Six abstracts accepted to ICES 2022

Today the SIMOC and SAM teams received notice of acceptance of six research abstracts to the ICES 2022 conference!

“Integrating Mushrooms into an Agent-based Model of a Physico-chemical and Bioregenerative ECLSS” by Sean Gellenbeck, UA PhD Student and aerospace engineer at Paragon. This paper will bring Sean’s PhD research into the SIMOC agent-based model. Cool!

“Lessons learned from the construction of a hi-fidelity, hermetically sealed Mars analog and research station” by Kai Staats, Trent Tresch, John Adams. This is a re-submit as we did not have SAM far enough along to write a proper paper, in Feb/Mar of this year.

“Parameter Space Exploration of Entropic Systems in a Mars Habitat” by Grant Hawking and Ezio Melotti. Grant joined the SIMOC development team this summer and has demonstrated himself as capable and tireless. With our lead developer Ezio and a bit of guidance by myself, we will explore the effect of increased entropy against a steady-state baseline in our agent-based model. This brings us back to my very first design session in June 2017. We have arrived!

“Responses to Elevated CO2 on Food Production and Life Support Systems in a Mars Habitat” is another proposed research project by Grant that is a combination of developing an advanced model in SIMOC whereby the correlation of CO2 levels to plant production is both informed by and the validated against published research and data. This is a solid challenge, but if we can pull it off, it will be highly valuable.

“Integrating real-time data from a Mars habitat analog into an educational web interface” by the ASU undergraduate Capstone team Meridith, Gregory, Ian, Ryan, and David. This paper describes how real-life data can be provided to citizen-scientists, establishing a tangible interface between simulation and real-world systems. Congrats for taking on this incredible challenge and even greater reward!

“On the creation of a compact solution for monitoring air quality in a Mars habitat analog” also by the ASU undergraduate Capstone team, provides a clear methodology for citizen scientists and researchers alike to monitor atmospheric quality of any enclosed space … life support system integration, by which collected data can be used to calibrate indoor air conditions for any extraterrestrial habitat. The team gave a live demo of the first live feed just last week!

By |2022-01-16T06:50:05+00:00December 13th, 2021|Categories: Publications|0 Comments

LPI Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Exploration

LPI Terrestrial Analogs Workshop 2021

June 16–18, 2021

The USGS Astrogeology Science Center is hosted a virtual Workshop on Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Exploration. The workshop brought together community members to discuss a wide range of scientific investigations of planetary analog terrains and processes, exploration strategies, and orbit-to-ground comparisons. Abstracts wre solicited for topics including various planetary processes (volcanic, impact, aeolian, subaqueous, mass-wasting, glacial, tectonic, and others) as well as geophysical, geochemical, and astrobiological investigations. Discussions of field methods, sampling techniques, exploration strategies, technology applications, and ground-truthing were covered, and topics related to data standardization and dissemination. In addition, the workshop addressed analog work that will benefit human and robotic exploration of other planetary surfaces.

Kai Staats provided the closing talk of the day, an overview of the Scalable Analog for the Moon and Mars, SAM.

Workshop Home Page | Workshop Program | SAM Abstract

By |2021-06-19T20:12:57+00:00June 19th, 2021|Categories: Publications|0 Comments

Space Radio with Dr. Paul Sutter

Astrophysicist Dr. Paul Sutter interviews SAM Director Kai Staats from within the Biosphere 2!

“This week on Space Radio I had the opportunity to catch up with my good friend Kai Staats. Kai joined us from the grounds of the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 as we talked about his newest project, Space Analog for the Moon and Mars. Among other topics, we discussed the removal of perchlorates from the Martian soil and how Methane could potentially be used.” — Dr. Sutter

By |2021-06-22T06:23:06+00:00June 10th, 2021|Categories: Publications|0 Comments

Kai Staats Presents SIMOC and SAM to the Space Habitat Event

The Space Habitat Event is an international event dedicated to debate the operation of space analog stations and future Mars and Moon colonies / settlements / stations. The theme of this second edition is: “Sustainable Technologies for Future Space Habitats (Moon and Mars) and Analog Space Habitats”.

Director of SAM at Biosphere 2 Kai Staats provided an overview of SIMOC and SAM to the international audience.

By |2021-06-03T19:20:12+00:00June 3rd, 2021|Categories: Publications, Videos|0 Comments

Biosphere 2’s Lessons about Living on Earth and in Space

Space: Science & Technology
Volume 2021 | Article ID 8067539 | DOI
by Mark Nelson, Biospherian (1991-93)


Biosphere 2’s Lessons by Mark Nelson Biosphere 2, the largest and most biodiverse closed ecological system facility yet created, has contributed vital lessons for living with our planetary biosphere and for long-term habitation in space. From the space life support perspective, Biosphere 2 contrasted with previous BLSS work by including areas based on Earth wilderness biomes in addition to its provision for human life support and by using a soil-based intensive agricultural system producing a complete human diet. No previous BLSS system had included domestic farm animals. All human and domestic animal wastes were also recycled and returned to the crop soils. Biosphere 2 was important as a first step towards learning how to miniaturize natural ecosystems and develop technological support systems compatible with life.

Biosphere 2’s mostly successful operation for three years (1991-1994) changed thinking among space life support scientists and the public at large about the need for minibiospheres for long-term habitation in space. As an Earth systems laboratory, Biosphere 2 was one of the first attempts to make ecology an experimental science at a scale relevant to planetary issues such as climate change, regenerative agriculture, nutrient and water recycling, loss of biodiversity, and understanding of the roles wilderness biomes play in the Earth’s biosphere. Biosphere 2 aroused controversy because of narrow definitions and expectations of how science is to be conducted.

The cooperation between engineers and ecologists and the requirement to design a technosphere that supported the life inside without harming it have enormous relevance to what is required in our global home. Applications of bioregenerative life support systems for near-term space applications such as initial Moon and/or Mars bases, will be severely limited by high costs of transport to space and so will rely on lighter weight, hydroponic systems of growing plants which will focus first on water and air regeneration and gradually increase its production of food required by astronauts or inhabitants. The conversion of these systems to more robust and sustainable systems will require advanced technologies, e.g., to capture sunlight for plant growth or process usable materials from the lunar or Martian atmosphere and regolith, leading to greater utilization of in situ space resources and less on transport from Earth.

There are many approaches to the accomplishment of space life support. Significant progress has been made especially by two research efforts in China and the MELiSSA project of the European Space Agency. These approaches use cybernetic controls and the integration of intensive modules to accomplish food production, waste treatment and recycling, atmospheric regeneration, and in some systems, high-protein production from insects and larvae. Biosphere 2 employed a mix of ecological self-organization and human intervention to protect biodiversity for wilderness biomes with a tighter management of food crops in its agriculture. Biosphere 2’s aims were different than bioregenerative life support systems (BLSS) which have focused exclusively on human life support.

Much more needs to be learned from both smaller, efficient ground-based BLSS for nearer-term habitation and from minibiospheric systems for long-term space application to transform humanity and Earth-life into truly multiplanet species.

Read the full paper

By |2021-06-02T20:35:53+00:00March 15th, 2021|Categories: Publications|0 Comments

Trent Tresch, Kai Staats of SAM attend The Space Show

The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston

Tuesday 05 Jan 2021
Interview with Trent Tresch and Kai Staats of the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM)

Dr. David Livingston writes in summary of the interview, “We welcomed Trent Tresch back to the show and Kai Staats for the first time to discuss the SAM analog study at Biosphere 2 in Arizona. Our 65 minute discussion started by my asking Kai about his background and what specifically led him to the point of developing the SAM simulation model. Trent had experiences … that not only brought him in contact with Kai but to playing a substantial role in developing space [related projects] and the SAM.”

Download the entire interview …

By |2021-04-23T05:16:46+00:00January 6th, 2021|Categories: Publications|0 Comments

SIMOC, SAM presented at the Mars Society Convention

SIMOC at Mars Society Convention 2020

The Mars Society’s 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention will convene Thursday-Sunday, October 15-18, 2020, across this planet via the Internet!

The Mars Society’s four-day, international, virtual conference brings together leading scientists, government policymakers, commercial space executives, science journalists and space advocates to discuss the latest scientific and technological developments and challenges related to the human and robotic exploration of Mars and the eventual human settlement of the Red Planet.

Kai Staats will give a talk and live demonstration of SIMOC followed by a unveiling of SAM, a hi-fidelity, hermetically sealed Mars analog being constructed at the iconic Biosphere 2. [download slides (PDF)]

By |2021-06-20T00:54:31+00:00October 13th, 2020|Categories: Publications, Videos|0 Comments
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