SAM at B2, image by Bryan Versteeg

Visiting Research Teams
Academic and commercial research teams from around the world will propose scientific experiments to be conducted within and around SAM. The 5 research foci are by no means mandates, rather stimulation for the imagination and all that needs to be done to prepare humans for exploration of our solar system. Researchers can work on-site to conduct experiments or install equipment to be operated remotely, or ship test and data collection systems to be installed by SAM staff.

Scientific studies might include:

  • Soil, hydroponic, and aquaponic agricultural systems
  • Food production and food consumption studies
  • Plant-based CO 2 sequestration and bioregeneration
  • Converting regolith to soil, and soil health studies
  • Transition from mechanical to sustainable, hybrid ECLSS solutions
  • Seasonal radiation and artificial lighting studies
  • AI and robotics automation and cohabitation
  • Human factors, tool use, and haptics
  • Use of fully functional pressure suits in the surrounding Mars yard
  • Short-term food and sociology studies
  • Long-term studies in human psychology will be considered only for qualified teams.
  • To name a few …

Artists, writers, and filmmakers
SAM also welcomes non-scientific teams, such as artists, writers, and filmmakers. These team members much also submit a full proposal and undergo the full training required for safety and a positive SAM experience.

Living and Working in SAM
Teams may remain in situ from a week to a few months. Teams provide their own Mission Control (MC) from a fully equipped facility at Biosphere 2. The degree of simulation is set by the team, from full, real-time use of the internet to delayed communications that match the light travel time from Earth (MC) to Mars (SAM). Teams are encouraged to take advantage of the wide array of provided dry foods, further supporting the experience. Humidity is captured and water is recycled. The internal air pressure is maintained above external ambient to reduce biological contamination. CO2 is mitigated by mechanical and biological systems, compressed, and released again into the greenhouse. Oxygen is concentrated in the greenhouse and delivered to the habitat module. Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA) are conducted in full pressure suits. Managing partner Over the Sun, LLC provides team training and logistics prior to arrival and while teams are on site and engaged.

Living and working in the confines of a sealed habitat will provide immense challenges and memorable reward. Board games, cookbooks, art supplies, and a diverse lab bench are provided to encourage enjoyment of the analog world.

When COVID restrictions are reduces, the Biosphere 2 campus will once again open its conference centers to host educational and research-based venues built around the SAM experience. Grocery, hardware, specialty stores and restaurants are available in near-by Oro Valley and Tucson. The Tucson International Airport is one hour drive from SAM. Until further notice, visiting researchers are required to take a COVID test 48 hours prior to arrival to the Biosphere 2 campus and provide proof of a negative result.

Visiting team guidelines and protocols for training, facilities management, research, emergencies, and EVAs are being developed now. Stay tuned!