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Space Domains

space-domain-postAs an organization, SEDS emphasizes entrepreneurship as one of its pillars of leadership. Many students are starting their own startup companies while in college, and some may want a creative way to showcase their resume and portfolio. Websites are a great way to accomplish this, and www.launch.space is making it easier to do so. They now allow people in the space industry to show their passion through their website. Rather than concluding a URL with .com or .org, students can now have .space in their web address!

Who should have it?
A web address of .space is perfect for anyone wanting a highly-focused way to represent their brand. This can be any organization from start-ups, research labs and organizations, hobbyists, interest groups, and so much more. This feature only costs $4.99, and the website even throws in a couple freebies, so it’s well worth checking out!

Visit www.launch.space for more information.


MDRS Mission, Sol 5

Here are the science updates, sol records, and journalist post from the team at the Hab on the fifth sol of their mission. Check out Facebook for posts including the photos from each day.


Journalist’s Report – Sol 5

The main event of the day (other than fresh scones) was the second major EVA to the area we’ve named the “dinosaur quarry.” There are a lot of interesting geological formations there that resemble dinosaur bones. The area seems like it may have been a small reservoir at some point, but is obviously long since dried up. It’s about 15 minutes away on our individual electric rovers. A cold, bumpy ride but not too bad. Some insulation lessons were learned from the first expedition on Sol 03. After a long exploration of the quarry area, the crew regrouped in the hab. A few showers and some greenhab work rounded out the majority of the day.

The weather was pretty typical today – bland skies and lots of cold. A small amount of precipitation, but not much stuck. Still too little data to draw conclusions about that. We shouldn’t see much snow at these latitiudes. I mean we’re hardly equatorial, but we’re a ways from the pole.. Maybe the wind currents are strong enough to scape some ice off and carry it all the way down? *shrug* Jury’s still out on that.

Speaking of the cold, our Greenhab progress is.. slow. We suspect some small leaks in the insulation that are causing the heating system to overload and shut down until things are near freezing, then snap back on full blast. Back and forth. We attempted to seal some of the gaps we found, but one of our mission commanders back home told us to
postpone repairs. Not sure yet how that will affect our research. Hopefully some lettuce can last a few light frosts.. On the other hand, all germination attempts are going well. We’ve got red and green oak lettuce, radish, and some mysterious unlabelled seeds that we found stowed away in the hab. I’ll let the biologists talk about that more though. I’ll just complain about the weather instead.

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about snow, really. Some of the crew came from dry desert areas on earth and have never had snow for the holidays. Christmas is coming up soon (we haven’t been here long enough for the time difference to throw us off yet – the first Martian Christmas will still be on Earth’s Dec 25.) We all brought small gifts for a white elephant exchange and are trying to decide on a fancy meal to celebrate. I’m sure we’ll think of something interesting. We’ve got a creative group.

Despite minimal coffee intake (gotta save water, ya know?), a lot of freeze dried food, rare showers, intermittent wifi, etc., crew morale is holding strong. Personality is obviously a major concern in the astronaut selection process – technical skills are a dime a dozen, but teams that work well under stress are more difficult to find. I have high hopes for the coming week. We all bring very different attributes to the table, but ones that fit together and are greater than the sum of their parts.

Of course, even with the crew getting along well, I’m still more than happy to complain. A massage and a shower would really hit the spot. It’s only been a few days, but those helmets are heavy and hard on the shoulders and We’re building up some considerable stank. We don’t have those ISS goon’s luxurious air filtering system or low gravity to keep things cleanly. Maybe we should just take turns snapping the airlock open for half a second each and freeze drying all the bacteria off of us.. Super dangerous. Not doing that.. At least for another 3 days.. Ha.



Science Log – Sol 5

We are afraid the plants in the GreenHab may die. The temperatures are just not favorable for plant growth.  The GreenHab is too hot during sunny days and too cold while the sun is obscured. The GreenHab is not sealed well enough to stabilize the inside temperature. Almost all of the plastic located inside of the GreenHab has noticeable heat deformation making several of the items unusable. Also, the seeds that were stored out there are not viable. The seeds that we brought with us have germinated but no growth is being seen from those supplied through MDRS, likely due to the heat they were stored in. The heater is severely undersized to keep up with the thermally inefficient GreenHab structure. Radish, lettuces and mystery crop are germinating very well in the crew quarters.

Geology, Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist
Outside the humidity has stayed high and the temperatures have remained fairly constant. The temperatures in the GreenHAB have stayed lower than what is optimal growing temperatures. The clouds have also reduced the Solar Flux reaching the ground and thus will hinder photosynthesis.

During our next EVA I will gather my time lapse camera from near the HAB and place another one outside that points toward a geologically interesting area. Near one of the hill sides by the HAB could be good because the forecasted rain will drain and we can watch the change over time.

Outdoor Temp – 31 F – 37 F
Outdoor Humidity – 88% – 99%
GreenHAB Temp – 50 F – 62 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 39% – 49%
Barometer – 29.50 – 29.60 inHg
Wind – 3.0 mph, gust – 4.5 mph
Solar Flux Max – 132.1 W/m^2
UV Index – 455 uW/cm^2
Recorded Precipitation – 0.04 in

Mars Self-Sleep Study Update
Even though we have struggled with adhering to the new sleep schedule, we recognize that it would probably improve our 24 hr productivity. This new schedule would prove to be beneficial because our window of free WiFi is from 2-7 MST (Mars Standard Time). We can be awake during a big chunk of this time and get some work done.

In general I think we are more productive as a crew when we go to bed earlier and get up earlier. If we were to go to bed by around 9 pm and wake up by 5 am we might be more productive in the mornings. Experimenting these new sleep schedules (either in one chunk or multiple) proves to be difficult but will pay off for future astronauts.

Philosophy of Colonizing Mars Report
I want to start discussing in this new report the ethics and vision of colonizing Mars. As a crew we feel this is an important issue to make public as we immerse ourselves in this research simulation. One idea I want to talk about in this first installment is planetary protection of the environment. When we create a permanent human settlement on the surface of Mars we will have to think about the ways in which we will protect the environment and to what extent it will be altered. Global warming is obviously an issue we know about here on Earth. On Mars we must think critically about the effects of our actions so that we can work and thrive while maintaining a balance with the Martian landscape.

Daily Sol Summary – Sol 5

SOL: 05
Person filling out Report: Anselm Wiercioch, XO
Summary Title: Week One Nearly Complete
Mission Status: Research moving along, but slowly.
Sol Activity Summary: Second EVA to dinosaur quarry, minor greenhab concerns
Look Ahead Plan: Christmas is coming up!
Anomalies in work: None
Weather: High 37F, Low 31F, wind avg 3mph, gust 4.5mph, precip 0.04″, grey cloudy skies
Crew Physical Status: Active. Full crew functional.
EVA: Crew B to dinosaur quarry
Reports to be filed:
– Sol Summary
– Journalist’s Report
– Science Reports
– 6-8 Photos
– EVA Plan
– Operations Report
Support Requested: None


MDRS Mission, Sol 4

Here are the science updates, sol records, and journalist post from the team at the Hab on the fourth sol of their mission. Check out Facebook for posts including the photos from each day.

Journalist Report – Sol 4

It snowed for a few hours today. That’s not supposed to happen.

Going to have to put some serious effort into revamping our understanding of Mars’ climate. Coldest day since we landed. The EVA crew decided to postpone until tomorrow due to potentially inclement weather. I’m not on tomorrow’s crew, but we might need to reprioritize some climate data while they’re out.. Will keep investigating.

Otherwise, today was a slow day. Some progress was made in the greenhouse, and the network connectivity issues persist despite many hours of messing with it. Felt like a snow day in elementary school where you’re off class and can feel christmas around the corner.

Our crew engineer engineered some cinnamon raisin swirl bread and it’s magical. The freeze dried food stores will probably start to wear on us eventually, but for the time being we’re living it up. As long as coffee and tea holds out, crew morale is going to be coasting just fine.

Connor and I’s sleep schedule is holding out strong. We aren’t being too strict about the schedule and we aren’t going too extreme – still a solid six hours or so per night, spaced into ~3 naps. We’ve been ever so slightly tired but that’s to be expected on the first day or two. Generally feel pretty energized though.

The most annoying thing at the moment for me is just being cooped up in a tin can. Really struggling to understand how all those super smart engineers on the ground decided a treadmill wasn’t necessary. Yoga and pushups only get you so far. The hab’s air system isn’t exactly refreshing either. Meh. It’s all good though. I’m sure we’ll get used to it. Or at least, we’ll be gone before it really starts to get to us.

We did find a massive binder of awesome (mostly old and/or super goofy) movies, so that’s helping the nights pass faster after work is done each day.

Nothing too crazy. The days are moving by faster as a whole.



Science Log – Sol 4

EVA Proposed Plan SOL 5 – We had to cancel the EVA for SOL 4 due to the inclement weather here at the HAB. For SOL 5 we propose the same format of EVA as SOL 3 but for the other three crew members who did not set out on SOL 3 (Geoffrey, Brittany and Sean). They will go to the dinosaur quarry and explore via rover. They will also take a GPS and map in order to gauge how easy it is to navigate to a precise location. The coordinates of this final location are the same as SOL 3: Northing: 4257412, Easting: 518238 Zone 12S.

Greenhab, Sean Gellenbeck – HSO and Greenhab Officer #2
Today marked the completion of the transplantation effort in the GreenHab.  We have assembled eight total conveyor trays (four Red Oak Lettuce and four Green Oak Lettuce in both hydroponic solution and in soil) and one tray with a density experiment which was planted in soil.  The slow process of sealing the GreenHab also began today.  We have continued to notice that despite the near continuous operation of the heater, the GreenHab does not stay within an acceptable temperature range.  At night, the temperature gets down to between 48 F and 54 F which is not conducive to productive and rapid plant growth that is necessary to sustain a healthy astronaut’s diet.  In order to help prevent some of the theorized leakage of heated air, clear caulk is being used to seal the places at the top of the GreenHab where air could escape.  This is a difficult process as the materials from which the GreenHab is constructed are clearly not meant to be used for a greenhouse.  We are concerned there may not be enough caulk on Mars to seal the GreenHab.  I hope future crews can figure out how to stabilize the temperature. Finally, the seedlings are germinating at excellent rates!  We can easily identify growth in the radish, green and red oak lettuce, carrot, and mystery crop.  Yay mystery crop!

Geology, Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist
Today no one had an EVA due to the inclement weather. We noticed that over the past 24 hours the temperature has remained very constant due to these clouds that have been around. The air has also spiked in humidity this afternoon which could be a factor in keeping the daily temperatures stable. The temperatures in the GreenHAB have also remained steady. The desired temp is 75 in the GreenHAB all the time, so this is an improvement from the wild temperature fluctuations the first couple days.

An interesting observation is that even though today the solar radiation was lower due to the clouds, the UV flux stayed about the same as past days. Proof that even on a cloudy day you need sunscreen!

The barometric pressure is lower today and has been dropping slightly this afternoon.

Outdoor Temp – 29 F – 35 F
GreenHab Temp – 53 F – 68 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 46%
Barometer – 29.52 – 29.92 inHg
Wind – 1.5 mph, gust – N/A mph
Solar Rad. Max – 173.9 W/m^2
UV Index – 526 uW/cm^2
Outdoor Humidity – 35% – 98%


Daily Summary Report – Sol 4

SOL: 04
Person filling out Report: Anselm Wiercioch, XO
Summary Title: Snowday
Mission Status: Active. Full crew functional.
Sol Activity Summary: Snow on ground, greenhouse work continues, EVA postponed
Look Ahead Plan: EVA tomorrow to follow up on initial Quarry recon
Anomalies in work: Nothing
Weather: High 35F, Low 29F, wind avg 1.5mpg, gust N/A, humidity 35-98%, grey cloudy skies
Crew Physical Status: Slightly stir crazy, but ok.
EVA: Postponed until tomorrow
Reports to be filed:
– Sol Summary
– Journalist’s Report
– Science Reports
– 6-8 Photos
– EVA Plan
– Operations Report
Support Requested: 


MDRS Mission, Sol 3

Here are the science updates, sol records, and commander report from the team at the Hab on the third sol of their mission. Check out Facebook for posts including the photos from each day.

Commander Report – Sol 3

Mission Support,

We’ve been on Mars for 3 sols now, and are forming a strong crew dynamic. Everyone is doing their best to ensure a productive and successful mission. Three of us went on an EVA today (Connor, Anselm, and myself) out to the Dinosaur Quarry to explore the area and get comfortable on the rovers while suited up. It’s been a cold and cloudy day, so the ride out and back was frigid. On our way out to the quarry, we set our pack rat (Bernie) free in the middle of the Martian desert. After returning, we all ate lunch together and discussed our plans for baking holiday treats this weekend.

We are generally staying warm and hydrated; although, while the facility issues have been addressed, we are disappointed with the internet access. Many of us were relying on internet access to complete tasks during our mission, and I personally need wi-fi to complete my research project. We cannot receive email or even navigate to a page on a browser about 90% of the time. This has made evening communications with CapComm, Mission Support, and Shannon Rupert very difficult. We also cannot track our package of mission patches or flight suits without the internet. Due to access settings put in place by the previous Crew Commander, we cannot utilize the other two routers at all. We’ve been monitoring our bandwidth, have turned off all Bluetooth devices, taken turns using our computers, and reset the router numerous times. Nothing has helped. This issue is causing seriously impediments to our mission goals, and we hope there is a way to resolve it with the help of Mission Support.

A Sol Summary, Engineering Report, HSO Report, Science Report, and photos will follow. There is also an EVA Request for Sol 4.

Thank you for the weather report and your support.

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Gibson
Commander, MDRS Crew 171


Science Log – Sol 3

Greenhab Report
Today began the transplantation of lettuce plants into the Greenhab! We chose our heartiest crop as the test cultivar for GreenHab conditions.  Temperatures have seemed to normalize but today was completely cloud-covered and therefore hostile conditions may return with the sun.  We are leveraging differences in soil and hydroponic systems in order to compare which growing systems may have advantages in an analog Martian habitat. Conveyor plant stages were setup for Red Oak Lettuce today.  Eight developmental stages will be present by the end of the mission. Six were carefully separated from the Rockwool in order to minimize root damage and planted into equal volumes of wet soil.  The hydroponic setup involved creating a hydroponic solution suitable for the broad range of plant life stages present in the conveyor experiment.  This involved starting with tap water and first adding a nutrient solution to get the electrical conductivity (EC) to an appropriate level.  This brought the EC to about 1.9 mS/cm.  The next step was to lower the pH to a slightly basic value.  After calibrating the sensor, the pH was reading 6.06 which was well within the acceptable range.  If all goes well, Green Oak Lettuce and other cultivars will be transplanted tomorrow.

Mars Self Sleep Report Study/Crew Well Being
Last night I tried to get up at 2 am but was not able to do work for long before going back to sleep. I know our plan was to only sleep for three hours at night and nap during the day but we found that the first few days of adjusting to this process are the worst. Almost as bad as flying to Europe or Asia through may time zones and adjusting. We want to raise awareness of the time differences for a Mars mission compared to living on Earth. How will the greater than 24 hr day on Mars translate to astronauts work and sleep patterns? Obviously on Mars, astronauts will be working and fixing things every minute while they are awake. We want to see how we can maximize astronauts’ productivity. As a crew we are going to try and go to sleep earlier one night and start our day by 6 am instead of 8 am like we usually do to see how this improves or reduces productivity. The crew seems to be in great spirits doing their work and surviving here on Mars. Cannot wait to see what SOL 4-13 bring!!

Today on our EVA we observed many interesting rock outcroppings and geologic formations. It is easy to see the stratified rock layers in exposed hillsides and cliffs. I moved the main weather station here at the HAB from the roof to ground level outside the HAB. The reason for this was that on the roof some of the heat from inside was affecting the temperature measurements. On the next EVA that I go on I plan to put another camera in a location of geologic interest (to be determined) as well as collect the video data from the time-lapse camera that has been sitting near the Hab for a couple days now. This camera will have daytime geology data as well as star exposure. Tomorrow it may snow here so I may give a camera to tomorrow’s EVA team to set up outside somewhere.

I plan to move the weather station inside the GreenHAB within the next couple days so that I can gather accurate weather data first. We want to eventually move it into the GreenHAB in order to use the solar sensor to measure solar flux in the Green HAB compared to outside.

The last time-lapse camera still sits inside the GreenHAB to monitor progress there.

Outdoor Temp – 18 F – 42 F
GreenHab Temp – 47 F – 73 F
Barometer – 29.81 – 29.87 inHg
Wind – 3.5 mph, gust – N/A mph
Solar Rad. Max – 201.7 W/m^2
UV Index – 576 uW/cm^2
Outdoor Humidity – 17% – 41%

Daily Summary Report – Sol 3

SOL: 03
Person filling out Report: Anselm Wiercioch, XO
Summary Title: Longer EVA, beginning greenhab setup
Mission Status: Active. Full crew functional.
Sol Activity Summary: EVA’d to Dinosaur Quarry, set up first conveyor stage in greenhab, planted first 12 plants.
Look Ahead Plan: EVA tomorrow to follow up on initial Quarry recon
Anomalies in work: back side of helmet cracked slightly on rock. Repaired with superglue and zip ties. Not majorly concerning, but helmet henceforth moved to reserve use only.
Weather: High 42F, Low 18F,  wind avg 3.5mph, gust N/A, humidity 17-41%, grey cloudy skies
Crew Physical Status: Slightly stir crazy, but ok.
EVA: Anselm, Geoff, and Alison to Dinosaur Quarry
Reports to be filed:
– Sol Summary
– Commander’s Report
– Science Reports
– 6-8 Photos
– EVA Plan
– Operations Report
Support Requested: Wifi still intermittent.



MDRS Mission, Sol 2

Here are the science updates, sol records, and journalist post from the team at the Hab on the second sol of their mission. Check out Facebook for posts including the photos from each day.

Journalist’s Log – Sol 2

We put together a schedule yesterday, but it may take some time to get on that sleep schedule. We all woke up about an hour late today. Fortunately, we didn’t have anything super time sensitive on the agenda so we just shifted everything back an hour. Good to go.

Everyone handled their own breakfast and we had a morning briefing around 11am. We decided to prioritize an EVA as soon as possible after landing and ensuring basic resources were available in order to assess the situation. The hab lands automatically and there haven’t been any mishaps since the early moon colonization days, but it never hurts to check. Most of our systems showed nominal by last night, so our briefing this morning mostly revolved around prepping for that adventure.

Around 11:45, the first EVA crew was suited up and ready to roll out. The suits took some adjustment to get everyone fitted, but even at their best they were heavy and awkward. The suits are thickly insulated and restrictive (not that I’m complaining, freezing isn’t fun), and the helmets cut your field of view to about 60 degrees vertical and 90 horizontal. Functional, but it takes some getting used to. Our commander has some vibrating-boot-augmented-reality system that’s supposed to identify obstacles so that you can keep your head up. After wandering around in these suits a bit, I think a system like that could be pretty handy. Guess we’ll find out later this week. At noon the three of us (Commander Gibson, Geoffrey, and myself.) entered the main airlock. The hab crew walked through the depressurization procedures while the three of us walked through our own mental depressurizations. A few seconds later the outer door opened and we stepped onto the surface of an entirely new planet.

You’re supposed to have some deep, meaningful message to drop at this point. Something short but poignant. “One small step for man” and all that jazz.

We were more focused on not dying. The suits (uncomfortable as they are) are designed to keep us warm and alive and oxygenated, but it’s one thing to read the spec sheet and another to put your life on the line testing them in an environment you’ve never seen before. An environment nobody has ever seen before with their naked eyes. It’s
beautiful. The landscape isn’t much crazier than the Utah desert, but there’s something immensely humbling about seeing it. It’s hard to describe. We’re further away from earth than anyone has ever been. And we’re going for a hike.

We’re not nearly poetic enough for this. What we are though, is alive. We looked over our own and each other’s suits and we ran all typical system checks and everything looks good. We sent a plan to CAPCOM that we’d be circling the hab at a half mile radius, and there’s a hill to the north that offers a good vantage point, so we head that direction. Once we reach the top of the hill, the land plateaus for a solid mile or two before hitting some steeper hills. Looking back, the hab appears well settled. Nothing unexpected. The landing algorithms did their job perfectly and everything was in place before we woke up. Solid.

The landscape is mostly soft dusty hills with clay and rock interspersed. Rolling hills surround the hab (the site was carefully selected to avoid dust storms and provide the best landing opportunities) but off in the distance there are many plateaus and further away, snow capped mountains. The thin atmosphere makes the limited color spectrum pop vividly. Rich reds and browns dominate, but there are streaks of purple and grey and blue interspersed and they break things up nicely. The sky is gray and dull, but not cloudy. Just.. flat. It sounds sad, but it’s not. It’s a warm, comforting gray, and it makes the surface feel even richer.

We take some recon photos to compare to our maps later, and we head off to the north, following the ridgeline. After another half mile or so, we run into a dry stream bed that runs back down to the desert floor. We follow the stream as far as it goes and reach the ground. Another five or ten minutes wandering yielded a broken chunk of solar panel and an old, worn battery. Must’ve been from one of the ancient rovers we sent, back in the day. Comforting to see another thing made by our species, even if it’s been torn to shreds. Nothing useful though. We’ve been out for about an hour now, so we head back toward the hab and open coms for the other crew to prep the airlock for our arrival.

When we get back, we go through the motions, careful not to track dust too far from the airlock. We strip our suits and help the second crew get their packs on. We have water now, and even though mars is chilly, our suits are warm and our packs are heavy. A shower is definitely on the agenda. After we get the second group out the door and ensure their systems are functional, we take turns manning the radio, showering, and eating lunch. Canned spinach and salmon. Nice.

A nap and some basic reports later, the second crew returns. They followed much the same path as us, and noted a lot of similar observations. Double EVA was a success. Ok guys, our work here is done. Good job. Let’s go home.


Not quite. Another day down and 13 to go. Let’s rock and roll.


EVA Jumping for Joy

EVA Jumping for Joy

Science Log – Sol 2

Today’s work (Sol 2) was all about setup and preparation of the equipment necessary for transplant of cultivars into the GreenHab. The first task in this process was to review the temperature data from the night of Sol 1 and determine if turning on the heater had the desired effect of keeping the climate acceptable for plant growth. While the hab remained above freezing all night (recorded low of 48 F) we determined it was likely that the gradient effect was preventing the warm air from getting down to the level of the temperature sensor. Therefore, we installed a box fan above the cooler to help increase the air circulation and hopefully reduce this gradient. We also experienced a high of 108.7 F at 12:17. We are now manually using both the heater and cooler for the coming days to try and maintain a relatively constant temperature moving forward. We are postponing the move of plant from the hab to the GreenHab until tomorrow to ensure acceptable temperature variation throughout the day. During EVA, we evaluated the systems that are currently in the GreenHab and prepared the equipment for the introduction of the plants tomorrow. We also turned the cooling fan on during the middle of the day again to help regulate and equalize the temperature. When the first group came back from their EVA, Curtis & Co. was also at the hab and we were able to have a very informative discussion with them about the plans for the aquaponics system. They will be back later in the week with necessary equipment to help assist with that setup process as necessary. The last major accomplishment for us was the germination of several species of seeds that will be moved into the GreenHab tomorrow. These species included Green Oak Lettuce, Red Oak Lettuce, Radish, Pinto Bean, Kidney Bean, Popcorn, Carrot, Spinach, Onion and a mystery crop whose seeds were discovered in the pantry upon our arrival into the hab. Yay Mystery Crop!

Today I installed the weather station on the roof of the HAB with the help of Crew Engineer Geoffrey Andrews. The weather station on the top of the HAB will provide a good vantage point so that the solar radiation sensor will be unobstructed. This data will be used by the GreenHab scientists in order to quantify solar radiation changes throughout the day. I plan on moving this weather station to the GreenHab eventually to compare solar radiation levels.

One of the time-lapse cameras was placed in the GreenHab today to record the progress in there throughout the duration of the mission. Tomorrow I plan to install a time-lapse camera on our EVA at our final destination to monitor the landscape.

Outdoor Temp – 10 F – 51 F
GreenHab Temp – 46 F – 108 F
Wind – 11.9 mph, gust – 12.3 mph
Solar Rad. Max – 592.7 W/m^2
UV Index – 3
Outdoor Humidity – 12% – 45%

Mars Self-Sleep Study
Anselm, the crew journalist and I, Connor, have decided to embark on a change of our sleep patterns in order to gauge the effects and application to sleep patterns on Mars. We have decided we need more time for work and a changed sleep pattern may help with this. Most people sleep by getting 6-8 hours at night and being awake for 16-18 hours during the day. Instead of this pattern, Anselm and I have decided to reduce our nightly chunk of sleep to 3-4 hours and two one hour naps during the day. This will increase our overall awake time during the day to 19 hr. I anticipate being tired the first day but then adjusting quickly to this pattern.

Hopefully if this works and we become much more productive, we can recommend these types of patterns for future astronauts. The Martian day is a little over 24 hours and this has proven to mess up humans’ sleep cycles in certain tests. We want to explore alternative sleep cycles:

11-2 am sleep
(7 hr awake)
9-10 am nap
(6 hr awake)
4-5pm nap
(6 hr awake)

Daily Summary Report – Sol 2

SOL: 02
Person filling out Report: Anselm Wiercioch, XO
Summary Title: First Recon
Mission Status: Crew is alive and well
Sol Activity Summary: Received water refill, went on first EVA
Look Ahead Plan: Planning longer recon EVA tomorrow, considering sealing water connection further.
Anomalies in work: None significant.
Weather: High 51F, Low 10F,  wind avg 11.9mph, gust 12.3mph, humidity 12-45%, clear and sunny skies.
Crew Physical Status: Less nervous, less thirsty. Generally OK.
EVA: Scouted local area around hab. Explored northwestern ridge and stream to the north of hab.
Reports to be filed:
– Sol Summary
– Journalist/Commander’s Report
– Science Reports
– 6-8 Photos
– EVA Plan
– Operations Report
Support Requested: Will be keeping an eye on internet connectivity, but generally OK for the time being.


SEDS-MDRS Has Landed!

Greetings from Mars! The SEDS-MDRS inaugural team has settled in for the start of their two week mission; look for daily updates here on the blog as well as on our facbook and twitter! For more details about the mission overall, check out the project mission page here.

Journalist’s Log – Sol 01

Waking up from cryo is strange, but after cycling a few hundred times in training, we’re all used to the feeling. Waking up from cryo and seeing the surface of another planet is not something you get used to.

We woke up slowly. All around the same time, but one by one. Not on much of a schedule yet. We’ll put that together after breakfast. Our emails are full of automated messages from CAPCOM. They know we’re “out cold” and aren’t expecting any response. Still, the crew works through their inboxes and we pass along a notification that we’ve successfully arrived and comms are functional.

We spent some time slogging through the ship’s stores (sorry, it’s the “hab” now, isn’t it..) and eventually decided on pancakes. We were supposed to save the mix for a special occasion, but collectively decided that hitting the surface aptly qualifies. Freeze dried blueberries are oddly comforting after almost 300 days of being freeze dried yourself.

At around 11am MST (Mars Standard Time, obviously) a local supply drone arrived with fresh water. Right on time – the ship/hab’s small in-flight tank was close to 6L. Not more than a day or two max with all of us active. The crew got the water system rerouted to pull from the station’s existing tank instead of the hab’s small in-flight tank and we successfully transfered a fresh supply over from the drone. As we would find out later in the day (only after a few showers and meals of course..) the drone malfunctioned and poked a hole in our supply line. Nothing was actively leaking, but next time we transfered water we’d have some issues. A short engineering exploration was conducted and we were able to retrofit the line to bypass the leak. We’re waiting for some adhesive to dry and will be testing the system tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Dehydrating within 3 days would not be a great start for the first people on the red planet.

We were also able to get the hot water heater and the greenhab heater started. After lunch, the hab is already starting to feel like home. I guess that’s a good sign. Going crazy would also not be a great start. The crew is getting along well. Obviously we’ve known each other and trained together for some time. Waking up from hibernation in a strange place that’s inherently running low on standard survival resources will put a strain on any relationship though. Christmas, New Year’s, and a Birthday should help to waylay any concerns there, at least for the meantime.

Anyways, our bandwidth is limited and there’s plenty of work to do still and some non-frozen sleep would be nice. More updates tomorrow. As it stands, we’re alive and warm and nothing is too broken.




2016 Board of Directors Election Candidates

Here are the candidates for the 2016-2017 Board of Directors. If you are the CoC representative, you will receive your online ballots shortly after 1:40 PM EST.


Andrew Newman

I have overseen administrative actions to keep SEDS-USA a non-profit. I have also initiated and acted upon projects like creating an online SEDS-USA store, creating a member management system, creating a new website, increasing our social media presence. This past year we focused on a lot of internal growth and development, I believe we’re at a point where we can make that growth and development tangible to chapters. I have realized that a lot of the projects we host: rocketry, business pitch, etc, don’t have much of an impact on the average SEDS chapter or average SEDS member. I believe SEDS needs a solid cornerstone to grow from, and I believe SEDS does not have that cornerstone currently. I would like to make that cornerstone similar to the NASA microgravity experience that was cancelled a couple of years ago. I believe this, in addition to building a strong member management system, is the most important thing we can do in the near term to build SEDS further. I would also like to institute a grant system where chapters and individual members can apply to SEDS-USA for grants for chapter or individual projects or research. Our goal is to push the boundary on exploration and development of space, I believe the best way we can do this is through research and entrepreneurship. We currently support entrepreneurship, let us now support research.

Vice Chair

Olivia Scharfman

I am an excellent candidate for Vice Chair, not only because I have the passion, skill and energy for it, but because I have years of experience in creating and maintaining good relationships between organizations and individuals. I deeply enjoy public relations work, and, since I was in high school, I’ve been keeping productive relations between the organizations I am a part of and the public. From getting donations and mentorship for my FIRST Robotics Team to contracting speakers for Yale’s SEDS Chapter, I have always sought to build a network of support for student endeavours. Perhaps just as importantly, I am absolutely willing and have the time to take on the responsibilities of the Chair if needed. SEDS means (beyond) the world to me, and I would love the opportunity to serve and give back to the community that has inspired me.


Bryan Bayardi

I am a current pre-business student who has previously taken financial courses in engineering and is currently taking Accounting and business statistics. I will be applying to our finance program next semester. I have experience as a compliance analyst with the University of Arizona Parking and Transportation Service as well as experience supervising 5 cashiers as an Assistant Pool Manger in the City of Phoenix Aquatics Division. One of my greatest passions is generating success through efficiency and I would like to extend that to the national SEDS organization as treasurer.


Richard Luzader

My name is Richard Luzader and I’m running for secretary. I’m currently the secretary of SEDS UCF and I regularly take notes during meetings. Communication and honesty allows an organization to function effectively.

Christopher Bert

I bring to the secretary position not only my passion for space and humanity’s future in it, but an understanding of the organization and careful administration that underpins any complicated endeavor. Through many years of managing my scout troop and running band ensembles, I have learned the skills needed to keep a large group of people connected and moving forward. Though I am relatively new to SEDS, I am excited to get involved and help bring the organization to new heights.

Council of Chapters Chair

Emily Judd

As the current CoC Chair, I have had the opportunity to work with the SEDS-USA board and the representatives of the chapters. In this role, I have worked to improve communication channels between the board and the chapters. We now have a record of meeting notes and chapter updates from the past year, attendance records for the CoC meetings, and a variety of other resources now available to the CoC representatives. As SEDS-USA grows, I have been able to assist with chapter expansion efforts; we’ve added over 20 chapters this year! During my time as CoC Chair, I have learned to work with different chapter organizational styles and personalities to help the chapters as much as possible. The relationships that I’ve built with the CoC reps has encouraged me to reach out even more. If reelected, I have several ideas for this next year. The biggest issue is that our rapid growth is straining some of our current systems. I’d like to develop a CoC meeting structure that makes the best use of everyone’s time – whether that be moving to regional meetings or having more topic-based discussions could be determined with the input of the CoC. We also need to address the meeting platform as there have been issues with getting everyone signed in at once. I also want to continue work on establishing high school space organizations. Most importantly, I would like to continue work on re-establishing connections with some of our less active chapters and building them up.

At-Large Member (x2)

Mike Mongo

As author of children’s book best-seller The Astronaut Instruction Manual, my work is primarily space STEM educator encouraging young students to pursue careers in astronautics and space science-related fields. I evangelize zealously for the pursuit of astronautics and space exploration. My work includes encouraging and inspiring other teachers and science professionals. However, the time spent with students is my most rewarding. Complimentary to this, my background building such brands as proprietary brands as OBEY and The Ecko Unlimited Company. Finally, I am a co-founder of Computers For Jamaica. Our program has grown now to include Haiti and others in the Caribbean. I am an advocate for nature, health, human rights, and fair play.

Rachael McKee

I am currently the president of the Metropolitan State University of Denver chapter. Metro is a very diverse and spread out campus, getting members involved is quite the task. An approach I have come up with is rather than just publicizing us as a “project-based” organization, we have come up with our own space talks where engineers from around Colorado come in and give a little talk on whatever they feel is good to inform people on. Another form of general member involvement is through aerospace business tours that are around Colorado. Besides that, we have general meetings that consist of project updates and we discuss a current topic going on in the space news industry. I have been the treasurer of the Family, Community, and Career Leaders of America (FCCLA) at my high school but that was a few years ago; I managed our “chocolate fundraiser” that brought in a little over $4,000.00. Unfortunately that is the only accounting I have done personally. I have been thinking about a few things that could change SEDS-USA for the better. My overall theme is, promoting identity. I think this should be considered in two different sections; the present and the future. I think a good start for the present would be to get an online store up and running that would consist an array of apparel. Lets get the logo out there even more than we are now and get people asking, “what is SEDS?”. A relatively easy way to get this array of apparel would be through a t-shirt design competition with a simple rule like, you must have the current SEDS-USA logo somewhere on the T. There would be say, the top five best designs would turn into material for the online store. If you want to promote identity, you have to reach out to everyone within the org to determine what that identity should be. For the future, I see SEDS as becoming an even large organization with a larger pull on the industry than we have now. The idea is, how did we get to space in the first place? Through competition. Space Race! If we boost our competitions by increasing the rewards, advertising the hell out of the competitions, and adding another project or two we can create our very own space race at a younger age. Then the goal would be to translate that sense of competition and creation into the real world when students graduate they already have the idea that we need to get to space! As for the Vice Chair position itself, I am gifted with an amazing geographical location. With over 400 aerospace businesses in Colorado, it is very easy to get in contact with each and every one. Maintaining relationships with current sponsors is easy, you need to email them every so often and update them with how the club is doing as a whole. Tell them about all the new chapters that we have added and boast about the people in each club. As for sponsor procurement, because I am so strategically placed, I attend events like the National Space Symposium, AIAA’s annual technical symposium for the rocky mountain region, I am an active member of the Colorado Space Business Round Table and believe me when I say, it is easy for me to approach the CEO of Ball corporation (really cool guy), the CEO of Red Canyon (also really cool guy), the CEO of Oakmen Aerospace (another cool guy, obviously) and boast about SEDS, its mission, and every talented, creative, and inspiring individual within the org.

Katherine Denner

I’m keen on satellites and have worked on a number of different projects (prototyping power systems at SpaceX, designing sunshields for NASA’s JWST student competition, deorbiting with the Princeton Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab). I’d like to help expand SEDS’ offerings in the satellite field.

Antonio Stark

I have managed organizations from few tens to few hundreds and few thousands, domestic and international, engineering or otherwise. I have built the Korean Youth Society for Aerospace, the largest engineering student network in Korea, and am serving as organizer for the International Space Development Conference and Yuri’s Night San Francisco & Bay Area. My experience greatly exposed me to student initiatives in aerospace, which compelled me to create a SEDS-SK (South Korea) chapter. This national chapter is not yet published, and I wish to gather greater experience at SEDS-USA to be able to finish the process when I go back to Korea next year.

Ian Vanness

Junior Physics student at UCF. Immense zeal for any and all space projects/activities, going back longer than I can remember. Two time winner of the International Space Settlement Design Competition. SEDS-UCF Director of Activities.

Brad Foreman

Since I found out about SEDS only a few short months ago, I created a chapter at our school that incorporates over 50 members not only in sciences, but also in business, history, criminal justice and psychology. I especially recognize the value of multi-disciplinarianism in the space field and jave experience working to gather those typically less-interested. What I bring to the table is experience in the space field and a desire to connect that interest to those of non-STEM backgrounds to SEDS.


Running for the Board of Directors Election

Being a team player and reliable communication are vital to the success of every member of the SEDS-USA staff and board. However, there are specific tasks each board member will work on, and certain attributes that naturally go along with these tasks. Aligning your skills and experience with a specific board position can help ensure the right fit when applying, and enable you to better represent yourself when running for election.

What follows are my thoughts as Chair of the Board of Directors on each position and what it takes to be successful.

At-Large Board Member

In the past, the big idea has always been we want YOU to have big ideas. At this point, however, we have a backlog of amazing projects that we don’t have the manpower to get to, so it’s important that you can start and complete projects without heavy oversight. Some of these projects include new competitions, the creation of an industry jobs board, and an annual SEDS hackathon. We are open to new projects, but will prioritize projects with the highest impact.

CoC Chair

The Council of Chapters (CoC) Chair runs and manages the CoC, and stays in contact with chapters to ensure SEDS-USA properly supports them. The CoC also acts as the “voice of the chapters” in Board of Directors (BoD) meetings. All BoD members think in terms of what’s best for chapters, but the CoC Chair’s position allows her unique insight. It’s important the CoC Chair is happy to help chapters and engages with them on a consistent basis. SEDS has grown by 50% in the past year, and we are on track to add at least another 20 chapters this coming year. The CoC Chair needs to be ready to handle a growing chapter base.


As Secretary, you must be reliable and organized. You are required to take notes at board meetings, and this currently amounts to once a week. Google Drive is likely the most important tool SEDS-USA uses, and while simple, it is of utmost importance that it is well maintained and organized. Over the past few months, we’ve given the Secretary responsibility akin to a project manager. The secretary manages the Kanban Board (an online board that separates tasks by current, soon, and future) and ensures it stays up-to-date with tasks. The Secretary doesn’t prioritize or order tasks, but does ensure board members always have a current task.


We use the accounting software Xero and handle more than $100,000 in revenue annually. For Treasurer, you should really be studying accounting, or have a strong desire to learn accounting. We also plan to apply for grants this coming year, so previous grant writing experience is a bonus, though by no means required.


The Vice-Chair maintains our relationships with sponsoring companies, other organizations, and the Board of Advisors. A large part of this is to “sell SEDS” to companies to sponsor us, and build up our current relationships with other organizations. You will create the sponsorship prospectus and engage with our company contacts to ensure SpaceVision is funded along with our other projects and competitions.


So you want my position? Good luck 😉 . At any one time, there will be ten different things you and the board could be doing; you need to know how to prioritize and complete tasks. A large part of the position is a mix between At-Large and Vice-Chair, where you’re working on new projects for SEDS and helping with sponsorship. You’ll also handle personnel and other issues that affect SEDS-USA. You must have a strong vision for how you want SEDS to evolve over the next couple of years, and know how to accomplish that vision. Basically, you need to be a well-rounded leader to excel as Chair.

Final thoughts

Some of the tasks listed are likely things you’ve never done. We have documentation and are happy to support you along the way. Very few people come into SEDS leadership knowing exactly how to do their job, it’s through willingness to learn and the support of others that we are all successful. Best of luck running for the Board of Directors!


Jeff Bezos to donate $250K Heinlein Prize to SEDS student space leaders organization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos announced yesterday that he would donate his $250,000 prize to Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS-USA).

In recognition of his recent accomplishments in commercial space activities, Bezos won the Heinlein Prize and a quarter of a million dollars in winnings. He was president of his SEDS chapter during his time at Princeton University.

While offered annually, the Heinlein Prize has only been awarded three times in its history. PayPal and SpaceX founder Elon Musk won the Heinlein Prize in 2011, and Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of X-PRIZE Foundation and SEDS-USA, won the inaugural Heinlein Prize in 2006.

Current plans would allocate most of the donation to the SEDS-USA endowment fund – a memorial fund dedicated to Darrell D. Cain – so that the money can impact generations of students to come. This plan is pending approval from Jeff Bezos, the Board of Trustees, and the Board of Directors.

“Everyone at SEDS is really excited about the news,” SEDS-USA Chair Andrew Newman said. “Jeff Bezos’ generous gift is going to make an immediate impact as we gear up for our 2016 SpaceVision conference, as well as a lasting impact for our 60 chapters and 2,000 student members nationwide. We thank Jeff Bezos for this gift and we pledge to make the 2016 SpaceVision conference the best yet.”

SEDS-USA, whose purpose is to promote space exploration and development through educational and technical projects, is the largest student organization of future space leaders. SEDS-USA is a national 501(c)3 non-profit with the goal of empowering students to participate and make an impact in space exploration.

For all press inquiries, interview requests, and more information, contact Chelsey Ballarte at Press@seds.org.


Andrew Newman
(703) 774-5047

John Conafay
Executive Director, SEDS-USA
(240) 486-0803


Texas A&M University SEDS Chapter Profile


Chapter Overview

The Texas A&M Chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (TAMU-SEDS) was founded with the interest of uniting and inspiring like-minded students to pursue education and involvement in space-related fields. We have about 20 regular members from a broad variety of STEM majors. Our chapter encourages fraternity through events and projects, hosts exciting guest lecturers, and contributes to the wellbeing of the local community. Opportunities abound for our members thanks to the tremendous engineering and aerospace facilities at Texas A&M University. We are also proud to have strong ties with the NASA Johnson Space Center, especially through the continuous support and mentorship of professors and former astronauts Dr. Gregory Chamitoff and Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar.


Outreach Events

TAMU-SEDS has a strong focus on inspiring and involving more people in discussions and innovations in the future of space exploration. One of the major ways that our chapter inspires youth is to visit middle schools and high schools to give demonstrations, as well as inviting the students to our campus-operated observatory. Many members also volunteer in other STEM programs, such as the SpaceX Hyperloop competition that was hosted by Texas A&M during this previous academic year. The event consisted of over 100 national and international universities. TAMU-SEDS helped in the organization of the event and even had a participating team move forward in the competition. Several of our members are actively involved in the Zero Robotics Challenge, serving as mentors for a group of local Texas teams competing in the international SPHERES robot programming challenge. In addition, the chapter helped to coordinate an ‘Aggies Invent’ design competition in conjunction with our university’s Engineering Innovation Center, during which participant teams were tasked with rapidly developing additively manufactured systems that could be printed in space to fulfill a variety of needs onboard the International Space Station.


Social Events

The TAMU chapter holds regular social events for members and newcomers to enjoy and grow in our mutual passion for all things space. Common events that SEDS members participate in are star-gazing parties, camping trips, and meeting with Texas A&M faculty and industry leaders with tremendous experience in both the engineering and scientific aspects of space exploration. In the last year, a large group of members visited locations such as the Johnson Space Center and the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas, and held an inter-organization social of attending the opening night of the film “The Martian” with the Texas A&M Chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Many of our members attend, and even volunteer at, industry related conferences like SpaceVision, the SpaceCom Expo, and NewWorlds. Further, we partake a massive annual community service project called the ‘Big Event,’ during which over 20,000 Texas A&M students helping residents and small businesses around the Bryan-College Station area during the Spring semester.

Graced by their abundance at Texas A&M, our chapter also frequently tours local world-renowned research facilities, such as the Cyclotron Institute, the Klebanoff-Seric Wind Tunnel, and the Land Air & Space Robotics Laboratory.


Technical Projects

During the past year, members expressed interest in developing an internal sub-group for learning about, and experimenting with, small rocketry technology. To this end, members met with the Tripoli Rocketry Club in Hearne, TX on multiple occasions and received training in 3D printing technology as it relates to rocketry endeavors. This project will continue into the coming academic year and will include monthly meetings with the Tripoli Rocketry Club, and additional focus on rocket-related innovation.

Many of our members also take part in external space-related projects. A few examples include AggieSat Lab, which designs, builds, and flies satellites; the High Altitude Balloon Club, which performs atmospheric research; and the Sounding Rocketry Team, a team who sends rockets from sketchpad to skyward.


Goals for the Coming Year  

In addition to continued membership growth, guest lectures, and industry tours, TAMU-SEDS anticipates several exciting upcoming projects, including assisting with the establishment of a new high school SEDS group. In an alliance with the university’s nationally ranked observatory, members will also have an opportunity for hands-on training in optical telescope systems and astronomical research. Further, the organization looks forward to contributing to virtual reality simulation systems in coordination with Mars City Design and many others. This summer and throughout the year, TAMU-SEDS is collaborating with the Texas A&M ASTRO Center to develop a powerful virtual reality platform using the HTC VIVE head-mounted display. The chapter also plans to participate in the upcoming Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) design challenge and forming an interdisciplinary team to work with NASA mentors and develop concepts for the future of human space exploration.