Crew 181 Mission Plan

Crew 181 Mars Desert Research Station

Mission Statement

Integrating the Arts on Mars

Mission Dates: May 14th – 28th, 2017



Crew 181 is a dynamic team of scientists and artists. The first of its kind, 181 holds the record for the most practicing artists on a MDRS crew. With a majority of crewmembers creating media – in the form of film, video, photography, installations, educational demos – we are a rotation that is dedicated to documenting the entire experience of a two-week simulation on Mars. By creating this documentation, we hope to educate and inspire people about the endeavors involved in creating and being a part of a Mars simulation through our individualized fine art projects and educational outreach programs.

With the cooperation between artists and scientists, we hope to translate our experience into a necessary platform integrating artistic curiosity and innovation with the rest of the STEM principles.



Cassandra Klos

Crew Commander / Artist-in-Residence

As crew commander, I will maintain strong leadership over the crew and the ongoing activities and research projects. I hope to keep the crew organized and schedule all EVAs, chores, meals, and activities so everyone can play an equal part of the simulation experience. I hope to keep morale high and avoid conflict among crew members throughout the entirety of the mission.

As artist-in-residence, I hope to continue to work on my photography project, Mars on Earth. I will be specifically focusing on crew morale within the Hab and the dynamic relationship we form with one another, the Research Station, and the surrounding landscape. My hope is to eventually display large-scale photographs and create an immersive Mars experience for viewers all over the globe. Accompanied by video, sound recordings, and ephemera created for (or during) this rotation, the work will be displayed in planetariums and science museums to bring an artistic point of view to natural STEM interests.



Charlie Rogers

Crew Engineer / EVA Specialist

As crew engineer, I will maintain the Hab systems such as power, water, gas, EVA suits/equipment, and any other broken systems. Personally, I am studying the role technological aids can provide in assisting EVA activities. I prepared a device for my MDRS visit intended to test one such aid. It is a forearm mounted computer which can be attached to various tools such as a USB microscope for inspection at high magnification while on EVA. The primary objective is to observe the ergonomics and use of this device. A secondary objective is to capture video footage of Hab systems/equipment for the purpose of informing future crews of what to expect prior to their stay.



Janet Biggs

Crew Artist-in-Residence / Journalist / Astronomer

As a MDRS artist in residence, I plan to film the entire experience of a MARS Simulation Mission, with a focus on the scientific and artistic research being conducted during the mission.  This footage will be edited into an immersive, large scale, multi-screen video installation which will premiere at the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the summer of 2018.

The project will then travel to galleries, institutions, and museums nationally and internationally.  I work with Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York, NY, CONNERSMITH gallery in Washington, DC, Analix Forever Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland, and Anita Becker’s gallery in Frankfurt, Germany.  I will exhibit this work with the galleries listed above as well as with museums and universities, including the Orange County Museum of Art and Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.

My videos and video installations start from a fairly traditional documentary approach.  I am interested in collaborations between artists and scientists.  One of the goals of my work is to generate more questions rather than present answers, both for myself and my audience.  I plan to use unexpected film juxtapositions to broaden interpretations for the audience.  By challenging myself in the production of this work, I will strive to translate the experience of life on Mars to an outside audience, allowing them a vicarious experience that I hope will be thought provoking, moving, and inspire dreams.

As crew astronomer, I propose to film myself in the Musk Observatory as I attempt to locate, photograph, and film planetary objects.  The actual photographs and footage that I gather will be incorporated into the project and be an essential element in an audience’s understanding of the desire to explore Mars.  By using footage of both myself in the observatory and images gathered from the observatory, I will be able to make connections to early explorer’s passion for unknown lands and the potential for discovery.  This more romantic footage and imagery will be juxtaposed with images of MDRS’s physical environment and habitat, including the daily maintenance tasks required.

By combining the romantic and practical sides of a Mars mission, I hope to give my audience, including potential Mars explorers, an inspiring and immersive experience.



Juan Jose Garcia

Crew Artist-in-Residence / Journalist / Health & Safety Officer

As an artist-in-residence, projects include building a runway for guest ships, bringing the experiences of Earth to the base by projecting sounds and landscapes of nature in our habituation module, celebrating Earth awareness day, and testing Earth souvenirs that don’t work on other planets like kites and compasses. These works and small scale sculptures planned during our mission at MDRS shall be documented in photography, video, and writing.

As a crew journalist, I aspire to channel the excitement of outer space.  Here on Mars, creating temporary pyramid forms will finally put the myths of Martians building them to rest by ourselves becoming the natives to Mars and building them. Living on a new planet will reveal that our perception and experience of the natural world on Earth are not universal. The different Earth objects we are going to test will not work on Mars. Through these gestures, living on a new planet will reveal that our perception and experience of the universe is not only based on Earth. This is as true for physical objects as well as our understanding of ourselves. As an artist on Mars I am compelled to make tangible the power of experiencing outer space.



Avishek Ghosh

GreenHab Officer

As a Greenhab officer, my main objectives in MDRS are to ensure proper management of Greenhab which is established along with MDRS habitat. My observation is very active and has been involved with agriculture since childhood. I have experience of seeding, plowing and watering on crops, grains and seasonal vegetables. According to my knowledge and experience, at the present situation, it is significantly essential to install an appropriate weather control and management system in order to create a simulated Martian atmosphere to continue research on growing plan inside the Greenhab.

From materials science perspectives, I am interested collecting various soil and rock samples to study and explore their compositions. Currently I am working towards growing plants on different soil compositions at Greenhab. My future work represents an extensive methodology of growing plants on Martian soil simulant. I am always keen to execute his plans and ideas with very deep though and broad view to analyze the outcomes for the efforts given for a particular project. With my engineering design skills and vision of growing plants on MARS, my goal is to redesign a better Greenhab Lab at MDRS campus.