Status Report

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

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2005
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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
located at the rim of the Haughton crater (75N 90W) on Devon Island in the
Canadian Arctic allows us to model, design
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
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
operate a multi-national, multi-organization research base in remote

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
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
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

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.

SpaceRef staff editor.