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Crew Inclusion I – CO2 Data Analysis

SIMOC Live data capture for CO2, O2, RH, and temp for the duration of the crew Inclusion I mission at SAM, Biosphere 2

For better or for worse, all modern homes, offices, and classrooms are fairly tightly enclosed to reduce energy loss. This results in greater than outdoor ambient carbon dioxide levels, higher than most people realize. With ambient global CO2 at 420 parts per million (ppm) it is not unusual for an indoor, occupied space to be well over 1000 ppm, sometimes 1500, 2500, or more. Offices, classrooms, conference halls, even your dining room with a family gathering are in these higher ranges for extended periods of time.

OSHA suggests that the upper, safe limit is exposure to 5000 ppm for up to 8 hours. The International Space Station operates between 3000 and 6500 ppm. And the US Navy submarines are unconfirmed to operated as high as 10,000 ppm. There is little evidence to suggest that any short- or long-term health issues are associated with the upper ranges of CO2 for brief (a few hours) exposures. The astronauts on the ISS live with 5000 ppm for up to a year. While some research shows reduced cognitive function (e.g. math problem solving), there are is no risk of long term damage.

As SAM is hermetically sealed, we must monitor the CO2 levels even more carefully than in our homes, schools, and places of work. While an office might rise over 1500 on a frequent basis, the door is likely being opened, with people moving in and out with the effect of mixing the air.

For these first two mission, SAM is operating in Mode 2 (pressurized, flow-through). The crew is able to adjust valves in the Test Module, airlock and crew quarters and then the speed of the in-bound blower. The combination of the two affects the overall carbon dioxide in SAM.

SIMOC Live data capture for CO2 for the first two full days of the crew Inclusion I mission at SAM, Biosphere 2

Crew Inclusion I reached out on Day 2 with concern for the rising CO2. Director of Research Kai Staats logged into the SIMOC Live server to retrieve the data to that moment. SIMOC Live captures carbon dioxide, oxygen, relative humidity, temperature, pressure, and a number of other values for the duration of the mission. This data is exported to a local .csv file which the SIMOC-SAM team members can copy through a data backdoor that bypasses the router which limits crew to email only.

As with all time-series data, it takes a full cycle (in this case day-night-day) to recognize a trend. Indeed, the initial rise in CO2 climbed over 2500. This is nothing to be concerned about, but the crew wanted to bring it down, in part to demonstrate their ability to control the quality of air.

Crew Inclusion I worked extensively with SAM Mission Control to monitor and maintain the carbon dioxide levels. Crew engineer Bailey Burns conducted spot assessments of CO2 throughout the habitat while the SIMOC Live sensor array was capturing a time series dataset from closure to the end of the mission. Bailey’s data confirmed the air flow from SAM Lung to TM to Engineering Bay to Crew Quarters with an increasing density of carbon dioxide.

Mission Control advised that the sound muffler be removed from the outlet at the end of the crew quarters and an additional port be opened in the airlock. While the airlock is not at the termination of the designated airflow path, it does invoke the need to increase the blower in order to keep the lung at a nominal height, and therefore is in fact moving more air with the effect of bringing overall CO2 levels down.

In response to the crew’s request for assistance, acting CapCom Kai Staats wrote, “You have done well to reduce your carbon dioxide over the past two days. You started at roughly 700 ppm (due to all the activity inside SAM prior to entry) and rose to nearly 3000 ppm which is when you reached out for guidance. The day/night activity/sleep cycle is clearly present with a leveling of CO2 while you sleep. But overall, the trend has been down with a reading this morning of just under 1000 ppm. According to the data, you rose at 6 am.”

(see plot above for associated data points and graphical narrative)

The temperature held relatively steady, between 20 and 25C, with a dip to 16C the first night. The relative humidity ranges from 30% to 70%, clearly following a day/night cycle. This is due to “relative” humidity as a measure of moisture in the context of changing temperature, and therefore density of air. But is also due to the fact that at night the A/C units stop running their condensers, therefore the dehumidification function terminates and the humidity rises until the temperature is again high enough to activate the cooling cycle.

In the end, Crew Inclusion I was able to control their CO2 levels effectively (as demonstrated in the graph above). Given initial concerns for CO2 levels, the SAM team now realizes the importance of asking our visiting research crew to reduce their caffeine and processed sugar intake prior to arrival to SAM.

By |2023-05-12T00:48:47+00:00May 3rd, 2023|Categories: Research Teams|0 Comments

Crew Inclusion I completes first mission at SAM!

Arizona television station KGUN covers the first team entering SAM at Biosphere 2

Crew Inclusion I has concluded the first mission at SAM. At 10:00 AM Mountain Time, May 2, 2023, the crew released the pressure from the habitat via three ports, and once the internal pressure was equal to the outside, ambient pressure, Lindah Leigh of the original 1991-93 two year Biosphere 2 mission opened the hatch and greeting the crew on the airlock landing.

New channels KVOA, KGUN, and KOLD were on-site to capture the story during an hour pressure conference held in the Mars yard adjacent to SAM.

KGUN – Channel 9
Space simulation wraps up at Biosphere 2

KVOA – Channel 4
Six-day Inclusion I Mission concludes on Biosphere 2 grounds

Mission accomplished on Biosphere 2 grounds

Six-day Inclusion I Mission concludes on Biosphere 2 grounds

KOLD – Chanel 13
Six day space study mission concludes in pressurized habitat at Biosphere 2

By |2023-05-23T20:23:57+00:00May 2nd, 2023|Categories: In the news, Research Teams|0 Comments

Crew Inclusion I – Final CapCom Report

Greetings CAPCOM,

“I’d like to share the important take-away from my daily mission report as the opening of today’s communications.

“For the past 5 days, I have watched four people who met a week ago in person live together in close quarters in a Habitat that at times has felt scary, inaccessible, and exhausting. But we have also seen the great in this place: found work arounds, engineered things, problem solved, got creative, reflected on our life on the Moon, and made some damn good bread.

“On the eve of our final day in space, I am proud of my crew for how much we have adapted and all that we have learned. I am proud of them for believing in our mission, even if at times that felt daunting and frustrating. I’m proud of Sheri for playing and recording instruments in the lung. I am proud of Bailey for sharing her Rubik’s Cube wizardry. I am proud of Eiman for making sure we’re all in good health after taxing EVAs. I am proud of Sheri for making the Hab more inclusive for blind astronauts of the future. I am proud of Bailey for showing us her passion about ECLSS engineering. I am proud of Eiman for willing to great creative with recipes and food (and for bringing the weird robotic seal, I guess). I am proud to be their commander and I am glad they are my new analog family.

“The adaptability and perseverance of Inclusion-1 gives me hope for the success of future crews at the SAM Habitat.” –Cassandra Klos

Please find the following attached reports:

  • Inclusion 1 Mission Schedule (please review today and tomorrow)
  • Commanders Daily Report
  • Medical Officer Daily Report
  • Accessibility Officer Daily Report
  • Engineer Officer Daily Report

The Engineering spreadsheets and photos will be sent late, as we are working hard to get everything done before egress tomorrow.

Thank you,
Cassie, CO

> On May 1, 2023, at 5:00 PM, Eric Shear wrote:
> Hi, crew. The comm window is open and we are ready to receive your reports.
> In Tucson, it’s 86 degrees F (30 deg C) with 12% humidity and 14-mph (23-kph) winds. The moon is at 82% illumination. It looks like we’ll have a full moon during the Analog Astronaut conference.
> Today’s science news is a bizarre exoplanet that “breaks” all the rules of orbital mechanics. It’s just a sensational headline, as anyone who understands orbital mechanics would know. As written by Brian Koberlein in Universe Today, the exoplanet WASP-131b is a gas giant with a density lower than that of Saturn, and orbits its star at an inclination of 160 degrees. One theory about how this planet got into this odd orbit is the Kozai Effect, which describes dynamical interactions between the planet and its star that might have shifted its orbit over time. This is similar to how Pluto is thought to end up in its inclined orbit, but that doesn’t seem like a good explanation for bigger planets.
> Eric Shear
> —
> ME, Chemical Engineering, University of Florida
> M.Sc, Earth and Space Science, York University
> HB.Sc, Physics and Astronomy, York University

By |2023-05-23T20:20:21+00:00May 1st, 2023|Categories: Research Teams|0 Comments

Crew Inclusion I – EVA with Sheri Wells-Jensen

Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen conducting an EVA in the Mars yard at SAM, Biosphere 2

Dr. Jensen has completed a sample return EVA while wearing a fully pressurized space suit. As a woman who is blind, she relies heavily on audio cues to navigate the world. But when in the pressure suit, the sound of the air moving from the umbilical into her helmet drowns all but the radio communications, making it nearly impossible to hear the crunch of the basalt beneath her boots, or the tap of her cane against the rocks. She must rely entirely on tactile feedback, and did so expertly.

Sheri has concluded what just might be a world-first. The smile on her face says it all.

By |2023-05-02T06:24:31+00:00April 30th, 2023|Categories: Research Teams|0 Comments

Crew Inclusion I – Days 1-2

Crew Engineer Bailey Burns meditating in the lung at SAM, Biosphere 2 - photo by Cassandra Klos (@cassandraklos)

Crew Inclusion I has completed their first two days in the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM) at Biosphere 2. These early hours bring the realization that this is their new home for nearly a week, and that there is much to learn beyond the training provided by the SAM staff. They must find a balance between dedication to their research objectives, maintenance of the complex SAM pressure vessel, and preparation of food, water recycling, care for the hydroponic lettuce and soil-bed herbs, time with crew and time alone too.

All photographs (top and below) are for SAM promotion only, credit Cassandra Klos (@cassandraklos).

By |2023-04-30T07:07:16+00:00April 29th, 2023|Categories: Research Teams|0 Comments

First crew enters SAM!

Arizona television station KGUN covers the first team entering SAM at Biosphere 2

Today the very first visiting research crew entered SAM. Inclusion I was welcomed by three television crews, two radio crews, Linda Leigh of the original Biosphere 2 mission, Executive Director of Biosphere 2 Joaquin Ruiz, Deputy Director of B2 John Adams, and more than 60 persons watching the first closure of this unique hermetically sealed, pressurized habitat. Interviews commenced at 5:00 AM and continued until 10:00 AM when one by one, Cassandra Klox, Eiman Jahangir, Bailey Burns, and Sheri Wells-Jensen entered SAM carrying their personal bins. They left their street shoes on the airlock landing and donned hab shoes provided by Astral Designs.

This event follows yesterday’s arduous 13+ hrs training in which the crew was given a hands-on course in the management of SAM pressure regulation, three-stage water recycling, networked fire detection and alert system, air quality monitoring, inedible food stabilization, A/C and dehumidifiers, hydroponics, and more.

Cassandra Klos, Commander and Crew Photographer, is a fine art photographer, curator, and analog astronaut. Eiman Jahangir, Medical officer, MD MPH is a Cardiologist, scuba diver, space enthusiast, and two-time NASA Astronaut Candidate finalist (2009 and 2013). Bailey Burns, Engineer, is an Aerospace Systems Engineer with Blue Origin, focusing on Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), lunar dust mitigation, and lunar operations. Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen, Communications officer, Accessibility officer, is a linguist who teaches in the Linguistics/TESOL program at Bowling Green State University, Ohio.

Learn more about Inclusion I …

The Mission Objectives for Inclusion II are as follows:

  1. Understand whether the application of adaptive techniques can mitigate physiologic impact from isolation and mission induced stress during a terrestrial space analog mission.
  2. A study by Bailey Burns for Blue Origin (under NDA).
  3. Monitor carbon dioxide levels in SAM.
  4. SpaceKind Training in an Analog Environment.
  5. Construct a New Science Fiction through Documentation of Space Simulations, Mockups, and Ephemera
  6. Human Factors Study with University of Central Florida
  7. Accessibility Tasks and Experiments

Inclusion I will be operating SAM in Mode 2 (pressurized, flow-through) for the entirety of their mission. The crew will enjoy an all vegetarian diet of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, with an exciting (from a vegetarian point of view) variety of grains and legumes, pasta, and spices, and opportunity to make home made bread.

Inclusion I is an assembly of motivated individuals who share a common passion for science. We are honored to receive this first team at SAM, with anticipation for their first EVA in a pressurized space suit in our prototype Mars yard, and egress two days before the start of the Analog Astronaut Conference.

By |2023-05-11T05:23:37+00:00April 27th, 2023|Categories: In the news, Research Teams|0 Comments

Training of the first crew

Cassandra Klos, Crew Commander and photographer, being fitted for a pressure suit at SAM, Biosphere 2 - photo by Cassandra Klos (@cassandraklos)

Crew Inclusion I engaged in a 13 hours training session at SAM, learning from Director of Research Kai Staats, and the SAM design and construction staff Luna Powell, Sean Gellenbeck, Matthias Beach, Atila Meszaros, Trent Tresch, and Tasha Coelho.

This intense process took the team through the exterior and interior of the complex SAM pressure vessel, with elements of design, physics, chemistry, and safety for each component. As this was the first time the SAM team had trained an external crew, the process required patience and good communication on both sides. Given that Inclusion I includes a blind crew member, it was a steep learning curve for how SAM can improve some its form and function to be more readily accessible for a greater diversity of bodies and abilities.

In the end, it was clear that the training process should instead be one and a half or two full days to dive into the depth and breadth of the multi-faceted machine that is SAM.

By |2023-05-03T16:25:27+00:00April 26th, 2023|Categories: Research Teams|0 Comments

It’s all coming together

Constructing the prototype Mars yard at SAM, Biosphere 2

We continue with avid construction of SAM in preparation for receipt of our first visiting research teams. We are working sunrise to sunset with projects completed daily. Each week in review sees “TODOs” transform into “DONEs”. Evenings are time for communication with the first two teams to visit SAM, a review of their proposed mission plans, research objectives, and many details in preparation for the first sealed, pressurized experiment at Biosphere 2 in thirty years.

In brief, we have complete the installation of the fully networked, computer controlled fire detection and alarm system, all wiring throughout the habitat, installation of our fourth and final mini-split A/C unit, all plumbing including potable water storage, gray water recycling, and waste water containment is complete. Sean has constructed the prototype inner door of the airlock, and we are eager for the first pressure test.

Atila and Kai upgraded one of the hydroponics racks from last year for an improved water flow and reduced algae build-up. This is centerpiece to Atila’s PhD research at the University of Arizona under the direction of Dr. Gene Giacomelli at CEAC. By no means the final product, this prototype will serve us well for the coming two missions. Lettuce is installed and water nutrients added. John Z. returned for a Saturday morning to assist with the final mini-split install, and Colleen rejoined the team for a few days, lending her keen eye for detail and experience with fabrication.

The Mars yard too has seen a completely transformation from our workshop for the past two years into a functional, prototype test bed for pressure suits, tools, and drones. Tasha and Matthias assembled a barrier to contain the crushed basalt (a close facsimile to Martian soil) and then retraced the original Biosphere 2 rain forest walkway with a fresh coat of Mars-red paint.

The lung is now fully refurbished, complete with a variable frequency drive, electric actuated valve, and a new set of legs for a more stable touch-down and ease of measuring height from the lung floor.

The SIMOC Live server is fully operational with support for a variety of Vernier and Adafruit sensors, and our light-travel time delay server will soon be deployed, providing the limited internet (email only) for visiting research teams, communications delay by 1.3s to the Moon, or 7-20 minutes for Mars.

By |2023-05-12T23:46:42+00:00April 23rd, 2023|Categories: Construction|0 Comments