HMP Field Report: MIT - Modeling and Researching the Logistics of the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station

Status Report From: Haughton-Mars Project (HMP)
Posted: Monday, July 25, 2005

Web Site: MIT Haughton-Mars Campaign 2005

1. Participants

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Prof. Olivier de Weck (lead), (Space Systems Engineering)
Prof. Jeff Hoffman, (Humans in Space)
Jaemyung Ahn, (Astrodynamic Network Modeling)
Julie Arnold, (Human-Robotic Mix Optimization)
Erica Gralla, (On-Orbit Assembly and Manifesting)
Xin (Mike) Li, (Software and RFID)
Jessica Marquez, (EVA Strategic Planning)
Sarah Shull, (ISS and Planetary Exploration Logistics)
Matt Silver, (Launch Strategies and Systems Engineering)

2. Background

As part of the NASA funded Human and Robotics Technology (HRT) project on "Interplanetary Supply Chain Management & Logistics Architectures" we are researching the applicability of terrestrial supply chains to planetary exploration. One of these tasks (WBS 2.3) includes modeling and researching the logistics of the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS). The overall goal is to obtain lessons learned for Supply Chain Management (SCM) to remote environments and to test new technologies and procedures that will enhance the ability of humans and robots to jointly explore remote environments on the Earth, the Moon and Mars.

Originally, we proposed to analyze both logistics for exploration of Antarctica as well offshore oil & gas exploration platforms. However, observing and managing the HMP logistics is a new opportunity, which will deliver much more tangible and direct benefits to NASA. The HMP analog base located at the rim of the Haughton crater (75N 90W) on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic allows us to model, design and influence the logistics of this base in conjunction with our own project. This requires both off-line modeling of the logistics (forward and reverse flows), but also some amount of field observation.

MIT researcher Matt Silver drives a RFID tagged ATV past the RFID gate as part of an ATV tracking scenario.

The primary objectives of the MIT HMP logistics project are:

1. INVENTORY: Cataloguing classes and sub-classes of supply in the field to obtain a complete inventory and relational database of a Mars-analog research base on Earth. This database contains 10 major classes of supply according to a high-level functional decomposition of all research, habitation and maintenance related activities on base. We expect to collect information on about 2000 end items during the summer campaign 2005. The database represents a significant advance over current practice for ISS and Antarctic logistics, where multiple fragmented inventories exist, leading to misunderstandings and expensive or dangerous under- or over-supply situations affecting those research stations. In a wider sense this objective will help establish a benchmark model for how to efficiently operate a multi-national, multi-organization research base in remote environments.

2. NETWORK MACRO LOGISTICS: Create and quantify an initial network model of the HMP supply chain. This network model is used as a benchmrak test case for a comprehensive interplanetary exploration logistics discrete event simulation. The simulation will have the ability to capture flights of vehicles in and out of base and to capture the associated forward and reverse cargo flows. Combined with powerful bin packing and assignment optimization algorithms this model will help camp managers organize and plan flights in a more efficient manner than is currently possible.

3. RFID: Initial field experiment with RFID tagging, reading and automated database management (via local wireless network, potentially via satellite (C-band) enabled internet connection). During the HMP 2005 field season we are installing advanced radio frequency identification (RFID) equipment on base and are carrying out a set of formal and informal experiments to track the movement of people and goods around base. Three specific scenarios will be tested: (a) "RFID gate": the tracking of people and supply items moving in and out of specific modules. This includes the automated tracking of food consumption. (b) "ATV tracking": monitoring the traffic of all-terrain vehicles and associated drivers to and from base. This will enhance safety, e.g. by knowing when and with whom particular vehicles left, as well as optimizing the assignment and usage of vehicles to particular personnel. (c) "Smart checkout" which allows explorers to do an instant checkout of an ATV or exploration rover against a checklist of safety critical and desireable items before leaving base for extended traverses. Stretch goals of this activity include the electronic tagging of exploration samples (rocks, fluids, organic matter,...) for easier identification and processing.

4. EVA MICRO LOGISTICS: Establish logistics requirements for EVAs, including short traverses and longer excursions with overnight stays away from base camp. This goal creates the link between EVA planning and micro-logistics. MIT researchers will accompany geologists on excursions into the Haughton crater and other areas on Devon island and record planning strategies, replanning in the case of unexpected events or discoveries, supplies taken along, possibilities for caching (e.g. via air delivery) and will test a prototype EVA replanning software tool that was developed at MIT.

Each HMP participant is provided with their unique RFID tag which they carry around with them.

The secondary objectives are:

5. Prepare for a more substantial MIT involvement starting in the 2006 field season, including human/robotic experiments (Hoffman), potential EVA suit work (Newman/Hoffman), autonomous rovers (Williams), continued space logistics work (de Weck, Simchi-Levi) and testing of pressurized planetary camper vehicles (de Weck).

6. Prepare for coordinating overall HMP logistics for 2006 season with relational (online) database, integrated network model and RFID/automation.

The MIT team will release a report containing field observations from HMP exploration logistics and recommendations for analogies between HMP and potential lunar and Martian destinations. Other deliverables will include the HMP inventory relational database, RFID configuration and applications software and tracking results. Journal or conference paper publications will be referenced on the HMP bibliography list.

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