GreenHab Report #1 – May 23rd

Greenhab Report

Avishek Ghosh

Scientist and Greenhab Officer


Let’s Go Green


Figure 1: Green leaves at MA (D) RS

There has been a visionary approach since a decade of sending Human to MARS. But, the question arises how do we survive there? There is an expectation of intensifying better technological advancement by transforming scientific research into solving real life challenges.  Terraforming MARS is not just challenging but also requires an extensive level of research to understand the effects of extreme weather conditions on living cells. It is also important to evaluate the surviving capabilities of living cells in presence of   chemical and biological reactions. So, performing identical experiments under two different environmental (earth like and Martian Atmosphere) conditions and swapping the experiments under simultaneous transition of environments could lead us to a new dimension of biological research. It will be beneficial for advancing survival and protection mechanism to allow the micro-organism to adopt the mutation capabilities under extreme environments.


Problem statement:

My interest has always been to delve deeper into the subjects associated with future space settlements specifically, in the area of life support system. It is a controlled and interactive platform which interacts with the responses from human respiratory system and functionality in order to keep human being (Astronauts) alive in space or under extreme environments. It is the most essential element for the manned space exploration. Considering the facts explained above, there are some major important factors interlinked with future MARS exploration,

  1. Generate sufficient amount of oxygen and reduce the level of Carbon-di-oxide in order to create a suitable balance in the atmosphere inside the habitat.


  1. It is also important to find an alternative of growing plants under extreme environment as a substitute method which could reduce the continuous resupply of food.


  1. Study and understand effects of radiation on different plants and the reactions and impact of such radiative energies with soil.


  1. It would be beneficial to have an onsite operational Green Hab lab under a controlled and simulated Martian atmosphere at MDRS to perform extensive level of research for better understanding how to grow food and avail oxygen under extreme environment like surface of MARS.


So, in my opinion, it is very important to design a suitable Greenhab not only to avail oxygen but also growing plants to support life inside the habitat for a long duration space mission under extreme environment. A well maintained Greenhab could be a major element acting as a contributory factor to the life support system for a long duration space mission in future.

Figure 2: Importance of developing a Greenhab at MDRS

Vision: The real implementation and integration of building a better technology for human settlement on Mars, is essentially a matter of further research. As an example, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norwegian Island is a global seed back which preserves a wide verity of plant seeds. Similarly, MDRS Greenhab could be a seed/plant vault growing different plants under simulated atmosphere maintaining the exact weather conditions inside the Greenhab with the subsequent countries, the seeds are collected accordingly. So, initially the research could be conducted on collecting various soil samples and seeds from various locations on earth. The MDRS Greenhab will act as an International hub of Martian Research and Simulation for perform extensive level of research considering Greenhab as a life support system for long term space mission in future.

                                              Figure 4 : Future perspectives of MDRS Greenhab


As it is explained above, two different Greenhab Lab is required to continue research activities on producing oxygen and food by growing plant inside the Greenhab Lab. The execution of developing a small Greenhab (Simulated Martian Lab) inside the general Greenhab is necessarily expected at MDRS. Similarly, there are several dynamic factors associated with these research activities which drives the approach extensively on growing different plants and understand the factors affecting on plant growth, scarcity and abundance of micro\macro elements in the soil, survival of micro-organisms and bacteria even algae, fungus under extreme environment.

An ideal Greenhab design requirements:

The main Greenhab: It must be equipped with fully functional weather control (Temperature, humidity and other factors) system. Crew members can have access and monitor on every operational and functional instruments to change or modify parameters for balancing the inside atmosphere even decide which is suitable for the growing plants inside a Greenhab. A framework needs to be designed where different set of platform are to be placed on racks and there should be dedicated racks/holders for seeds and plants depending upon size and volume.

Simulated Martian Greenhab: It must be equipped with Microwave and other relevant frequency and radiative instruments including Co2 chamber filled inside.  In this lab, a few specific seeds and plants could be placed inside the simulated Martian atmosphere which would also allow us to understand the effect of extreme environment on bacteria and micro-organisms such as algae, fungus etc.  The Martian atmosphere is dominated by Carbon-Di-Oxide and abundance of oxygen which could lead us to perform an extensive research on bio-transformation of Co2 into oxygen.  Plants such as Chlorella could be beneficial for the environment inside to produce oxygen.


Process requirements & Advantages: A well-structured and organized process of performing plant simulation under MDRS Greenhab consists of several stages. It requires involvement, analysis and interaction with scientific research community. An interdisciplinary approach with participants from diverse research backgrounds is expected in the program in order to pursue a simultaneous process of Greenhab research activities. And most importantly the outcomes and result should be scrutinized by highly qualified researchers with the help of most advanced instruments.

The next stage is to exchange the places to observe effects of variations in environmental and atmospheric conditions on the grown up plants when they are shifted between MDRS general Greenhab and Simulated Martian Greenhab. A well-structured analytical study is required at this point focused on biological and chemical changes occurred in plant stems and leaves due to transition of atmospheric conditions.

● Collect seed and soil samples from all the nations, foreign locations

● Grow the collected seeds under the both atmospheric conditions.

● Study the effects of various atmospheric & environmental conditions on seeds, soil etc.

Figure 5 : Research Methodology at MDRS Greenhab


How to encourage and influence Greenhab activity?

  1. Through crew selection process: Developing Greenhab could be implemented as a mandatory project through MDRS crew sessions. A particular session could be dedicated for Greenhab development so that the crew members could brainstorm ideas and develop it according to their research requirements. It could also be is developed in such way that participants among MDRS crews would be able to work collaboratively under guidance of a ‘Team Greenhab’ sponsored or operated by The MARS Society.


  1. Ideas on Greenhab design challenge and competition: A national or international level Greenhab design challenge or competition could be introduced very much as like URC (University Rover Challenge) so that the participants from various universities could bring their ideas and present with practical demonstration at MDRS site.


  1. Scientific Publications: Its one of the most important factors of gaining access to get recognized in international research community. The research work and activities carried out at MDRS campus are subjected to be publicising in space and science related journals and conference papers.


  1. Outreach activities and Crowdfunding campaign: Outreach activities could be an important role for promoting MDRS research work through campaigns in schools and Universities or visiting crews at MDRS while continuing research in Greenhab. Attending Maker Faire design challenge would encourage the young generation to design and fabricate future Martian Greenhab.


  1. Design microgravity experiments for International Space Station: There could be a research platform introduced in MDRS to transfer the carried out Greenhab research and into more advanced environment to avail most feasible outcomes possible by utilizing resources and research capabilities in the International Space Station. By this way, effects of microgravity on plants such as fluid flow in stems and leaves, growth of micro-organisms, crystal formation in soil etc. could be studied thoroughly.



GreenHab Report #2 – May 23rd

Greenhab Report

Avishek Ghosh

Scientist and Greenhab Officer

On the day I arrived at Hanksville, I asked Commander Cassie about feasibilities of growing plants by utilizing Greenhab facilities as, she was also interested growing plants and vegetables.  Although a typical Greenhab structure is developed at MDRS campus but, installation of proper equipment and materials are essentially required in order to transform it into an active working Lab growing plant during crew sessions.

On first day, I have seen some of the equipment such as Water tubs and tanks, watering systems are available but have to be configured properly. The equipment such as weather control and monitoring system, air circulation system, are necessary to create a perfect atmosphere inside the Greenhab. But, Initially I started with some basic step to grow plant and understand the effect of inside atmosphere of the temporary Greenhab placed inside the Science Lab.

Figure 3: Greenhab in Science lab at MDRS

Soil collection, sampling and preparation:

On my first attempt of growing plants in MDRS, I was encouraged by the crews with some thoughtful ideas through the discussions. Then, I have figured out the most feasible way to collect soil sample and plants during EVA’s. Commander Cassie and all other crews agreed with the initiative of growing plant inside the small Greenhab lab. So, I started collecting different soil sample from the surrounding are of our Hab.  Everyone was eagerly waiting to see the process of tree plantation and Janet was enthusiastically took a step forward of helping me with the process. She asked me if she can start filming me working inside the science lab during the process. It was an incredible opportunity for me to be part of a project carried out by a journalist. I auspiciously agreed with her decision of filming the session. During this session, I had interesting discussion with the crews on projecting our ideas towards developing a functional Greenhab in MDRS. Sometimes we use to have nice conversation through expanding the barrier of our imagination during lunch and dinner about how we can grow green plants vegetables on MARS in future. We also tried to understand the psychological effect of having a backyard garden with MARS habitat resembling an earth like atmosphere which might give home-like feeling during our stays on MARS. We started creating some artificial designs while travelling through our imagination towards creating ides of human settlement on MARS.

Phase 1, 15th & 16th May: I started collecting different soil samples and rocks during EVA’s and placed them inside small black containers. Then I have decided to choose existing plants that are available on surrounding area of MDRS crew Hab and brought them inside to grow under a proper treatment. In this duration I prepared the soil samples with (20 % nutrients) and without nutrients then placed the plants accordingly. Another soil sample is prepared in a medium size pot container by mixing two different soils samples 50 % each then I poured 10ml water on each prepared soil in small black container and medium pot as well. After the preparation, I placed the black containers with plants inside the small temporary Greenhab (UV light).

Figure 4 : Soil Samples

Phase 2, 17th & 18th  May: Although most of the plants and soil was collected from surrounding area of the hab, so the transformation or changes much not observed in plant growth  but  I observed the plants with nutrients are wilting a little more but the plants without nutrients are growing naturally and looks very normal. I continually poured 10ml water on each of the plan every 2 days.

I discussed with the crews about this little progress that I made in this process. Everything looks very cool there inside the Green hab under UV light. The crew were happy to see the progress of growing plants as they also continuously visited the sciences lab making attempt to see the situations of plants.


Phase 3, 19th & 20th May: During this phase, I observed the plant which is put in mixed soil has almost died, similarly the plants without nutrients are wilting and bending down, it seems stems do not have enough strength to hold the leaves. But the plants without nutrients are growing good with solid strength in stems.

Figure 5 : Plants (a) with and (b) without Nutrients

Table 1: Plant growth in different soil


Figure 6:  Fungus has grown in Greenhab at MDRS

Phase 4, 21st May: When I woke up in the morning, I walked through the science lab and curiously watched inside, look! What I found there? I observed a type of white fungus have been surprisingly grown up across the adjacent and surrounding area to the plant (without nutrients). Although it has seen unexpectedly but, it’s amazing to see such algae fungus growing inside the Greenhab atmosphere alongside of other plants while a few of the plants are actually wilting and fading inside the same atmosphere.

Seed from Crew 180: Before my arrival at MDRS, Crew 180 made contact with us to discuss about the Hab activities and if we can take care of the Physalis they have placed inside the Greenhab. So, I use to take a look at  the natural growth in the seeds planted inside Greenhab by Crew 180. I wanted to see the natural growth in the plants without having any further interference with the process. Initially a tiny green sprouting was observed and then it naturally grown up even the leaves are taking shape over time.

Table 2: Seed growth under Greenhab


Astronomy Report – May 23th

Astronomy Report

Name:  Janet Biggs     Crew: 181
date: Sol 10 (23 May 2017)

Sky Conditions: Clear

Wind Conditions: Calm

Observation Start Time: 22:40

Observation End Time: 01:30

Summary: We finally got our two-star alignment!!!  We had a great night viewing and imaging.  Still lots to learn, but are totally excited about our first real steps!  Our entire crew came out and we took turns viewing and trying different exposures.

We used the Telerad, 9 x 50 finderscope,  Autoguide Scope, and laser pointer to find our two-star alignment.  Once we confirmed ALIGN SUCCES, we slewed to Jupiter.  Using the 25 mm eyepiece we were able to see three moons (As we are novices, please correct any incorrect identifications that we make).

We attached my Cannon 5D Mark III to the Autoguide Scope using the adapter Peter recommended.  We photographed Jupiter using a wide range of ISO settings and time exposures.  We then slewed to find M81.  Our two-star alignment may have been off (we only used three calibration stars), or it may have been our inexperience, or lack of magnification as we had my camera on the Autoguide rather than an eyepiece, but we never clearly identified M81 (although we got some interesting photos trying).  We then slewed to Saturn.  We were able to image Saturn, but struggled with a good focus on my camera.

We are eager to get back out there!

Info on attached images:

Jupiter, ISO 200, 5 sec.

Saturn, ISO 2000, 30 sec.

Attempt at M81, ISO 10000, 30 sec.

Objects Viewed: Jupiter, M81 (attempted), and Saturn

Problems Encountered: No problems, other than focusing my camera.


First image from the mission as we look for M81


Three of Jupiter’s moons



Journalist Report – May 23rd

Journalist Report 23 May 2017

Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia

Images courtesy of Cassie and Juan

Sol 10


Avishek’s ship launched from the Green River space center at at 00:50 AM and is currently en route to London, Earth. We are down to four crewmembers.

We made real scrambled eggs, with real bacon. Lunch is pasta with meat sauce, with chicken melt quesadillas. Yes, we are ambitious.

Today is depressurization day. We have not planned any EVA’s for today to catch up on our responsibilities we’ve been falling behind, like sleeping followed by more sleeping.

Yesterday was crazy busy at MDRS. We were out of simulation. The HAB was the site of a media visit with a sizeable army of camera men and television people. They overwhelmed our space toilet facilities.

Janet’s been checking the telescope to see if her and Charlie can get it up and running to see Jupiter this evening. Today the crew filled out a Mars Census/Customs forms. Everyone was out in the observatory. Charlie and Janet are aiming the telescope at Jupiter, and trying to photograph some galaxies. Charlie choses from a list of galaxies on my stargazing app to aim the telescope at. Cassie took some spectacular long exposure photographs of us in the telescope dome at a mind-bending ISO of 25,000! I brought out every color laser I own.


Please enjoy a snippet of our daily banter.

C:  How’s the toilet doing?

J:   She’s fine.


C:  She’s been feeling crappy all morning.

*more laughter*

Daily Summary – May 23rd

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 23rd, 2017


MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 10


Summary Title: The Laziest Day on Mars

Mission Status: The laziest and most uneventful day on Mars so far, filled wth Catan and a real breakfast.

Sol Activity Summary: Morning EVA was great for Charlie and Avishek.

Sleeping in is a luxury on Mars. Luckily, we all did that this morning after our very long day with Ozzy Osbourne yesterday. We are down to a crew of four, as we dropped off Avishek to his Earth shuttle last night as well. The mood has changed, but our mission remains the same.

Always something new on Mars. We were dealing with less than pleasant smells yesterday afternoon, and today it became very apparent we had a toilet problem. Charlie (with radio help from Dr. Shannon) was able to come up with a temporary fix that still allows us to all “do our business.” After Charlie’s literally dirty work, we decided to break into our real egg reserve to make REAL scrambled eggs. Charlie deserved it! And with a few slices of bacon from Crew 180, some tortillas and half of hamburger buns, and some strawberry jam, we had ourselves a real Earth breakfast!

Naps and more writing continued through the afternoon until we were met up again with meal time: chicken and cheese quesadillas and left over spaghetti and meat sauce. Now we are playing more Catan before it gets dark enough to us the observatory.

Look Ahead Plan: EVAs planned for tomorrow. Observatory time tonight or a movie. A few of us really want to watch Hidden Figures, so I think that’ll be the next movie pick!

Anomalies In Work: We are having major leakage of the toilet sewage tank under the Hab and into the EVA prep space. Charlie will has sent a special report and I assume more will be in his engineering report.

Weather: Sunny and cool, not windy.

Crew Physical Status: Well rested and relaxed.

EVA: none

Reports to be Filed: journalist report, EVA report, and EVA request.

Support Requested: None at the moment.


Prepared by Cassandra



Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181