Crew 172

Commander – Ilaria Cinelli BEng, Meng, PhD student

Ilaria Cinelli has B.Eng. and M.Eng. in biomedical engineering from University of Pisa, Italy (2012). She is a PhD student in computational modelling at the National University of Ireland in Galway since 2013, and lecture in biomedical engineering at the Youth Academy for young gifted children.

She has 1-year training in ionizing radiations on paediatric computed axial tomography protocols and 2-year experience as research assistant at Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological (King’s College London). Since 2012, she worked on the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, finite element analysis and computational modelling of fluid shift in short bed-rest studies. The Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) and Life Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Branch (LSBEB) nominated her finalist of the AsMA JM Space Medicine Association Young Investigator Award 2013 and winner of Research and Development Innovation Award and Certificate (sponsored by David Clark Company). Ilaria is also Member-At-Large of LSBEB in AsMA, reviewer in AMSRO and Human Factors and Ergonomics, and Student Representative in Aerospace Human Factors Association (AsHFA).

In 2015, she completed the Commercial Space Executive Leadership Training and the Intensive Training- Astronaut Training to weightlessness. At the end of 2015, she became member of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) and she was selected Crew Engineer of Crew 158. The mission was filmed and recorded by HBO and French TV. In 2016, she was elected Secretary of the AsHFA for the next three year. In the same year, Ilaria was selected as Commander of Crew 172 and winner of the Emerging Space Leader Scholarship by MDRS. Ilaria is also involved in the Poland Mars Analogue Simulation by Space Generation as Mission Support member in three different teams (TecSup, Mission Doctor and Planning and Scheduling team).


Executive Officer & Crew Biologist – Anushree Srivastava

Anushree is originally from Lucknow, India and now based in England. Her educational journey started off as a student of literature, history, and music, which culminated into obtaining a professional training in Indian classical vocal music, a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient Indian History and Anthropology, and a Master of Arts in Anthropology. But while specializing in its biological branch (just out of curiosity), particularly the “paleo” aspect of it, exposed her to the adventure of exploration. During her graduate specialization in biological anthropology, she studied the dental morphology and its variation among the human population.

Anushree is passionate about astrobiology and space exploration. Her penchant for astrobiology and space exploration largely stems from her awareness to be awed by the wonder of life and her intrinsic desire to understand the humanity’s place in the Universe in a broader sense. To pursue her interest in the prospect of life beyond Earth, which was challenging for an art student, she joined the Master of Science program in Biotechnology at the University of Essex, UK. Here, with Dr. Terry McGenity, she conducted a geo-microbiological study of ~6 million years old halite crystals that deposited as a result of Messinian Salinity Crisis in the Mediterranean region.  She is particularly interested in the biogeographical and astrobiological perspective of the Messinian halite. Her research interests include understanding the prolonged survival potential of haloarchaea entombed inside halite crystals and how this understanding can be translated into prospecting similar life in Martian chloride deposits.

Anushree has been a part of MDRS Mission Support Team as a Capsule Communication Officer (CapCom) since 2014. In 2015, she joined MDRS Remote Science Team (RST) and now she is a member of both MDRS Crew 172 and MARS 160 Twin-Analog Mission as Crew Biologist. She has served as coordinator of United Nation’s International Year of Water Cooperation (IYWC) India Program 2013. Anushree is a core member of the organising committee of Astrobiology India initiative, which is aimed to encourage and promote awareness of astrobiology and space sciences in India, to extend education and outreach efforts, and to strengthen the Indian astrobiology community worldwide. She is also part of NASA Spaceward Bound India Expedition 2016, as a member of both science and coordination team.

She enjoys Indian classical music, travelling, bird-watching, painting, photography, and reading. And she is a huge admirer of Gibran’s poetry.


HSO – Gwendal Henaff

Gwendal Hénaff is a French student, enrolled in a Master of Science in Engineering Physics at the Institut National des Sciences Appliqués, a French Grande École located in Toulouse. Aside of his studies, he is an Officer Cadet in the French Navy and a First Emergency Responder in the French Red Cross. He has always been fascinated by space exploration and science. Throughout his schooling he has tried to focus his projects and experiences in these fields. After a national selection organized by the French space agency CNES, Gwendal participated in the VP125 Parabolic flight campaign, in November 2016. He and his team invented a precision inertial weigh scale and tested its behavior in microgravity. During this campaign, Gwendal completed several  Zero-G flights. Gwendal also worked as a research intern at the LATMOS laboratory (Paris, France) in the planetary science department, and at the National Physical Laboratory in London. He took part in several space related competitions, as the ESA Moon Challenge in 2015. Gwendal also enjoys traveling and adventure : he past several months in Eastern Siberia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Molodova, Ukraine. He practice scuba-diving, sailing, windsurfing and skydiving, and he is always looking to get out of his comfort zone.


Journalist – Nicholas McCay

Nicholas McCay joins MDRS as the journalist for Crew 172. He grew up in Chattanooga, TN and quickly became infatuated with space from an early age. As with most things in your childhood, Nick’s dream of actually going to space was diluted with each passing year. After finishing high school, Nicholas attended Western Illinois University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting with a specialty in News Performance in 09′. Covering as many sports as possible for the student run TV/Radio programs, working as a student reporter at the local public broadcasting station, and interning with local news stations – including NBC in NYC for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Upon graduation, he accepted a job as a Multimedia Journalist for an NBC affiliate in Illinois, but working in news wasn’t everything he imagined and moved to Chicago shortly after.

While living in Chicago, Nick changed professional careers from broadcasting to experiential marketing. He toured around the country with brands such as ESPNU, Jim Beam/Kid Rock, EA Sports, Target, and Reebok/Crossfit to set up unique consumer experiences in almost every state in the US – (he only needs to visit 7 more states in the US to have been to all 50!). After three years of living in bitter cold, he moved to Los Angeles in 2012. As he arrived in LA, the “new space race” was quickly heating up with SpaceX, companies in the Mojave desert, and the unequivocal presence of the aerospace industry.  Nick’s dream to go to space was reignited after attending a few space themed meetups around the city. This year, Nick joined the advocacy group SpaceportLA as a Social Media volunteer and helped promote the group’s monthly get together. He also helped another space non-profit, Mars City Design, with their inaugural design competition and successful Kickstarter campaign.

Nick’s selection as crew 172 journalist will hopefully be the spark in getting him back into professional journalism covering Space/Science. Nick hopes to combine his former technical skills of storytelling, and his recent RE-infatuation with the “final frontier” into a fun narrative on the MDRS experience along with the technical importance of analog missions to the layperson. 


Crew Scientist – Pierrick Loyers

Pierrick Loyers is the Crew Scientist of MDRS crew 172 and an Engineering Physics student at INSA Toulouse in France. Before being admitted at INSA, he graduated with technical degree in Applied Physics and a Bachelor of Engineering from the Edinburgh Napier University. He is now following correspondence courses in Astrophysics with the Paris Observatory in parallel with his engineering studies. Fascinated by the space exploration, his selection in the MDRS crew 172 is a great opportunity for him to start working on the future of manned space explorations, a field where he plans to work after his studies. Always looking for new adventures, he also travelled in northern countries like Iceland and Norway with his tent and his backpack and is a true blues rock enthusiast.


Engineer – Troy Cole

Troy Cole was born and raised in San Francisco, CA and has been fascinated with advanced technology and space transportation since a young age and has taken that drive to propel him through engineering school so he can develop advanced technologies that will push humanity forward to the stars. Troy graduated with top honors from Tuskegee University with a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He works as a Propulsion Design Engineer for The Boeing Company as well as devoting to to STEAM advocacy and citizen space non-profits. He is the current Education and Outreach Officer for Astronauts4Hire organization.


Green Hab Officer – Patrick Gray

Having grown up in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina next to the site of the Wright Brother’s first flight Patrick always had in interest in pushing boundaries. Setting his sights on space Patrick has dedicated his academic and professional career to laying the foundation for permanent human settlement off Earth.

As Chief Technology Officer at WayPaver Foundation Patrick leads the team’s efforts on the Lunar Settlement Index – a catalog of all the roadblocks preventing us from establishing a lunar settlement. He guides WayPaver’s technical projects and partnerships to push forward the cause globally and create a lunar settlement within the coming decades.

Patrick is also the Alumni Association Coordinator for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space where he is building out a professional network and mentor group to connect students and alumni. He previously worked at Moon Express as a Software Engineer developing their ground data systems and engineering team tools. Before that Patrick was working with Chapel Hill based startup incubator The 1789 Venture Lab where he was developing various apps and ideas such as Atlasaur and The Highlight Network.

Patrick graduated from the University of North Carolina as a Morehead-Cain Scholar with a degree in Computer Science where he founded UNC SEDS and researched computer vision in humanoid robotics.