Crew Imagination I enters SAM at Biosphere 2 for a six days Lunar mission.

The third crew to enter the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars sealed the outer airlock hatch today, March 10, 2024 at 10 AM. Friends, family, and colleagues were welcomed to tour the SAM facility as the crew prepared for their six days and five nights journey to the South Pole of the Moon. Christopher Cokinos, Liz George, Julie Swarstad Johnson, and Ivy Wahome entered SAM carrying their personal bins. They left their street shoes on the airlock landing and donned hab shoes provided by Astral Designs.

This professional and artistic, all-University of Arizona mission crew is comprised of non-fiction writer Christopher Cokinos and professor emeritus of English; dancer/choreographer Elizabeth George, associate professor at the School of Dance; poet Julie Swarstad Johnson, Poetry Center archivist and librarian; and textile artist Ivy Wahome, MFA candidate in costume design and production at the School of Theatre, Film & Television.

Learn more about Imagination I …

Crew members will engage in individual and collaborative projects ranging from choreography for a solo dancer in a pressure suit to poetic exploration of the outdoor surface as an imaginary lunar landscape. As they live and create at SAM, the crew of Imagination 1 aims to help establish the foundational value of the arts in space exploration as humans consider how to cultivate ethical, sustainable and flourishing communities beyond Earth.

The Mission Objectives for Imagination I are as follows:

Christopher Cokinos, “There are ethical questions we must raise about diversity and access to space, even as we celebrate human curiosity and endeavors. The artists on Imagination 1 have a range of viewpoints. We need those to inform everything from public interest to hard policy. It’s an amazing crew. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish.”

Elizabeth George, “I will explore exterior surface dance/body work while in a pressure suit aimed both at expressing body movement on a non-terrestrial surface with different gravity conditions and maximizing the ability to move with grace in a confined suit with limited consumables. This research and creative activity will be used as a pilot that could potentially benefit astronaut training for interior habitat dance exercise routines and for exterior movement on the moon, potentially using dance as a way to train for ease of lunar EVAs.”

Julie Swarstad Johnson, “Understanding place, from the local to the galactic, is vital for respectful relationships between humans and our Earth. This mission offers a unique opportunity to test out how we can engage with the moon as a place.”

Ivy Wahome, “My goal is to recycle, repurpose, reuse all the fabric scraps I have accumulated over the years. The message I want send home is for humanity to be mindful of our carbon footprint because sustainability and space travel are intertwined. I will attempt to capture scenes of our mission through the art of appliqué, embroidery, and patch work with this message in mind.”

Imagination I will be operating SAM in Mode 2 (pressurized, flow-through) for the duration of their mission while monitoring the carbon dioxide (CO2), relative humidity, temperature, and pressure. The crew will enjoy an all vegetarian diet of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, with a variety of grains and legumes, pasta, and spices, and opportunity to make home made bread. Unique from the first two crews at SAM in April and May of 2023 respectively, this crew will enjoy the addition of dehydrated milk, dehydrated eggs, and brewer’s yeast.

Crew Imagination I was sent off by friends, family, the Director of Research for SAM Kai Staats and his staff, and an original Biospherian Linda Leigh (Mission I, 1991-93).