic landscape are required to have one member carry a shotgun, in case of curious polar bears. The Mars 160 team scouts the environment around the Hab, just as the first Martian explorers will investigate Mars. So far they have taken soil samples and studied collected biological specimens, such as lichen andinsects.

The six crew members come from four continents, and their expertise spans a range of disciplines from geology to biology to engineering. The diversity is intentional, as part of the mission goal is to better understand team dynamics in isolatedenvironments.

Not only do they come from different backgrounds and speak different languages, their perceptions of things based on their experiences are very different, Rupert said. Whenever we do go to Mars, were going to have to look at how you take the best people from diverse backgrounds and throw them into a mission and make them successful at that mission. This team has really proven that, regardless of where youre from and what your background is, its possible come together and pull as ateam.

Though the team keeps busy with lab work and writing, in their spare time they relax like any Earth-bound human reading books, baking, exercising on a stationary bike and watching movies (the team is currently working their way through season two of the television show The Expanse, a sci-fi show depicting future colonization of Mars). Power is supplied to the Hab by generators, and all food supplies were brought in on arrival. For the duration of the mission, the team works in isolation, connected to the rest of the planet only through emails sent over a satellitephone.

With initiatives like the Mars Society,Breakthrough StarshotandSpaceX, space colonization is no longer confined to the dreams of science-fiction authors, and it seems the Arctic will continue to play a role in providing a test bed for scientists andengineers.

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Tell the media bipartisanship’s alive and well in DC – Orlando Sentinel

Posted: at 12:53 am

I have heard the same theme over and over from the media, both locally and in Washington: Bipartisanship is dead. The truth is bipartisanship and partisanship occur daily in Washington, but the prior acts rarely get covered.

Case in point: We in Congress passed our last budget bill (omnibus) several months ago with vast bipartisan support, and with the usual horse-trading compromises made. Yet it made little difference to the partisanship narrative. We passed a reauthorization bill for NASA, including futuristic goals of going to Mars and even potential Mars colonization. This will inspire millions of Americans and be a major boost to Central Florida’s economy. But only Florida Today in Brevard County covered it extensively.

Kristie Boyd,U.S. House Office of Photography /

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto is a Democrat from Orlando.

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto is a Democrat from Orlando. (Kristie Boyd,U.S. House Office of Photography /)

We also made America safer without major local coverage. We passed the National Defense Authorization Act out of the House with Democrats and Republicans from Florida passing several bipartisan amendments. The measure is now before the Senate. As a freshman Democrat in a GOP-majority Congress, I sponsored five amendments that passed. Among them were amendments relating to World War II and Korean veterans; assisting military doctors transition to employment for the VA Hospital; reporting on global nuclear threats through space-based detection; and focusing our federal simulation-and-training policy and increasing readiness.

Another victory for bipartisan majorities included thwarting anti-climate-change and anti-LGBT amendments to this defense package. Again, this major bill was supported by the majority of both parties.

In addition, we in Congress just passed our Department of Homeland Security reauthorization with overwhelming bipartisan support. And, we will likely pass an upcoming debt-ceiling bill with the help of a bipartisan majority.

Daily, we pass basic bills to keep the federal government running. Of course, major issues are fiercely debated, like how to boost our economy, the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump-Russia investigation, President Trumps accountability, environmental policy, constitutional rights, immigration and tax reform. However, intense debate is a sign of a robust democracy at work, not the end of one.

This bipartisanship is especially significant considering that the Congresses of yore we’re compared to were populated almost exclusively by rich white men with strong common backgrounds, regardless of party. It was easier for them to identify with and understand each other. This bipartisan history may have worked for them, but not so much for women, minorities and our LGBT community prior to the 1960s. Our diversity gives historic context to this partisanship debate; yet we still work together often.

So, for everyone from undying optimists to constant naysayers in the media, please continue your critiques. The Fourth Estate is critical to a thriving democracy. I understand that sensationalizing conflict attracts internet clicks and readers interests and pays the bills. I only ask the media to consider covering bipartisan efforts with even a margin of the vigor that these partisan conflicts are covered.

Who knows? People may actually read them and be inspired.

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Elon Musk’s Mars rocket may be about to lose half of its engines – Ars Technica

Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:49 am

Enlarge / SpaceX may be dumping the outer ring of 21 engines for its new Mars vehicle.

SpaceX

Last year, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared plans for his transportation system to send humans to Mars in the 2020s. But the fantastically huge rocket, with 42 Raptor engines and enormous technical challenges, seemed more like science fiction than reality. Then there was the small matter of who would pay the tens of billions of dollars to develop a rocket that had fewif anycommercial prospects beyond sending 100 people to Mars at a time.

Musk seems to have realized that his ambitions were a tad too ambitious in recent months, and has said he will release a “revised” plan for Mars colonization that addresses some of these technical and fiscal questions. Now, we know this discussion will come duringthe 2017 International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide, Australia, on September 29. And this weekend, Musk dropped a big hint about the change.

In response to a question on Twitter, Musk wrote, “A 9m diameter vehicle fits in our existing factories …” And this is actually quite a substantial hint, because the original “Interplanetary Transport System” had a massive 12-meter diameter. By scaling back to 9 meters, this suggests that Musk plans to remove the outer ring of 21 Raptor engines, leaving a vehicle with 21 engines instead of the original 42. While still complicated to manage during launch and flight, 21 engines seems more reasonable. Such a vehicle would also have about 50 percent less mass.

At 9 meters the revised Mars rocket would still be considerably larger than SpaceX’s current booster, the 3.7-meter Falcon 9 rocket. But it would be smaller than the most powerful rocket ever flown, the 10-meter Saturn V booster that launched the Apollo crews to the Moon.

Downscaling the Mars booster suggests that Musk may be bending toward reality. A 9-meter rocket means that it could be produced in SpaceX’s existing facilities, saving the company the expense of building a much larger factory. (Pragmatically, it could also be produced in NASA’s rocket factory in Michoud, La., without major renovations). A smaller, but still powerful rocket also opens the door to commercial opportunities and military contracts.

Most notably, the US Air Force is in the midst of soliciting bids for the second phase of a $2 billion competition to develop new launch vehicles that can meet the government’s space mission needs. This is part of the Air Force’s efforts to end US reliance on the Russian-made RD-180 engine, and this competition is for development contracts to build launch systems capable of flying missions by the early- to mid-2020s. It is possible, then, that SpaceX may bid for some of these funds to help develop the Mars rocket, perhaps for the Raptor engine, or the entire vehicle.

A successful Air Force bid would answer one important question Musk faceshow to pay for the Mars rocket. An answer to another key question could come later this year, whether SpaceX can really manage to control dozens of rocket engines during flight. Although the Falcon Heavy rocket has a different configuration from the Mars rocket, it requires the coordination of 27 Merlin engines during launch. If SpaceX can do that during the Falcon Heavy’s maiden launchpossibly later this yearthen controlling 21 engines on the Mars rocket doesn’t seem to be that great of a stretch.

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Buzz Aldrin Says Humans Need To Get Off Earth – The Fresh Toast

Posted: at 11:49 am

There are two types of people in this world: those who walk on Mars if given the chance, and those who would not. Buzz Aldrin recently helped create a virtual reality experience that will help humans experience what it might be like to walk on Mars, if youre so inclined.

Buzz Aldrin famously is the second man to walk on the moon. An acclaimed astronaut and engineer, Aldrin has long been a spokesman in explaining humans journey into the cosmos. He has dedicated his life to furthering our scientific understanding and inspiring more into a path among the stars.

Aldrin doesnt want walking on Mars to be limited to a VR program, however. As he stated in an interview with Futurism, he believes that humans should be interested beyond simple exploration.

One of the things that makes space exploration so exciting is that the possibilities are endless, he told Futurism. Mars is the next actionable step for uswe have never been closer to knowing and exploring another planet. Plus, I believe that Mars has realistic potential for colonization.

That colonization may come sooner than you think. As Aldrin later added, Now is the time to start thinking seriously about what life on Mars might look like in the future. I believe we can have the first Human Martians at Mars by 2040.

With worries rising from the scientific community over climate change, a Mars colonization could prove advantageous. Though Aldrin acknowledges not everyone will be able to step on Mars anytime soon, he does hope these VR and AR programs will stimulate national interest in supporting our nautical journeys.

It is in our nature to explore, Aldrin said. We, as a species, are curious and want to see whats over the next hill, see how fast we can go. It was only 66 years from the point that the Wright brothers flew to us flying rockets to the Moon.

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Adam Savage explains why space suits are his happy place – The … – The Verge

Posted: July 24, 2017 at 7:49 am

Adam Savage loves space suits. When I interviewed him in March, he spoke about how safety equipment appealed to him, whether it was firefighter gear, the protective armor that bomb disposal personnels wear, or space suits of the fictional variety.

For the last several years, Savage would attend San Diego Comic-Con dressed up in a costume that hides his identity, something he calls Adam Incognito. This year, one of the costumes he suited up in was one used in the production of Alien: Covenant.

After he returned from the floor, I spoke with him about why hes so attracted to these galactic wear.

This interview has been condensed for clarity.

Looking back to how you said youre attracted to safety equipment, how did you find wearing the Alien space suit while walking around the floor today? Were you impervious to the crowds?

Well, I’m not impervious to the crowds, because about 75 people came up to me and said you must be Adam. I’ve definitely spoiled my own thing because Ive done so much cosplay now that any time people see an elaborate, full suit, they ask if its me.

However, the guys at FBFX did a nice job [with this suit]. This fabric looks heavy duty. It looks like ballistic nylon, but it breathes quite well.

To you, what makes up a good space suit costume? What components do you look for?

The stuff that I really like in a space suit is the detail. In a NASA suit, I love the high-level details that tell the story that this was made by people. If you look at NASA hardware really close up you really can sense that these arent production-made items. They’re one-offs, each one handmade by a machinist, designed by engineers. And, the best movie space suits are the ones that also communicate that same kind of hand-hewn attention to detail.

What’s an example of a detail that you found stands out in a real or fictional suit?

Right now, I’m totally obsessed with the [Alien] Covenant stuff. They have a number of things like little brass tags and tiny markers, and even things like pressure readings that are based off of what the real pressure of that suit would probably be.

So what can cosplayers learn from real suits, and what can real suit makers learn from science fictional suits?

It’s funny because real space suits almost never have lights in the helmet. [Theyre] a totally a movie trope because you have to see the actors. There are almost no lights on any NASA suit.

There is a simplicity to NASA hardware and it’s required: you need that simplicity. A film like Alien: Covenant is layering in [details] because theyre thinking of a future where these aren’t one-off items: they are [mass-produced.]

With its reveal of the latest Z-2 backpack entry suit, NASA is definitely trying to sexy it up to garner a bit more public excitement. They gave it some color, called it the Mars Colonization Suit. I think that’s a reasonable thing for an organization like NASA to do, and the positive benefits from The Martian, I think, led if not directly then were at least partially responsible for the increase in NASA’s budget a couple of years later. These things capture the public’s imagination.

NASAs running out of space suits.

NASA is behind in their space suit production. Its over a million dollars to make a space suit. They now have a set of replacement parts where they can fit together a suit that fits an astronaut by adjusting the arms and the legs and the various geometries.

But yeah, NASA uses a ludicrously complex set of procedures to make this the multilayer, air-proof suits it uses.

What what trends are you seeing in costume manufacturing that has changed how people are making suits?

There’s two major leaps. One is from cosplayers: the advancement of foam building technology using camping mats, hot glue, and contact cement to make really elaborate costumes. Its unparalleled: this is a really exciting time, and budgets are going lower because the materials are more easy to come by. It’s just about the sweat equity of making sure the forms look great and curves are good.

The other major advancement that I’m really excited about is screen-printing dimension and texture onto lightweight fabrics, so that they look heavy-duty. Captain Americas Winter Soldier costume was an early, excellent harbinger of what’s coming. They took four-way stretch dance fabric, which is really light and easy to wear for the actor, and they printed it with texture that made it look like the old ballistic nylon, which is much heavier and harder for the actor to wear, so its much more comfortable.

It turns out that a primary cost on making feature films is just getting the actors out and back into their costumes so they can eat lunch. No actor wants to sit in some giant space suit and try to eat a burrito. It sometimes takes an entire special effects team half an hour or maybe more to get an actor out of a cumbersome costume.

So, working with lighter-weight materials that breathe more definitely increases the the length of time the actors can spend in those suits, and then increases the amount the production can get done.

How about 3D printing and rapid prototyping? I know for some productions, they end up printing up a number of components or props.

3D printing has totally revolutionized both cosplay and costuming for movies. I know that neck rings that FBFX effects made for The Martian and for this suit were 3D printed. [Even] when you machine something and then cast it, trying to get the parts to couple back together is difficult, with the shrinkage inherent in casting and the shrinkage is dependent upon the volume of the material you’re trying to cast. That means that some of these are straight 3D printed high strength resins, and that’s kind of the only way you can do stuff like this.

[Pointing to the Alien Covenant Helmet on the table] How about this helmet in particular?

I think this helmet is largely 3D printed. Some of the forms for the carbon fiber pressure panels… the neck rings are totally 3D printed, and then there’s all this brass etching and all this custom detail. FBFX and companies like it all around the world are using this to radically increase the shapes and the stuff they can produce, lowering the amount of time they need to make it.

Do you see this trickling into the cosplay consumer market?

It’s totally trickling in the consumer market, because you can now buy an Ultimaker printer for a couple of grand, and get really impressive resolution for effectively a prosumer model 3D printer.

Last question: right now, whats your favorite space suit?

Currently right now, it’s both of the suits from Alien: Covenant: the hard suit that Tennessee wears, which has all 3D printed bearings. It’s an absolute masterpiece of engineering. Those were not off-the-shelf components. That suit would have cost tens of thousands of dollars if they were. That was a completely wearable hard suit. That’s simply because those guys wanted to push the envelope of what was possible in movie costumes.

Photography by Andrew Liptak / The Verge

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SpaceX may scrap plans to land Dragon spacecrafts on Mars by end of 2020s – SYFY WIRE (blog)

Posted: July 21, 2017 at 11:50 am

With NASA still trying to figure out how itll pay for plans to land humans on Mars, it seemed SpaceX could be our best option to get people up there in the next decade. Well, that may not be the case anymore at least not on that accelerated timeline.

While speaking at the ISS R&D Conference, Musk revealed SpaceX will likely scrap plans to use propulsive landing gear (the little engines that blast out from the lower sides of the capsule) to put Dragon capsules on Mars for supply drops and eventual manned missions.

He said the company now believes theres a better way to land there, and the companys next round of rockets and spacecraft would reflect that. Musk, umm, didnt actually give any details of what this figure might look like, though. Despite that, Musk later clarified they still want to use propulsive landing tech just on much bigger ships. You know, when Musk claims Mars as the sovereign nation of Tesla, and all that. Sadly, no timeline on anything yet.

There was a time when I thought that the Dragon approach to landing on Mars… would be the right way to land on Mars. But now I’m pretty confident that is not the right way. There’s a far better approach. That’s what the next generation of SpaceX rockets and spacecraft is going to do.

Though SpaceX has been working on propulsive landing tech for a while (and its a key part of the emergency escape system for Dragon 2, designed to thrust the capsule away from a potential explosion), Dragon capsules have mostly been using parachutes to land back on Earth anyway. So that wont change. The company had run into some safety concerns with adding landing legs to the Dragon 2, and its not clear if that also played a role in scrapping the tech for wider use on these craft, but it stands to reason it was a factor.

So what is SpaceX cooking up? Something big-ish, surely. Musk wouldnt have dropped this news or made this decision without having a new plan in the works, and he at least seems to think this next generation system is a much better option. Theres also buzz Musk could update his Mars colonization plan later this year, and this could certainly be a part of that. Heres hoping, because we really dont want to wait another 20+ years to reach Mars.

(Via The Verge)

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Buzz Aldrin: It’s Time for Humans to Start Looking at Other Planets to Live On – Futurism

Posted: July 19, 2017 at 3:48 am

Chasing the Unknown

Buzz Aldrin is an acclaimed astronaut, engineer, and (of course) the second human being to ever walk on the Moon. Over the years, he has inspired entire generations to look beyond the bounds of Earth and pursue the unknown. As Aldrin previously noted, human beings are meant to be inquisitive. Were meant to be achievers. And to this end, Aldrin has dedicated his life to advancing humanity through discovery, creating explorers and scientists alike in the process.

Most recently, Aldrin helped to create a virtual reality (VR) experience that allows people to travel to Mars. As one of the few individuals who has ever had the privilege of stepping onto an astronomical body besides Earth, Aldrin is able to expertly assist in conveying the experience of space travel to the everyday individual and, in so doing, take people (virtually) farther than they have ever gone before.

In a recent interview with Futurism,Aldrin weighed in on just how important it is for us, as humans, to take this next step in journeying into the final frontier, One of the things that makes space exploration so exciting is that the possibilities are endless. Mars is the next actionable step for us we have never been closer to knowing and exploring another planet. Plus, I believe that Mars has realistic potential for colonization.

Aldrin continued by noting that, in order to make humanitys future on Mars a reality, we will need to start garnering interest and making plans for tomorrow today: Now is the time to start thinking seriously about what life on Mars might look like in the future. I believe we can have the first Human Martians at Mars by 2040.

Obviously, a virtual journey to Mars isnt exactly the same as a real Martian excursion; however, such technologies can, in some small way, help bring people to the stars who otherwise might not ever have the opportunity. In this respect, the VR experience is truly valuable. As Aldrinnotes, We have a long way to go before trips to space are widely affordable for everyone. Luckily AR/VR technology is here now.

Aldrin continued by asserting that, more than just showing people what the voyage to Mars will be like,this type of experience is an integral part of encouragingpeople to get excited about science and exploration. And in todays society, where denialism and sensationalism dominate many conversations, a genuine interest in science is more crucial than ever. Aldrin believes that exploring the vast recesses of space can help in this regard because, as he asserts, space travel is a great unifierit captures our collective imagination, encourages our curiosity, and inspires our creativity.

To this end, Aldrin thinks that it is through these small pushes in the right direction that humans will finally make it to other worlds. Because we are, at the end of the day, wanderers: It is in our nature to explore. We, as a species, are curious and want to see whats over the next hill, see how fast we can go. It was only 66 years from the point that the Wright brothers flew to us flying rockets to the Moon.

If this VR voyage sounds like something that would interest you,Aldrinand Terry Virts,the former commander of the ISS, are teaming up withOmaze, a donation-based experience platform, to offer one winner (and a friend) a chance to celebrate the Apollo 11 anniversary as VIPs at the ShareSpace gala. You will get to hang out with the pair and experience Aldrins virtual Mars experience. Best of all, this effort supports The ShareSpace Foundation, which is a nonprofit dedicated togetting kids involved with STEM.

In the words of the Carl Sagan,Human beings are a curious, inquisitive, exploratory species. I think that has been the secret of our success as a species. Aldrin embodies this exploratory quest and, through AR and VR, he wants to spark that curiosity and need to explore in all.

Of course, no one is positive when the first human footsteps will leave their mark on the Martian surface, but the quest to get us there is how we will continue to advance as a species.and it isnt just astronauts and rocket scientists who can (and should) participate in this great journey. Whether virtually or through other means of education and involvement,it is now possible for us all to engage our minds, hearts, and exploratory imaginations. Its a race we must run together.

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Six Volunteer ‘Astronauts’ Are About to Lock Themselves Inside a Simulated Mars Colony – Futurism

Posted: July 17, 2017 at 3:49 am

Simulated Mars Mission

Next to an old nuclear bomber hangar in western Poland, a mission to the surfaces of both the moon and Mars is about to begin.

The two-week mission is just a simulation, of course, since no entity on Earth is prepared toinhabit deep space. But the experiment called the Poland Mars Analogue Simulation 2017 will study a group of six volunteer analogue astronauts as they work through a realistic schedule of space exploration, then provide those findings to anyone whos drawing up crewed missions beyond Earth.

This mission will be one of the most comprehensive Mars analogue missions ever conducted in Europe, Mina Takla, spokesperson for thePMAS 2017 mission, told Business Insider in an email.

The experiment, which Business Insider first learned about through theDawn of Private Space Science Symposiumon June 4, is being spearheaded by theSpace Exploration Project Group, or SEPG. (The group is part of the Space Generation Advisory Council and works with the United Nations on its space exploration research and support efforts.)

Many other partners are involved in the mission, too, including The Mars Society, European Space Agency, and European Space Foundation.

The projects central feature is a U-shaped habitat thats connected to a nuclear fighter [plane] hangar near Pila, Poland, Takla said.

To make the mission possible, PMAS 2017 rounded up money from corporate sponsors, and also raised tens of thousands of dollars throughcrowdfundingsites. To create the habitat, the Space Garden Company a partner to the project secured material donations and also did some fundraising.

Organizers have dubbed their faux habitat project the Martian Modular Analog Research Station, orM.A.R.S.

As Marta Bellon of Business Insider Polandreported in May 2016, a previous design for the base, created by British architect Scott Porter, called for four arms and a domed headquarters built by Freedomes (the same company that built the fictional Mars habitats for the blockbuster movie The Martian).

However, organizers have since dropped the four-armed design for a U-shaped one. The habitats planned location in southern Poland also moved to western Poland in the past year.

The new, U-shaped M.A.R.S. facility will have six units, each with its own dedicated purpose, such as scientific research, crew quarters (including a gym), habitation, hygienic facilities, kitchen area, and storage and systems, Takla said. The entry and exit to the habitat will be via an airlock.

Takla did not provide Business Insider with any sketches or photos of the facility in time for publication, nor could he confirm if and when its construction was completed.

Assuming M.A.R.S. is finished in time, sixanalogue astronautswill land in the habitat on July 31, then work and live and work inside it through August 13.

The volunteers hail from Puerto Rico, Israel, Spain, France, India, the US, Nigeria, and other locations. Meanwhile, a larger support team will operate as mission control in the northern Polish city of Torun, including psychologists tomonitor the astronauts.

[PMAS 2017] will be one of the most international, multicultural, and interdisciplinary analogue missions ever conducted, with members from over 28 different countries and representing scientific disciplines ranging from engineering to astrophysics, psychology, geology, and biology, Takla said.

In addition to following a strict schedule of experiments, maintenance, and personal time, mission managers will simulate other realities for a far-off planetary mission, including spacesuits to leave M.A.R.S., and annoying communications delays.

[T]he first three days of the 14 days of the simulation will be in Lunar mode with a real-time communication between habitat and Mission Control, before we go for the remaining 11 days into the Martian mode, Tajana Lui, co-leader of SEPG, told Business Insider in an email.

When the Martian mode starts, Lui said, the time delay will be 15 minutes, and simulates the long distance between Earth and Mars and the related communication delay.

The PMAS 2017 mission isnt the only project trying to figure out how to run a tightly operated lunar or Martian base.

HI-SEAS in Hawaii, for example which former Business Insider reporter Kelly Dickerson visited has astronauts who live and work inside a habitatbuilt on the side of a barren volcano.

Russia, China, and the ESA have also run six willing astronauts through a psychological gauntlet with its $15 millionMars500 experiment.

That project, which ended a few years ago, had the astronauts stay inside for 520 days, or nearly a year and a half, to see what challenges they faced and how to prevent or solve them when real Mars colonization missions actually begin. (Boredom, concludedan exhaustive studyof the project, is one of the greatest hurdles to overcome.)

Such information could prove extremely valuable to the first nation (or private company,like SpaceX) to land people on Mars. Whoever is spending tens of billions of dollars to get the job done, theyll not only want a crew to survive to tell the tale, but also make the best use of their time some 140 million miles from Earth.

Correction (July 10, 2017): Business Insider was initially given and directed to outdated information about M.A.R.S. We have since corrected and updated this story to reflect the projects current details.

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Six Volunteer ‘Astronauts’ Are About to Lock Themselves Inside a Simulated Mars Colony – Futurism

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