In much the same way that the International Space Station has brought humanity together for a common goal and taught us how to survive long duration spaceflight, our research at MDRS aims to teach us about what happens when we actually land somewhere. And there's a lot to be learned.
Our primary focus is EVA (spacewalk) related. And since nobody's walked on the Moon since 1972, there's a lot to be done. We even have a robot to come along and help us and ATVs masquerading as rovers.
But what if something goes wrong? What happens if you're kilometers away from the safety of your base and your partner breaks his leg? How do you get them back? What happens if your radio stops working and you can't talk to the person standing right next to you? What if that person is actually kilometers away, hurt and with no radio?
Well, in two weeks we plan to have some answers.
But before anyone goes anywhere on another planet they'll need to establish some basics (and we'll need to finish building the rocket ~2017). Air, water, and food are all high on the list of things you'll want with you when exploring the Solar System. Instead of packing years worth of supplies though, what if you could make your own when you got there? That's where our plant research comes in. Plants can provide all of that and more, but we'll need to learn how to grown them out in space using dirt that's never supported plant life before.
So we have a pretty packed schedule ahead of us: we'll need to maintain the habitat that's ostensibly keeping us alive, perform the experiments listed above, and more. We'll be sure to include some free time in there as well with movies, books, exercise, and a telescope to take advantage of the stunning night sky.
As our mission progresses we'll be posting our daily reports, pictures, and personal thoughts during our time at the habitat. With different authors and different perspectives we hope you get an idea of who we are as individuals, and who we are as a crew. We arrive Saturday. See you on Mars!