VSHAPER working with M.A.R.Sadmin
For two weeks, Rzepiennik Biskupi – home to the largest privately owned observatory in Poland – will become the focus of a major attempt to recreate the conditions of a mission to Mars. For 6 participants, life on Mars will move from theoretical possibility to reality thanks to the team running M.A.R.S (Modular Analogue Research Station).
The participants will test the potential effects on the space crew during missions, which, until now, have only been theoretical; undergoing psychological and sociological examinations in order to gain a better understanding of what missions such as these could entail.
M.A.R.S is an initiative developed by Dr Agata Kołodziejczyk, a neuroscientist from the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. One of the key projects she is involved in at the Agency is the “Moon Village”, which is to be the first permanent base placed on the Earth satellite.
The imitation habitat will consist of four modules located underground and a central office where you will find a kitchen and a social room.
In the first module there will be living quarters and a gymnasium. In the second and third, there will be research instruments and bioreactors, and a fully equipped laboratory. And the final module will serve as a storage facility for food, clothing and everyday objects.
The participants will travel through the nearest area on foot or in a small vehicle for 2 people, equipped with space suits that measure oxygen levels, carbon dioxide, pressure and temperature. An imitation Mars rover created by students from Rzeszów University of Technology will then collect samples for research.
A large group of Polish companies is involved in the experiment, providing many aspects of the station such as microgravity simulation machines and the previously mentioned bioreactors. One of the most interesting partners in this venture, VSHAPER 3D, will be tasked with using their leading 3D printing technology to aid in the cultivation of edible plants.
“We decided to combine hydroponics with 3D Printing to create a modern hydroponic cultivation dedicated to space solutions. Containers that will be included in its composition will be printed using 3D Printing technology in cooperation with the VSHAPER Printer manufacturer”
Olga Grabiwoda from the Design Institute in Kielce.
The only initiative of its kind in Europe, M.A.R.S is one of few projects willing to engage in this kind of research in the world – only three others exist, one in China, one in Hawaii and the other in the Deserts of Utah. Dr Kołodziejczyk and the other originators of the project hope that the mission will not be the first and only one to use the M.A.R.S. If funding from sponsors can be sourced, it is hoped that more missions will be prepared in the not-so-distant future.