SAM model by Jason Francois

The following is the weekly update written by Kai Staats to his team, as completed each week for the past three years.

SAM Working Group,

Kai, Trent, Matthias, and Bindhu in Fredericksburg, Texas for the total solar eclipse 2024 Matthias, Trent, Bindhu, and Kai (that’s me) found each other in Texas for the eclipse and an ad hoc post-viewing lunch. On the way back to Arizona Trent and Matthias visited the Midland human-rated vacuum chamber with intent to expand the CHaSE offerings for pressure suit and related equipment testing. I worked all day Friday on the drive out and back again Tuesday with phone calls and support of Luna’s research, coordination with Red Hen Industries, and more.

As we are all aware, following the highly successful Imagination I crew at SAM and our well deserved week off, we’ve been focused almost entirely on preparation for the final major construction effort at SAM—the Mars yard crater.

Here at SAM Luna, Matthias, and I have slipped into a modified work program—no longer pushing against an impossible list of TODOs at a breakneck velocity; rather we are moving day to day, hour to hour, focused on a sequential list of projects that need to be done in preparation for the Mars yard crater. Our list of TODOs is maintained more on the black board than in digital form, which is ok given that we are just one month from completion of this major build session and the Analog Astronaut Conference.

Luna has applied her expertise in research (and shopping) to a running list of key elements needed for SAM in the coming month. In particular, she has found the elusive Polybond cement mix required for shotcrete applied to the foam sculpt of the Mars yard crater, and after more a week of research and phone calls secured the required 76 bags, scattered as they are across the state.

Matthias has a solid list of TODOs, from Ops to the Mars yard to electrical work in the lung. Today Matthias and Kai made a Home Depot run to secure another trailer of primary supplies required for the Mars yard construction effort that begins next week. Matthias, Kai, and Luna will tomorrow (Thr) complete primary construction of the synthetic lava tube from rebar and a new, wood super-frame to provide greater stability before the spray foam and cement are applied.

Ezio and Franco made good progress on the new SIMOC Live stand-alone unit, a single Raspberry Pi Zero with sensors that serves both as a data collection point and web server for local or remote web visualization. It’s an impressive, compact unit that could easily be packaged in a case smaller than a deck of cards. First prototypes will be shipped to test agents and the Lunares habitat analog for extensive testing prior to the World’s Biggest Analog, in which each analog will receive a similar stand-alone or (more likely) an ad hoc mesh array (as was in SAM for Imagination I).

HiRISE image and data, Arizona State University Jason has completed a revised and highly accurate 3D model of SAM (see top) following his visit in February. Bryan will tomorrow (Thr) deliver his updated Mars yard 3D model for use as a rough guide and visualization tool. I am working with Tasha (ASU) to build a set of hi-res images, again a guide for both the Red Hen and SAM teams.

Bindhu is working on an updated set of procedures for preparing SAM for team arrival, an updated Cuff List, design of the Med Bay, continued effort for the SAM photo book, an umbrella IRB, and more as these efforts carry into the summer between her adventures to Nebraska and Namibia.

Chris continues to support Ezio as they try to determine why the Raspberry Pi at SAM is going down every hour after a power outage (even with the UPS). Very frustration and confusing.

Sean is working with Dr. James Knox (formerly at NASA) for the CO2 scrubber design, preparing to host a 3 days workshop on algae here at B2 and SAM, and arriving to SAM in a week to assist Matthias with replacing the Mars yard poly panels in the midst of the chaos of the Mars yard crater construction.

Sadly, Ezio departs a week from Friday. He has been instrumental in the success of our SIMOC Live air quality monitoring and data collection program at SAM, and diligent in maintaining an organized approach to a highly complex project with many avenues to explore.