Framework for Analog Studies of Mars Surface Operations Using the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station

By SpaceRef Editor
June 28, 2001
Filed under ,

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on the NASA Ames Research Center’s website.

William J. Clancey1


Chief Scientist, Human-Centered Computing, Computational Sciences Division, MS 269-3, NASA/Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035


FMARSIn July 2000 the Mars Society constructed a habitat on Devon Island near Haughton
Crater 2 , with the objective of promoting research on how people will live and work on
Mars. The design of this habitat, called the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
(FMARS; informally, “the hab”) has been influenced by NASA’s Reference Mission
studies (Hoffman, 1997) and related plans for a Mars habitat (Zubrin, 1996; Micheels,
1999). The two-story 8m-diameter structure of FMARS will house scientists and
engineers who will investigate the geology and biology of the nearby terrain while
experimenting with alternative habitat layouts, prototype instruments, communication
tools, space suits and gloves, rovers, communications and support from remote teams,
operational procedures, and so on, that might be used on Mars.

Using FMARS as a research facility requires a framework for systematically defining and
evaluating prototype designs and experimental protocols. This paper describes the current
configuration of the hab (as built July 2000), dimensions of research that might be
undertaken and expected contributions, ways of characterizing fidelity of analog studies,
experimental scenarios, and management recommendations.

Many analog studies have been conducted with an eye towards future, long-duration
space travel. The focus has been primarily on the effects of isolation and confinement.
Winter-over stays in Antarctica have been considered (e.g., Harrison, Clearwater, and
McKay, 1991), as well as crews on submarines and Skylab (Connors, Harrison, and
Akins, 1985). Stuster (1996) provides a commanding survey of data and
recommendations from these settings and historical naval expeditions. In these studies we learn from corresponding settings and activities how people might behave during long-duration
missions in confined habitats, and how to organize crews, activities, and
facilities to foster good health and social well-being.

However, by virtue of focusing on people confined to small spaces, with limited
communication with the rest of humanity, few of these studies have considered the nature
of extensive surface exploration, nor how an isolated crew will work with a remote
support team. This is the benefit offered by FMARS, in its open setting with authentic
work on Devon Island, yet with only a restricted interior space in an isolated, harsh
environment having limited natural resources. Thus building on prior work, we can take
analog studies to a new dimension, in which more aspects of a realistic Mars exploration
scenario are incorporated, such as weather prediction, surface navigation, rover assistants,
deployed scientific instruments, geological sample analysis, remote collaboration, etc.
The notion of “analog” then broadens from the idea of long-duration isolation and
confinement to embrace the larger system of environment, exploration, and
communications that will constitute a Mars surface operation. Rather than focusing so
much on the psychology of stress, we can consider learning and improvisation, research
collaboration at a distance, and how machines can be designed to complement human
capabilities. Doing this well in the FMARS analog setting involves carefully analyzing
the relation between Devon and Mars, so interactions between factors can be understood
and confounding affects of non-corresponding features taken into account.

The central part of this paper provides a preliminary approach for characterizing
similarities and differences between Devon and Mars and a strategy for defining
experimental protocols. A distinction is drawn between high-fidelity characteristics that
are inherent or can be easily imposed (e.g., authentic geology investigation) and
characteristics that require more planning and may be imposed in more limited
experimental phases (e.g., wearing realistic gloves). For example, how is a geologist’s
observation, interpretation, and memory changed if drawing on site is not possible, but
restricted to annotating photographs after returning to base camp? Ethnographic studies
and modeling of practices establish a baseline of how people normally work. Behaviors
that will be impossible or severely constrained on Mars can then be identified and their
effect articulated, providing requirements for new tools and processes.

The Hab as Constructed

Figure 1 shows the upper deck layout of FMARS as it was initially configured for a trial
occupation in July and early August 2000 .

The blue chairs are personal camp chairs brought by two of the crew members; they were
removed when the crew departed. The “Comms”(communication network) station was
assembled on a Rubbermaid 50G container along with two power strips and battery
rechargers for cameras and laptops. A WiLan Hopper Plus wireless internet hub (coming
from satellite dish/repeater on a hill about 3/4 mile away) was connected to an eight-station
ethernet “mini-hub.”4

Three or four laptops were often in use, including a G3 Apple Powerbook connected to
an AirPort base station on the “wardroom” table. We used this table for eating, meeting,
and working on computers.

The “galley” included a stove, microwave, and water container. We stored utensils here,
plus the drinks and condiments that were included in MREs (meals, ready-to-eat). Water
was brought in from the base camp in 5 gallon containers. The bunks are staggered; for
example, referring to Figure 1, BC’s area has a top bunk and BN sleeps below inside the
same rectangular area.

Electricity was produced by a 2.5KW gas generator, connected to the hab downstairs via
an extension cord, and distributed via three power strips and one Y-cord. About 12 plugs
were in use at any time (chargers and camera transformers were not always plugged in).5
The rooms are not as evenly spaced as indicated in the figure; BC’s was actually a few
inches broader than the others. MB and BN had the most usable space. In general, being
on the floor was judged superior because it allowed accessing the space to the side of the
bed while in bed (more like a tent). The upper bunks are about five feet high.

The lower deck (Figure 2) was only used for entry, personal hygiene, and Discovery
Channel communications during the trial occupation. We also preferred to have internet
connection in the living area, which was chosen to be the upper deck because it was
much warmer and brighter. There were no lab activities planned for this time, which is a
primary planned use for the lower deck.

All aspects of the layout in July 2000 are considered to be temporary. Appendix 1 lists
the work required before formal experiments can be undertaken. A continuing debate
concerns whether the interior design should appear finished (e.g., one crew member
suggested following aerospace standards, such as the interior of a 747) or be inexpensive
and easily changeable (e.g., painted plywood and 2x4s). This matter should be resolved
be the FMARS science committee. Preliminary experience indicates that FMARS
provides a significant opportunity for experimenting with different designs, so cost and
ease of modification are important.

Analog Study Dimensions

Use of FMARS will be managed by a science committee with representatives from
NASA and the Mars Society. This committee will presumably solicit proposals for
experimental work to be performed inside or around the hab. The work may involve
tools, facilities, or procedures that crew members will implement, possibly with direct
participation by the proposing principal investigator or representative. For example,
during the year 2000 field season, Hamilton SunStrand sent two representatives to Devon
Island to perform experiments with a prototype space suit. How will such experiments be
selected and managed? As a first step, we might consider how such proposals might be
categorized. I refer to these as analog study dimensions, ways of characterizing a
proposed study in which the hab and its environs are treated as an analog for living and
working on Mars.

Analog study dimensions include:

  • Discipline: Human factors, biology, sociology, geology, telecommunications,
    computer science, industrial engineering, architecture, etc.
  • Work/Life Activity: Data gathering/analysis, exploration, life support, recreation,
    planning, waste management, cooking & cleaning up, chores, retrieving/storing
    supplies, interaction with earth, sleep/eating/hygiene, etc.
  • Mission Phases: Preflight, landing, set-up, exploration, reporting, pre-departure,
    crew handover
  • Engineering and Implementation: Requirements analysis, design, documentation,
    validation, training
  • Known Challenges: Atmosphere, gravity, radiation, dust, water, fuel
  • Technologies: Communications, life support, automation,…

As an example of how different dimensions enter into analog research, consider a
photograph (Figure 3) taken during the trial occupation, illustrating how people are using
the facility and their tools (books, maps, laptops). Using such data, an architect might
focus on how space is used (e.g., how people sit and read in front of their personal areas
and use a chair for a foot rest). A telecommunications specialist might develop a wireless
network for the hab to allow using a laptop in a stateroom. Focusing on work/life
activities, one might observe how the crew has chosen to work quietly in the late
afternoon, while remaining in visible contact with each other. Considering the work being
done, a mission scheduler would observe that planning, reporting, and recreational
reading are occurring at the same time, as different crew members have organized their
day in different ways. Another study might consider how dust is managed (leaving
outerwear on the lower deck). A life support study might indicate how the water supply
(a primitive orange cooler here) is managed and recycled. Observing the duct tape so
close to hand, we might inquire how the crew has been fixing or improving the facility.
Indeed, the number of relevant observations from a single (well-chosen) photograph is
incredible; an experienced multidisciplinary team would typically spend several hours
analyzing a five-minute video of this same group setting (e.g., see Jordan, 1974).

Figure 3. Example observation relevant to analog studies in the hab. Four crew members are working independently on the upper deck in the late afternoon. View is towards the west, showing state rooms with open doors (cf. Figure 1)

This example illustrates that different researchers will adopt different perspectives for
experimenting with and studying the hab. The dimensions listed above could be used in a
request for proposals to indicate relevant areas of interest; the science committee could
prioritize these areas depending on activities planned for a given field season. In general,
proposals should be sought that strive for synergy (relating simultaneous experiments),
balance (covering the range of possible research dimensions), and system integration
(understanding and designing for interactions between facilities, organization,
procedures, and technologies).

Expected Contributions

What research results might be expected from analog studies using FMARS? Although
we cannot predict the serendipity of scientific work, it is useful to list obvious areas of
contribution that might be expected:

  • Mostly inside hab
  • Hab design
  • Daily life schedules and procedures
  • Crew selection

  • Mostly external to hab
  • Space suit capability & durability
  • Scientific instruments (types, deployment, monitoring)
  • Communication protocols (mission support, PIs, public)

  • Computer technologies
  • Telecommunication/ computer equipment (hab, rover, space suit, earth)
  • Automation requirements (life support, rovers, science, & exploration)
  • Telescience, telemedicine, teletraining

This list could be helpful to organize experiments to cover the opportunities FMARS
allows. For example, an effort might be made to include at least one experiment that
takes into account crew selection. Similarly, given plans to have multiple habs in
different locations (e.g., Arizona, Iceland), proposals for a given hab may focus on
interacting factors, such as the relation of space suits and rover design. Presumably the
FMARS science committee will develop this list early on to develop a shared set of
objectives that can be communicated with researchers and the public.

Understanding Fidelity in Analog Studies

The environment and logistics of working on Devon Island and Mars differ in many
important ways. What transfer of data and lessons can be claimed, given the confounding
variables that are not part of a study? For example, must every extra-vehicular activity
(EVA) occur in a space suit in order to replicate the safety problems of an unpressurized
environment? Is there a principled way of “analyzing away” differences, to produce data
that will be valid on Mars?

We might begin by asking what characteristics make the Haughton site and scientific
work in the crater unique or of special importance as a Mars analog. Two kinds of
characteristics may be easily identified, those that are inherent in the site (Table 1) and
those that are imposed (Table 2).

Table 1. Inherent high-fidelity characteristics at Devon Island relative to
Mars surface operations

  • Habitat with realistic dimensions and life support
  • Work has ecological validity-field science in a cold, rocky, windy, dusty,
    periglacial environment
  • Life support, power, transport, and instrument systems require regular
    monitoring, resource management, and maintenance
  • Satellite data services (GPS, weather, communications) and local wireless
    networks are available and necessary
  • Remote field instruments are deployed and monitored
  • EVA sites must be revisited, but access is limited
  • Distant sites provide logistic support (especially Resolute)
  • Local weather must be monitored for safety and planning
  • Protective clothing is necessary

Table 2. Operational constraints that might be imposed at Devon Island to
replicate Mars surface operations

  • “Science Backroom” (perhaps distributed over the Internet) monitors and
    advises; provides tasks and training
  • EVAs: Walkable return, use walkie-talkies, wear space suits, plan and monitor,
    video available at base camp and mission support
  • Shared scientific database, reused and extended by multiple crews,
    downloaded to mission support; field dictations transcribed by mission support
  • New crew members trained on systems, geography, suit, etc.
  • PIs at NASA centers and universities participate in data interpretation,
    instrument use, and EVA planning
  • Robots serve as advance scouts, field assistants, caching
  • Crews install additional equipment and upgrades

Proposals for FMARS experiments should refer to the inherent constraints to indicate
how the proposed work leverages the site and its existing support structure. Proposals
also need to make explicit what fidelity characteristics are missing and how these will be
handled by operational constraints, such as those listed in Table 2.

It might be thought that the Devon Island environment is not extreme enough or our tools
such as gas generators are too convenient and unrealistic for Mars. But life on Devon is
closer to the edge than might be supposed. If a few more power strips were to break, as
happened during the first night of the trial occupation, we would be unable to service all
the computer and telecommunications gear on the upper deck. EVAs using an all terrain
vehicle (ATV) may appear easy, but if a crew were sent out to the boulders of Lost
Valley in the Haughton Crater, it might be difficult for them to navigate and return (in
1999 a group spent several hours clearing a path). Furthermore, during HMP-2000 there
were several accidents involving ATVs, one of which was life threatening and required a
helicopter transport to Resolute.

Nevertheless, surviving on Devon, if not trivial, is arguably easy compared to living on
Mars. So we must consider the fundamental differences between Devon Island and Mars
(Table 3). Proposals for experimental work must indicate which of these differences
could be confounding variables (invalidating lesson transfer to Mars surface operations)
and how these might be ameliorated. In particular, the mix of operations might be similar
to what will occur on Mars, even if specifics are different. For example, although the
power on Devon Island will not be nuclear, the crew still needs to manage the available
supply and monitor the proper operation of the facility. As indicated next, the differences
between Devon and Mars might not only be argued away, but serve to generate study

Table 3. Characteristics of Devon Island site that distinguish it
fundamentally from Mars

  • Atmosphere (breathing apparatus and pressurized suits not required)
  • Surface water (local streams)
  • Food (replenished twice weekly via plane)
  • Fuel (power by gas or diesel combustion)
  • Medical care (available within 100 miles at Resolute; hospital several days
  • Time delay (only about one second via satellite)
  • Sunlight (24 hour days April-August)
  • Gravity (normal 1g vs. .38g)

A Difference-Based Approach for Analog Studies

Differences between Mars and Devon could be a primary driver for defining analog
studies. One might assume that a major difference, such as the availability of ready
medical care, would preclude using FMARS to understand that aspect of life on Mars. Or
perhaps other issues under investigation would be “contaminated” by the lowered
requirement for safety, crew training, local diagnostic instruments and medication,
remote support, etc. However, rather than viewing major differences between Mars and
Devon as reducing validity of what we learn there, we could use the difference as a way
of highlighting what will be different on Mars, and then design tools and processes to
address the difference.

For example, taking the case of medical emergencies, one could enumerate problems that
are currently handled in Resolute (or the more distant town of Yellowknife) and ask what
knowledge and tools would be required to handle those problems at Devon Island itself.
One result might be the conclusion that certain types of surgery, for example, will not be
possible on the Mars surface until a permanent base camp, similar to Resolute, is
established. Another approach would be simulate medical emergencies, such as during an
EVA, to understand and later validate communication tools and protocols for handling
such problems.6

In short, a heuristic for generating FMARS experiments is to focus on key differences
between Devon and Mars. With a given theme in mind, such as medical care,

ethnographic studies would establish a baseline of how people normally work (e.g.,
observe the medical facilities at Resolute; how do they receive advice from distant
physicians and what problems must be handled in Yellowknife?). Practices that would be
impossible or severely constrained on Mars can be then identified and their effect
articulated, providing requirements for new tools and processes. For example, the
medical equipment at Resolute would be described and serve as a preliminary
specification for what must installed in the hab. At some time during preparation for
Mars missions, such equipment would be actually installed at one of the analog sites and
crews that were not medical specialists trained in its use. This example illustrates how
research related to FMARS does not necessarily entail being on Devon Island itself, but
studying its support structure.

Because the idea of difference-based research is so important, another example might be
useful. Consider the implications of the Mars atmosphere. Astronauts will need to wear
pressurized suits. Current designs preclude fine hand manipulation for long periods of
time, as is required to draw or write. Observing geologists at Devon, we find that they
frequently sketch rock formations in great detail during EVAs. How is a geologist’s
observation, interpretation, and memory is changed if drawing on site is not possible, but
restricted to annotating photographs after a traverse is complete (or in a pressurized
rover)? We could impose an experimental protocol to investigate this question. We
might find that there is no difficulty, that work quality is greatly reduced, or that there are
important individual differences. Given these findings, we would then know what
importance to place on inventing a spacesuit glove that permits long periods of drawing.
Notice that without such analysis, one might plunge head-first into glove design
(certainly an awkward approach!). By understanding the implications of problems and
considering first the breadth of alternatives available to ameliorating difficulties, we have
a better chance of quickly developing cost-effective designs.

Likely Scenarios and Study Methods

The discussion to this point has been mostly bottom-up, considering components of
research dimensions and fidelity characteristics, and how they might be used to define
possible experiments. Another approach is to list study scenarios, based on the setting
and past operations of the Haughton-Mars Project. These are in some sense obvious
things to investigate, given the opportunity provided by FMARS.7

  • Daily life in the hab: What will be the schedule in the long term? Should there be
    quiet times and places? What changes might be allowed for variety during the
  • Crew organization: The commander notion fits the airplane model with “a pilot in
    command,” but is it the only model we should consider for Mars?
  • Traverse planning, navigating, and monitoring: If there are only four crew members
    and one is monitoring two outside, will the fourth person be overloaded in handling
    routine tasks, troubleshooting, and reconfiguring systems for the next crew
    activities? (This problem is anticipated to occur on the International Space Station.)
  • Setting up and manage a remote field camp: Look at off-nominal cases; set up
    problems as in standard mission sims, e.g., a bad ATV is seeded during the night, a
    simulated injury occurs.
  • Tending field instruments: Should there always be wireless transmission of
    telemetry to a central database?
  • Communication with mission support, co-PIs, and the public: How will the crew
    find time to record and format official reports? Given the impossibility of second-by-
    second tracking, to what extent will mission support know what is happening on
  • Maintaining and troubleshooting equipment, especially the power system: What’s
    needed for a repair/machine shop? How much time is required during a mission? Is
    “just in time learning” practical, with training materials supplied by mission
  • Mixed-initiative teleoperated exploration. Could robots retrieve sensor-loggers?
  • Analyzing data in the hab and researching related work over the internet. Will
    members of the science backrooms co-author papers with the crew, while they are
    on Mars?

As an example scenario, Figure 4 shows a biologist and assistant visiting a remote site
during the HMP-2000 field season. The biologist had placed temperature and UV
instruments under and around plexiglass containers one year before. In addition, some of
these had been treated with fertilizer. The site is near the Haughton River within the
impact crater, about 10 km from the hab. In order to establish a “baseline” of normal
practice, the biologist was observed and his actions documented, when the treatment and
apparatus was placed and when it was revisited a year later. For instance, we observe in
this photograph that the biologist is instructing an assistant what information he wants to
record during this visit and how it should be organized on the page. Here he is recording
the observed growth of plants (Arctic willow) in different areas, which he designates by
codes, such as “lower F.” Thus, he speaks out loud as he observes each area and takes
photographs, while the assistant logs the observation and photograph number. Later the
biologist will transcribe this information into a computer file and use it to create a figure
in a publication.

Figure 4. Tending sensors that periodically log data at a remote site, about 10 km from FMARS.

With this understanding we can then begin to inquire about the implications for Mars
surface operations. How often must the biologist revisit this site? Could a rover with a
speech-understanding program provide the same assistance in logging data? Could the
camera be connected to the communications channel, so the biologist’s statements would
be directly associated with given photographs? How would the photographs be integrated
into a site record over several years and these integrated into the expedition’s overall
study of the crater? Should the observations and photograph be directly transmitted by
wireless link to base camp? Is this data to be considered non-public until publication or
is it available for immediate release on the expedition’s web site? Would it be possible to
eliminate the return visits to some sites by continuously transmitting the sensor data to
base camp and then having a robot retrieve the sensors when the experiment is complete?
These are the issues and design possibilities that arise from the simple process of
following a scientist in the field, observing how work normally occurs, and considering
the implications for Mars.

FMARS Principles of Operation

The key point of this paper is that exploiting FMARS requires a systematic approach for
managing the facility. This section makes explicit recommendations that could become a
mission statement and formal procedure for evaluating and implementing FMARS
research proposals.
Foremost, everyone involved in this enterprise should remember that the essential
opportunity provided by an analog facility is to carry out experiments that test and
exploit contextual interactions: Facilities, crew roles, clothing/suits, instrumentation,
operations, medical care, documentation, training, life support and exploration
automation, external support, communications, etc. This is commonly called a “total
system” approach (e.g., see Greenbaum and Kyng, 1992). This will distinguish the
FMARS facility from previous work in isolated and confined environments. Proposals
that use FMARS as if it were just another small habitat or proposals that refer to only a
single technology would be missing the point.

Living and working in FMARS will allow aspects of Mars surface operations (e.g., glove
design) to be considered together. Problems and solutions shouldn’t be narrowly
conceived, but understood and approached from multiple disciplinary perspectives. For
example, a perceptual-motor problem with spacesuits might be resolved by a change in
collaboration between astronauts on an EVA and remote support. Interactions between
people, procedures, and the environment might be non-obvious until they are tried on
Devon Island. For example, astronauts during Apollo lunar traverses requested
information from Capcom in Houston, rather than troubling their nearby companion, who
was busy doing something else. This practice developed on the moon; it was not part of
the operations checklist and preflight training.

With these observations in mind, the following are recommended principles for managing
the FMARS facility:

  • Clarify the unique human abilities to explore Mars and how automated systems
    may complement them. Use the authentic work setting to emphasize what today’s
    robots cannot do, while looking for opportunities to automate routine operations
    and detect and diagnose emergency situations.
  • Exploit the opportunity for total system design and evaluation. Specify how a
    given proposal leverages other activities and the hab’s setting. For example, how
    does spacesuit design integrate with the hab’s life support design? Experiments
    should be well conceived and pointed at specific problem interactions.
  • Minimize the role of aspects better treated elsewhere. For example, study of long-duration
    occupation is confounded by the 24 hour sunlight during the summer and
    darkness during the winter.
  • Treat the Devon setting as the mission, preceded by simulations that certify
    equipment and train the operators and crew. Don’t take untested equipment to
    Devon Island.8 Operating FMARS is too expensive to “wing it.”
  • Employ critical engineering analysis in scenario design and analysis. Let
    imagination evoke, not convince. Continuously ask “what if” and work through
    the implications of an actual Mars setting.
  • Exploit the environment to increase realism. For example, subzero weather in
    spring would likely convince the crew that safety protocols are important, so EVA
    plans must be followed.
  • Design for increasing authenticity. At first the context will be supportive (i.e.,
    base camp services), then more capabilities will be moved inside the hab to
    increase isolation and self-sufficiency. Services include especially power, food,
    fuel, communications, and waste management.
  • Distinguish the media show from engineering experiments. Don’t overdo
    simulated “being on Mars” for the sake of the media. In particular, requirements
    for film angles, lighting, and reshooting scenes must never infringe on
    experimental protocols.
  • Manage by science committee with written policies and peer review, with overall
    long-term objectives in mind. A successful collaboration between NASA,
    vendors, universities, and the public members of the Mars Society requires that
    FMARS is operated first and foremost as a scientific research station, with the
    standard procedures for participation and publication of results. This implies a
    formal request for proposals and written evaluations.
  • Complete the habit before starting any further experiments. All workers, noises,
    construction materials and tools, etc. are intrusive. Minimal requirements are
    listed in Appendix 1.

Broadening Participation

The nature of the hab is that only six people will be participating in formal experiments at
one time inside or working around FMARS. However, a much broader participation is
possible by adopting the methods used in Apollo, Skylab, and Shuttle operations:

  • PIs could propose experimental “payloads” that would be taken to Devon Island;
    crew members would be trained in procedures for deploying and carrying out
    experiments. Data would be shared with the PI (with time delay), and experiments
    modified accordingly. NASA has extensive experience in managing work in this
    way. However, handling unexpected problems and maintaining communication with
    the crew has not been satisfactorily resolved. See for example the problems with the
    US Microgravity Lab during STS-50 (USML-1, 1992)

  • Vendors will want to bring their representatives to Devon Island to observe first-hand
    how their technologies perform. For example, Hamilton SunStrand sent two
    representatives to HMP-2000 to test a spacesuit. For certain experiments isolating the
    crew is useful, so direct observation will not be possible. It may be useful to perform
    two kinds of tests, those in which representatives may participate directly and those
    that the crew undertakes independently (but documents as for payload studies).

  • A small team performs the role of “mission support” from a remote site,
    communicating with the FMARS crew via emailed documents, including
    photographs, video, and audio recordings. Preliminary trials were performed during
    HMP-2000 by the Human Exploration Team at Johnson Space Center, as well as by a
    Mars Society team in Denver.

  • One or more “science backrooms” monitor the communications between the crew and
    mission support, providing technical advice and warning of potential problems. A
    key task is to analyze data for trends (e.g., excessive use of key resources). Close
    colleagues of crew members are presumably participating in a backroom.

  • Additional members of the scientific community, who specialize in areas under
    investigation, would communicate informally with the science backrooms. These
    people may observe information that is publicly available on an internet web site and
    use email to contact formal support operations with advice and warnings.

  • Members of the public will receive a great deal of information from public web sites.
    Over a long duration mission, it would be advantageous to involve students around
    the world in some experiments.

Funding will be a limiting factor that determines how people can participate. Because of
the scientific nature of the work, participation will be strongly influenced by membership
in an appropriate organization, such as a university department, that undertakes such
research, as well as by the individual’s ability to secure funding, such as from NSF.
Belonging to the Mars Society may be necessary for participating in FMARS scientific
research, but because of the research focus it is obviously not sufficient.

Conclusion: Remember Our Goal

It is worth considering that just as we will not go to Mars solely for science, the purpose
of FMARS is broader, too. The designers, funders, and construction workers built the
facility in part to inspire the public about a grand vision. We may be reminded of the
advice of Daniel Burnham, the “architect of Chicago”:
Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood. Make big plans, aim
high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded
will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing asserting itself
with ever-growing insistency. (Moore, 1921)

FMARS is part of a big plan, realized on Devon Island as a living thing, asserting with
ever-growing insistency our intention of going to Mars. The management of FMARS
should aim high in hope and work-not become lost in political squabbling or technical
details, but remain true to the magical vision of human exploration of space. Through the
credibility of FMARS research and the beauty of the setting, let us inspire the public that
living and working on Mars will not only be possible, but is noble and worthy of our best

Appendix 1: Changes Required to Prepare FMARS for Formal

The following changes are minimal recommendations for improvements for future

  • Environment and safety: waterproof roof; ventilation fan at NW portal upper deck;
    at least 5KW electric generator capacity; smoke and CO detectors; escape ladder
    from upper deck; heating downstairs.
  • Staterooms: Ladder to access upper bunks, shelving and six or more hooks for
    clothing; electric lights mounted; electric outlets in each room.
  • Galley: Sink with a drain and running hot and cold running water; storage for
    personal and common utensils, plates, etc. A wall cabinet for storing drink mixes
    and snack food. Food and/or water storage above staterooms with ladder to access.
    Large thermos for hot water; tea kettle.
  • Work area upper deck: An additional table (with optional built-in full-perimeter
    desk), shade on SE (middle) portal, desk lights if staying beyond first week of
    August, wireless network (IEEE 802.11 compliant), one walkie-talkie for each
  • Stairs to replace ladder (with optional railing at upper deck and optional pulley to
    bring items up and down)
  • Toilet/Bath rooms on lower deck: Shower stall, urine collection, built-in toilet seat,
    interior light, towel hooks and places to store personal items
  • Work area on lower deck: Internet hub, desks/chairs downstairs, resolve florescent


This work originated within and has been strongly influenced by the activities of the
Haughton-Mars Project of NASA/Ames Research Center (Pascal Lee, principal
investigator; Kelly Snook, project manager). During the year 2000 field season, I
engaged a number of people in conversations about these topics, including especially
Marc Boucher, Carol Stoker, Larry Lemke, Darlene Lim, Bob Nessen, Barry Blumberg,
John Grunsfeld, and Scott Horowitz. Many of the design suggestions and management
recommendations stem from several hours of discussion inside the hab on August 1,
2000. Special thanks to Charlie Cockell and the members of the HMP for enabling my
observation and opportunity to understand their work. I am also indebted to my
colleagues in the Computational Sciences Division at NASA/Ames, who have
participated in this work in various ways over the past three years: Rick Alena, Brian
Glass, Maarten Sierhuis, Roxana Wales, John O’Neill and Mike Shafto.


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SpaceRef staff editor.