The Space Medicine Operations (SMOPS) #analogue mission, organised by Mars Planet, will take several experiments and technologies to the The Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station this November. The mission is mainly focused on future astronauts’ #health monitoring, and on #technologies that could support their activities in remote locations (both on Earth and on other planets).
Space suit simulators are a necessary element of analogue research, as they increase the degree of fidelity of simulations. On this topic, the SMOPS crew will test both a space suit simulator prototype, the BG Suit, produced by Mars Planet, and a pair of sensorised smart shoes, engineered by Vibram Group and e-Novia group. Both experimental technologies will include sensors to measure the crew’s health conditions and the surrounding environment. Moreover, crew members will also be continuously monitored thanks to the Astroskin #wearable #biomonitor by Hexoskin, which includes integrated sensors designed to measure body activity, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
Making sure that the crew is safe is of paramount importance for any research mission, making sure that they remain healthy in isolation. The SMOPS crew will perform a daily #kinesiology exercise routine, measuring its impact on their health and well-being. Moreover, they will perform cortisol tests, playing an important role in understanding (but also preventing) potential health risks. The results of this experiment will be analyzed and published by one of the crew members who is a medical researcher at the University of Calgary. Another experiment will make use of #electroencephalography to observe the changes in the crew members’ brains during #meditation sessions.
Every space mission will need key, cutting-edge technologies to support the activity of crews on other planets. During the SMOPS missions, the crew will run different experiments aimed at the development of emerging technologies. The quality of air will be monitored within the MDRS habitat, thanks to a life support system device developed by the Italian company D-Orbit. Moreover, the use of drones on Mars will be investigated by the DOME – Drone Operations for Martian Environment group, performing mapping and station inspection flights. Finally, as #additivemanufacturing paves the way for in situ resources utilisation, 3D printed tools will be tested and printed thanks to an industrial-level printer provided by Roboze.
#spaceexploration will not only mean taking care of the crew; the knowledge we have of the universe is still a very small fraction of what is out there. It is important to take advantage of the location of the MDRS, to train for planetary #science experiments as well. One of the SMOPS astronauts will carry out two separate analyses on terrain samples, looking for traces of DNA and micrometeorites.
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