SAM at B2, image by Bryan Versteeg

A Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM) is a hermetically sealed habitat located at the renowned University of Arizona Biosphere 2. As with analogs before, SAM helps us prepare for the challenges of living and working away from our home world, on the Moon and Mars. By isolating research teams in an hermetically sealed space for varied periods of time SAM provides a unique, powerful environment in which to conduct a multitude of studies in mechanical and plant-based life support, plant biology, bioregeneration, food studies, haptics and tool use while encumbered by a pressure suit; EVA, rover, and drone field exploration; the challenges of isolation and interpersonal engagement and music, writing, photography and film.

SAM integrates the Biosphere 2 prototype Test Module greenhouse (TM) with an adjacent crew quarters with workshop, kitchen, common area, and private sleeping accommodations. The TM provides hydroponic and soil-based grow environments, controlled lighting, humidity, heating and cooling. A mechanical CO2 scrubber and bioregenerative life support system work in concert to provide clean air and water. An airlock leads to an adjacent half acre indoor/outdoor Mars yard. Pressure suits, rovers, and drones can be tested over varied terrain and obstacles. A massive synthetic lava tube with skylight will support other-world cave exploration and a gravity off-set rig to provide the experience of exploring on foot in lower gravitational fields.

Learn about the principal SAM Components and becoming a visiting team.

Designed in concert with senior staff at Biosphere 2, the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, Paragon Space Development Corporation, and NASA, SAM is a return to the origin of the iconic Biosphere 2 and a look to the future as we prepare to become an interplanetary species. This is as close as you can get to living on Mars without reducing gravity or dropping the temperature to -100°C. At SAM you are a part of this next, great adventure.

SAM at B2, image by Bryan Versteeg