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. SAM integrates the Biosphere 2 prototype Test Module greenhouse with an adjacent workshop, kitchen, common area and living quarters with support for 1-4 inhabitants from days to months. A CO2 scrubber built by Paragon SDC provides mechanical life support. An airlock leads to an adjacent half acre Mars yard where pressure suits, rovers, and drones can be tested. The greenhouse provides soil-based and hydroponic grow environments, controlled lighting, humidity, heating and cooling. The Mars yard will be modeled after a crater selected by NASA as the first human landing site. In addition the SAM Mars yard will include varied terrain and select obstacles, a massive synthetic lava tube with skylight for other-world cave exploration, and a gravity off-set rig to provide the experience of exploring on foot in lower gravitational fields.

As with other analogs, teams will propose research projects in the fields of biology, plant physiology, regolith chemistry and soil ecology, food cultivation, AI and robotics, personal psychology, tool use, haptics, and habitation studies to name a few. Also considered will be projects based in the arts. If accepted, teams of four can live within SAM for two weeks to a few months a time, while additional crew can stay on the Biosphere 2 campus, making use of the dedicated Mission Control facility and lodging. Crew can rotate on a scheduled basis. EVAs in pressure suits are assisted by SAM staff, enabling a fully immersed experience, from start to finish.

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