Since we finished our tour where we launched weather balloons to space to mark the beginning of A Decade With Mars, we’ve been busy planning what will happen next year.
We’ve got a project called Space For Trees lined up for 2016, which will re-visit the cities where we launched weather balloons to continue working within the same communities. This time we’ll be planting trees, replicating a tree planting ceremony that all astronauts have historically undertaken before leaving Earth. It started with Yuri Gagarin and has been kept up as a tradition by all astronauts using the Baikonur launch site in Kazahstan, which includes all missions to the International Space Station.
Beyond 2016, we are planning the next few years of A Decade With Mars. We’re starting to research missions on Earth which simulate the living conditions of habitats on Mars. There are many of these around the world, including The Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, which is run by The Mars Society. Excitingly, we’ve been meeting with Mars Society staff and are discussing the connections between our work and theirs, with a view to making a longer term research link.
Here’s our Mars Society (temporary) tattoos!
We’ve also been in contact with Andrzej Stuart, who is currently living in NASA’s longest Earth-based Mars simulation, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Hawaii Space Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS).
It’s early days, but this research will eventually lead to us making our own self contained living environment – a kind of pod to simulate how we would live on Mars, with links to thinking about sustainable futures here on Earth too.
Andrzej can’t speak directly to us while he is in simulation and all of his emails are subject to a 20 minute delay as it would be if he was on Mars. He’s recently sent us a video tour of where he’s living – here’s a few clips: