The INCLUSION missions are among the first terrestrial analog space missions specifically focused on accessibility and adaptability. These missions will take place at the Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM) at Biosphere 2, Spring 2023. The goals of the missions are:
Inclusion – The missions will provide selected individuals an opportunity to perform scientific research in a diverse, inclusive simulation mission, without the frequent barriers of discrimination, cost, or accessibility.
Accessibility – These missions will facilitate the integration of persons with a disability in analog/simulations of the Moon or Mars, while actively working to improve accessibility and inform future accessible designs.
Scientific Research – The crew members will perform rigorous scientific research during the missions and disseminate the results to the appropriate audience, academic journals, and institutions. This research will be applicable to future space habitat design, astronaut well-being and human spaceflight in general.
Promote Diversity in STEM/Spaceflight -The final goal of the INCLUSION mission is to demonstrate the unique skills and adaptations that a diverse, mixed ability crew can contribute to human spaceflight.
Inclusion II – Mission Plan
The full mission plan for team Inclusion I is available for download here.
Inclusion II – Mission Updates
The training, entry to SAM, and daily updates for Crew Inclusion I are available with the SAM photo essays, “Research Teams” category.
Bindhu Oommen, Crew Commander and Medical Officer, MD MPH FACS is a board-certified, practicing general surgeon from Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. Her professional experiences include medical and surgical missions work in Africa and South America. As an analog astronaut, Bindhu endeavors to learn about human space flight and what it takes to live in space in controlled environments with life support systems. Her analog astronaut experience includes Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in 2018. She has been volunteering at Space Analog for Moon and Mars (SAM) one week a month since Fall 2022. Bindhu loves to travel, hike, camp, and read; she always seeks to go, to see, to find, to experience, to learn. A trek to Everest Base Camp in February 2020 was life-changing, and she finds it appropriate that Tenzing Norgay would capture it best for her: “To travel, to experience and learn: that is to live. The world is wide, and you cannot see all of it even from the top of Everest.” Her singular aim both personally and professionally is to seek and to serve God.
Keridwen Cornelius, Crew Journalist, is a freelance journalist and editor whose work has been published in Scientific American, Science, The New York Times, Sapiens, Medscape, Outside, and more. She has written about a range of topics, including climate change studies at Biosphere 2, the history of space research in Arizona, an innovative way to save Western rivers, and environmentally focused art. In addition, she has worked as a developmental editor at Sapiens, helping archaeologists and anthropologists bring their scientific research to a broad audience. A native of Arizona, she now lives in Berlin. She will be writing about the Inclusion 2 mission and researching the mental health benefits of plants in a moon habitat simulation.
Sahda Haroon, Crew Engineer, is a freshman at Purdue University going into Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. At the age of 19, she is Sri Lanka’s first Citizen Scientist-Astronaut candidate and the island nation’s youngest technical diver. Sahda dreams of helping build the technology to get humans to Mars and be among the first people to walk on the red planet. As a student pilot and engineer in the making, Sahda is passionate about aviation and space travel. Apart from her education, she is involved with the Purdue Space Program, a SEDS chapter at Purdue University, working on their brand-new liquid-propellant rocket. Sahda also advocates for STEM and Women’s empowerment— she founded the Scholars Astronaut Club when she was 14 and became a director for The Space Club of the American Center in Colombo a few years ago. In addition, Sahda enjoys being outdoors, listening to podcasts, and learning new languages in her free time.
Andy Squires, Crew Communications and Accessibility Officer, is a Senior Applications Administrator at American University and live in Arlington, Virginia. He has been working in Information Technology for about 25 years and received his BS in Geography with a focus on the regional geography of Africa. More recently (2018) he earned an MSc in Space Studies with focus on Planetary Science from the University of North Dakota. Andy has always had an interest in space and recalls the Apollo missions. He grew up in Colorado and Michigan and has traveled extensively, including spending summers in Sierra Leone, Germany, and three weeks as a student in South Africa and Namibia. He and his wife completed a wonderful bicycle trip across Thailand and Laos in 2010 and has at different times participated in rowing crew, rock climbing and skiing. Andy and his wife have two children, ages 10 and 12. Andy will bring a guitar to SAM, but decided to leave the trumpet at home.