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Sol Journal – October 26th

October 26, 2016

Bioregenerative Life Support Systems

This report was filed by Anastasiya Stepanova- Crew Journalist

Finally, we received equipment for an interesting experiment. It is a mix of human factors studies, life support system and agriculture. Our remote science team expert Heather Hava proposed research program Bioregenerative Life Support Systems (BLiSS), which will make our life at Mars Desert Research Station even more Earthy. It focuses on developing plant growth robotics and automation technologies such as SmartPOT to improve astronauts’ nutritional and psychological health during long-duration space missions.

For the last couple of days the crew was busy setting up this unique experiment. Basically, each crew member will have its SmartPot with desirable plants in it, devices “embrace”(wearable monitor) placed on their wrist and the beacon. The SmartPots are hydroponic system, which will monitor the health of the plants and let us know whenever it needs more care. Plants can be placed in different locations, but most preferably in the zone where crew members spend the most of the time, therefore remote science team can monitor psychological and health status. The embraces will be on 23 hours per day and only will be taken off in the morning for one hour to charge. The beacon system will monitors the movement of the crew around plants and time spend next to the plants.

We are very curious to start new chapter of living at the station with our new pets: basils, strawberries, peas, onions, leafy Asian greens, lettuce. Expect a very happy journalist report after we harvest and enjoy our fresh Martian food.   

In this particular case, we see that space exploration unites nature (plants), robotics and human factors. In a hostile space environment one can’t live without another. Bioregenerative Life Support Systems will be the cornerstone of successful long duration human space exploration missions, which will help to sustain colonies on Mars.