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Sol Journal – November 2nd

November 2, 2016

Mars 160 selection process

The Mars 160 mission does not include only the simulation but of course the preparation on the different levels. It started 2 years ago when Mars Society made a call for volunteers for the Mars Arctic 365 mission. In the fall of 2014 out of 200 people 20 volunteers were chosen. They separated into 3 crews and had to pass 2 weeks rotation at Mars Desert Research Station. Each crew member proposed their own science, engineering or outreach project and went through several psychological tests. I was in the crew 143, the only girl, the only Russian and the only one without any science or engineering background. The rest: engineers – Alexandre Mangeot (France), Ian Silversides (Canada), Claude-Michel Laroshe (Canada); geologist – Paul Knightly (USA); botanist – Paul Sokoloff (Canada). Even though we had so many differences, we lived as one multifunctional organism. The reason for such a smooth and productive work was one mutual goal – to perform as a crew at its maximum.

The Mars Society judges examined all those actions and after six months we got our most waited for email. Since then the life of crew Mars 160 started to evolve in an interesting curvy way. We had to rearrange crew members, because, unfortunately, some could not participate in the mission due to their personal reasons. We had to rethink the whole concept of the mission and came to an even better conclusion. Instead of doing one year simulation, which was already done by Institute of Biomedical Problems, HI-SEAS, etc. The Mars Society decided to do a unique twin-study in different locations but with the same crew and same research projects. The different terrain will cause different field science results. Maybe the desert and Arctic are much more similar than we think. In September of 2016 the crew started the first part of this 160 days experiment: Mars Desert 80 days. In June of 2017 the second part of the mission Mars Arctic 80 days will take place. The results of both simulations can vary a lot or be similar. Here is where the fun part start: data evaluation, conclusions, decisions! Months will pass. The Mars 160 Analogue mission will be finished but our remote science team will continue to surprise the world with new information based on the work we will have done.