The Occupy Mars Learning Adventure

Training Jr. Astronauts, Scientists,Engineers, and Pilots

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John Lewis Helps to Save the Space Industry

What do I say when someone comes up to me after a talk?    Why Mars?  Bob Barboza

John Lewis Helps to Save the Space Industry

I am so happy to have receded this quote from the Mars Society today.   This John Lewis quote is going to help me in my everyday work. I have to talk to people about why I am so crazy in love with colonizing Mars.

Bob Barboza

The John Lewis Quote

Occasionally people will ask why the US is trying to save problems in space when we have so many problems on earth and in response, I can quote John Lewis who made the statement when voting to keep the space station alive. 

 “The USA can solve more than one problem at a time

dreaming and pursuing that dream.   As soon as we lose the ability to dream and reach for the stars we cease to be great.”

John Lewis Remembered.



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Junior Astronauts and Aeronautics

Careers in Aeronautics: Salary and Job Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in aeronautics. Read on to learn more about career options along with education requirements and salary potential information.

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What Are Career Options in Aeronautics?

Aeronautical engineering and drafting are two options for those interested in this field. Professionals in these jobs work together to design and create aircraft. The engineers take project proposals and evaluate them to determine if they are feasible. This includes assessing the technological and financial needs to create an aircraft, developing acceptance criteria for designs and making sure that the end result is a safe aircraft or aircraft part. They also need to ensure designs meet engineering principles, customer requirements and environmental challenges. In the event of a malfunctioned part, they may be asked to inspect the part and determine the cause of malfunction.

Aeronautical drafters are mechanical drafters that work on aircraft designs. Using computer-aided design (CAD) software, they take sketches from engineers and create digital representations of them. In these representations, they may add additional information including dimensions, materials and production procedures. In some cases, they may even help engineers come up with designs and production procedures.

The following chart gives an overview of what you need to know about entering either of these careers.

Aeronautical Engineer Aeronautical Drafter
Degree Required Bachelor’s degree minimum Associate’s degree minimum
Education Field of Study Aeronautical or mechanical engineering Drafting
Key Skills Develop technology/design of aircraft; research/test flight systems Create 3-D blueprints for aircraft design & construction
Licensure/Certification Licensure sometimes required Voluntary certification available
Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028) 2%* -7% (for all mechanical drafters)*
Median Salary (2018) $115,220* $53,520 (for all mechanical drafters)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Career Options are Available in Aeronautics?

Careers in aeronautics involve the designing of aircrafts. Aeronautical engineers and drafters work together to create a finished aircraft that meets safety standards and industry regulations.


Work as an aeronautical engineer includes managing the design and construction of aircrafts. Your job may also include developing technology, flight systems and structural designs. You may be required to research and test new techniques used in the field. It is common to choose a specialty such as spacecraft or commercial aircraft.


As an aeronautical drafter, you are responsible for creating the blueprints that will be used to build a new aircraft. In your technical plans, you note specifications, write instructions and notes, calculate the scale and provide all the information used to create the parts and construct the finished aircraft. Aeronautical drafters must work with physicists and engineers to get technical calculations to create 3-D models using computer-aided drafting software.

How Do I Prepare for These Careers?

As an aeronautical engineer, you need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical or mechanical engineering, as well as a strong educational background in mathematics and science. Engineers typically start in an entry-level position. As you gain experience, you further your education, which may help you advance in your career.

If you are seeking a job as an aeronautical drafter, you need at least an associate degree in drafting. You need developed skills in mechanical drawing, computer-aided drafting software and mathematics. You may wish to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering or mathematics to advance your education.

What Is the Earning Potential?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aerospace engineers earned a median annual wage of $115,220, as of May 2018. The BLS also reported that during the same month, mechanical drafters, including aeronautical drafters, earned a median salary of $55,920.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you’d like to explore similar fields, you might look into engineering management or industrial design. Engineering managers are often responsible for organizing and overseeing engineering projects. While some of these managers may only have a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty, many have a master’s degree in engineering management, technology management or business administration. Significant work experience is also required for engineering managers.

Industrial designers develop concepts for products. They use their understanding of art, business and engineering to create product concepts that are functional, aesthetically pleasing and affordable to produce. Usually they have a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture or engineering.

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Who wants to help me feed Mars?


The Barboza Space Center is working with a scientist that has lived on Devon Island.  We are exploring growing food in California and Cabo Verde.

Above Image: The surface of Devon Island, Nunavut, resembles that of Mars ©
Source: Dr. Thomas Graham, University of Guelph.

Astronauts traveling to Mars will need to grow some of their own food in order to survive and stay healthy. To successfully grow plants on Mars, greenhouse structures will be necessary to provide similar growing conditions to those on Earth. Greenhouses on Earth are structures with transparentglass or plastic walls and roofs that allow as much of the available sunlight as possible to reach the plants inside. But on Mars will there be enough light to meet the needs of growing plants? Several factors influence the amount of light that would be available on Mars for growing plants.

Distance from the Sun

Mars’ greater distance from the Sun means that the maximum intensity (brightness) of sunlight on Mars is much less (about 44%) than that on Earth. This means that the greatest light intensity that Mars ever experiences is about the same as the light intensity Canada experiences in the middle of the winter, when the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun (See Figure 1).

Martian Seasons

The seasons a planet experiences are determined by the tilt of the planet on its axis and the shape of its orbit around the Sun. Like Earth, Mars is tilted away from the Sun on its axis, so as it travels around the Sun there are times during the Martian year (days) that a part of the planet does not receive direct sunlight. This axial tilt causes four seasons on Mars, which is similar to Earth. Since Mars is twice as far from the Sun, each year on Mars is longer (1.88 Earth years), and the seasons are each twice as long as on Earth.

In addition, the shape of Mars’ orbit, which is very elliptical (an eccentric orbit) compared to Earth’s orbit, results in seasons that are of different lengths. For example, in the northern hemisphere on Mars, spring is 7 months, summer is 6 months, fall is 5.3 months and winter is a little over 4 months long. This means that the number of daylight hours and light intensity at different times of the year may not always be enough to meet the needs of plants.

The Impact of Weather

The amount of light reaching the surface of Mars can also be dramatically affected by weather. Due to its distance from the Sun and thin atmosphere, the surface of Mars is very cold and it has very little warming due to the greenhouse effect (about 6 degrees Celsius). The most significant weather phenomena on Mars are dust storms and winds. These dust storms can block out direct solar radiation from the Sun for very long periods of time, sometimes for up to several weeks or even months! (See The Weather of Mars video) Without enough light for that length of time, plants would not be able to produce enough food through photosynthesis and they would slowly die.

It appears that, depending on the location of habitation on Mars, the time of year and the weather conditions, artificial light sources will be needed to provide a reliable and adequate amount of light to grow plants on Mars. At the same time, scientists are also conducting research with plants to find ways to lower their requirements for light.

Mars Plant Research On Earth

Will there be enough natural sunlight on Mars to grow crops such as tomatoes? Will greenhouses with artificial light be required? Plant scientists have been working on finding answers to these key questions through studies conducted right here on Earth!

Devon Island in Nunavut, Canada, is the largest uninhabited island on Earth. It has surface characteristics that strongly resemble those of the surface of Mars, with a barren, rocky landscape and temperatures that often dip as low as –50°C and rarely go higher than 5°C (See Figure 2).

Located at latitude of slightly more than 75°N, Devon Island has a solar insolation similar to the solar insolation at the Martian equator. Scientists are assuming that the location of the first Mars habitationby humans will occur near the Martian equator where seasonal changes that can affect light intensity are less noticeable. Except for a brief period in June, the intensity of the Sun on Devon Island never gets higher than the solar intensity on Mars. This means Devon Island provides an excellent environment to do plant research with light conditions that resemble those on Mars. In 2002, the Arthur C. Clarke Mars Analogue Greenhouse was installed near the rim of the Haughton Impact Crater, on Devon Island near the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) (See Figures 3 and 4). Researchers here are learning how to operate a greenhouse in this very extreme climate.

Plant scientists have been conducting experiments and testing sensor technologies (webcams and environment monitoring sensors) that can monitor the growing conditions inside the greenhouse and the condition of the plants (See Figure 5). Several crops, including radishes, beets, lettuce, and tomatoes have been grown in this greenhouse on Devon Island.

Devon Island research is also helping scientists to learn about how to keep a greenhouse operating and providing for the needs of the plants without actually having humans there to care for the plants.

For 11 months of the year the growing environment is maintained with remotely-controlled (satellite) and automated irrigation systems, solar panels, heating systems to support growth, and a webcam network to track the progress of the plants (See Figure 6). These automated gardening techniques could come in handy in preparing for the arrival of humans (to have food and air ready for crew when they arrive) on Mars, or for keeping plants growing between missions. The success of this greenhouse in the extreme environment of Devon Island is a good indication of whether or not people will be able to grow crops on Mars.


Eccentric orbit

An orbit that deviates from a perfect circle.


A place in which to live.

Solar insolation

The amount of solar radiation striking Earth or another planet.


A characteristic of material that allows light to pass through it.


External Resources

  • Mars Institute (Retrieved May 10, 2016). The Mars Institute is an international, non-governmental, non-profit research organization dedicated to advancing the scientific study, exploration, and public understanding of Mars.
  • Solar Energy Reaching The Earth’s Surface (Retrieved April 20, 2017). This webpage by ITACA describes the calculations involved in determining the solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface.

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25 Mars Mission Challenges for the Barboza Space Center Tiger Teams

Our student Tiger Team interns have a new list of

25 Challenges:

  1.  Radiation
  2. Growing Food
  3. Water
  4. Oxygen
  5. Habitats
  6. 3D Printing
  7. Software Development
  8. Robotics
  9. Medicine
  10. Communications
  11. Helicopters
  12. Drones
  13. Psychological (NASA SIRIS Project)
  14. Rocket Fuel
  15. Yoga
  16. Education
  17. Astrosociology
  18. Coronavirus
  19. Chemistry
  20. Inventions for Mars
  21. Astrobiology
  22. Astrophysics
  23. Astrochemistry
  24. Astronomy
  25. Aviation


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Getting Ready for A Mars

Sept. 25, 2018

SIRIUS 18/19 Seeking Participants for a 4-Month Mission in Russia

SIRIUS 18/19 is a joint project between NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) and Russia’s Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) to help prepare humans for long duration space missions.  You can find more information about the NEK facility here: This recruitment is seeking individuals to participate in a 4-month isolation mission inside the NEK analog facility.  The primary purpose of the 4-month mission is to conduct a vast array of physiological, psychological, behavioral, and social research on the six people who are living and working within the facility while engaged in a simulated space mission.

Credits: NASA

NASA intends to select two candidates for this study by early November 2018.  The total time in Moscow to support the study will likely be from mid-January through mid-July 2019.  The isolation phase of the mission (the 4-month portion) is scheduled to begin in early March and conclude in early July.  There may be some brief travel to Moscow in November 2018.

Candidates applying for this study as a NASA-provided crew member MUST be US Citizens.  Other criteria for inclusion, or factors which will determine exclusion, are listed below.  Please read these criteria carefully prior to applying.  Applications will be accepted until November 1, 2018.

Candidates will require medical as well as psychological screening, as indicated below.  Medical screening will be performed, if possible, at a facility near the candidate’s home.  Psychological screening will be conducted at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.  Screening and travel costs will be paid by NASA’s screening contractor.  If selected, travel to/from Moscow including lodging and transportation, will be paid by NASA.  Subjects will be remunerated for their time, including the time involved in the pre-mission training, the mission itself, and the post-mission data collection time period.

Inclusion Criteria

Candidate subject inclusion criteria for the study will be the following:

  • Age is 30 to 55 years.
  • Height not to exceed 180 cm.
  • Successful completion of a modified U.S. Air Force Class III Physical, dental and oral examination, and psychological screening
  • Willing to be confined and isolated for up to 4 months.
  • Body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 30.
  • English and Russian verbal and written proficiency.
  • Technical skills demonstrated through education and professional experience.

Advanced degree (e.g. MS degree, PhD, MD) or completion of military officer training is preferred.

Subjects with a Bachelor’s degree AND one of the following qualifications are acceptable candidates as well:

  • the equivalent of two years of full-time graduate coursework
  •  two years’ professional experience in a relevant scientific, technical, or medical field
  • two years of military experience (completed military officer training preferred)
  • HRP will be notified of subject’s prescription medication use to determine if medication will violate HRP scientific research.

Exclusion Criteria

Candidate subject exclusion criteria for the study will be the following:

  • A history of self-reported psychological or psychiatric illness that is determined by the psychiatrist/psychologist to place the crewmember at risk to his/her psychological well-being should he/she participate in the mission.
  • Inability or unwillingness to perform the required tests.
  • Prior cardiovascular or neurologic disease.
  • Sleep walking and sleep aid use 30 days prior to participation (verbal confirmation is adequate).  History of sleep disorders.
  • Female candidate is pregnant or lactating.
  • Failure to pass a criminal background check.
  • Any eye disorder not correctable to 20/20 visual acuity in each eye.
  • Prior participation as a subject in the NEK habitat for an overnight mission of 10 days or longer
  • Prior participation in HRP-funded NEK science protocols
  • History of gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Claustrophobic.

Candidates who meet the above criteria, and who are interested in and able to participate in this mission during the specified time period are encouraged to send their CV to:

For the subject line, please indicate: CANDIDATE – SIRIUS18/19

Thank you again for your interest in furthering NASA Human Research Program goals!

Last Updated: Sept. 25, 2018
Editor: Kelli Mars

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What is the best spacesuit for Mars?

1st woman to walk on Moon will wear these spacesuits

“The 1st woman and next man will go to the Moon in 2024. Today, we previewed the next generation #Artemis spacesuits that our astronauts will wear 1 for launch and re-entry, and 1 for exploring the lunar South Pole,” NASA Administrator

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By Author  |  Published: 16th Oct 2019  7:00 pmUpdated: 16th Oct 2019  10:28 pm
Advanced Space Suit Engineer Kristine Davis displays the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) spacesuit at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. Photo: IANS

Washington: NASA has showcased the prototypes of the next generation spacesuits to be used in its Artemis programme that will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.

“The 1st woman and next man will go to the Moon in 2024. Today, we previewed the next generation #Artemis spacesuits that our astronauts will wear 1 for launch and re-entry, and 1 for exploring the lunar South Pole,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted on Tuesday.

The spacesuit designed for exploring the Moon’s surface is called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), and the one for launch and re-entry aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft is known as the Orion Crew Survival System, Xinhua reported.

The xEMU, a red, white and blue suit, is composed of the pressure garment and a life-supporting backpack, and it can protect the astronauts from radiation, temperature extremes and micrometeoroids, according to NASA.

One of its advantages compared with previous ones goes to its better mobility. At Tuesday’s launch event, a female NASA engineer who wore the xEMU for demonstration played deep squat, full arms spinning and delicate fingers movement with much ease.

The suit’s advanced mobility that enables them to accomplish much more complex tasks on the Moon’s surface is partly attributed to its joint bearings, instead of zippers, on the lower torso and upper torso.

Those bearings allow full rotation of the arm from shoulder to wrist, bending and rotating at the hips, increased bending at the knees and hiking-style boots with flexible soles, according to NASA.

The xEMU has a rear-entry hatch, so astronauts can climb into it from the back of the suit, allowing the shoulder elements of the hard upper torso to be closer together than the suits currently in use, thus enabling a better fit while reducing shoulder injury risks.

Also, the spacesuit is a modular one. Its helmet features a quick-swap protective visor that protects the pressurised bubble from any wear and tear or dents, and scratches from the abrasive dirt of planetary bodies.

It means that astronauts can replace only the visor before or after a spacewalk instead of sending an entire helmet back to Earth for repairs.

Before the first lunar landing in 1969, engineers worried that the lunar soil wouldn’t support the weight of a spacesuit and the astronaut inside, but now a greater danger is that the lunar soil is composed of tiny glass-like shards which may damage the suit.

Astronauts in the International Space Station will test the new spacesuits in the coming years and it will be used in a small space station in lunar orbit and on Mars.

Bridenstine also demonstrated the Orion Crew Survival System at the event. The orange suit will be worn during launch and re-entry of NASA’s new spacecraft to provide thermal protection for the astronauts in case of a depressurizing accident.

NASA is planning to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and to land on Mars in the 2030s.

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Make Water on the Moon

Earth’s MoonWaxing gibbous Moon
Feb. 20, 2019

NASA Scientists Show How Ingredients for Water Could Be Made on Surface of Moon, a ‘Chemical Factory’

When a stream of charged particles known as the solar wind careens onto the Moon’s surface at 450 kilometers per second (or nearly 1 million miles per hour), they enrich the Moon’s surface in ingredients that could make water, NASA scientists have found.

Using a computer program, scientists simulated the chemistry that unfolds when the solar wind pelts the Moon’s surface. As the Sun streams protons to the Moon, they found, those particles interact with electrons in the lunar surface, making hydrogen (H) atoms. These atoms then migrate through the surface and latch onto the abundant oxygen (O) atoms bound in the silica (SiO2) and other oxygen-bearing molecules that make up the lunar soil, or regolith. Together, hydrogen and oxygen make the molecule hydroxyl (OH), a component of water, or H2O.

“We think of water as this special, magical compound,” said William M. Farrell, a plasma physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who helped develop the simulation. “But here’s what’s amazing: every rock has the potential to make water, especially after being irradiated by the solar wind.”

Understanding how much water — or its chemical components — is available on the Moon is critical to NASA’s goal of sending humans to establish a permanent presence there, said Orenthal James Tucker, a physicist at Goddard who spearheaded the simulation research.

“We’re trying to learn about the dynamics of transport of valuable resources like hydrogen around the lunar surface and throughout its exosphere, or very thin atmosphere, so we can know where to go to harvest those resources,” said Tucker, who recently described the simulation results in the journal JGR Planets.

Comic about the chemistry unleashed by solar wind
Credits: NASA/JoAnna Wendel

Several spacecraft used infrared instruments that measure light emitted from the Moon to identify the chemistry of its surface. These include NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft, which had numerous close encounters with the Earth-Moon system en route to comet 103P/Hartley 2; NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which passed the Moon on its way to Saturn; and India’s Chandrayaan-1, which orbited the Moon a decade ago. All found evidence of water or its components (hydrogen or hydroxyl).

But how these atoms and compounds form on the Moon is still an open question. It’s possible that meteor impacts initiate the necessary chemical reactions, but many scientists believe that the solar wind is the primary driver.

Graphic about solar wind
The Sun releases a constant stream of particles and magnetic fields called the solar wind. This solar wind slams worlds across the solar system with particles and radiation — which can stream all the way to planetary surfaces unless thwarted by an atmosphere, magnetic field, or both. Here’s how these solar particles interact with a few select planets and other celestial bodies.
Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

Tucker’s simulation, which traces the lifecycle of hydrogen atoms on the Moon, supports the solar wind idea.

“From previous research, we know how much hydrogen is coming in from the solar wind, we also know how much is in the Moon’s very thin atmosphere, and we have measurements of hydroxyl in the surface,” Tucker said. “What we’ve done now is figure out how these three inventories of hydrogen are physically intertwined.”

Showing how hydrogen atoms behave on the Moon helped resolve why spacecraft have found fluctuations in the amount of hydrogen in different regions of the Moon. Less hydrogen accumulates in warmer regions, like the Moon’s equator, because hydrogen atoms deposited there get energized by the Sun and quickly outgas from the surface into the exosphere, the team concluded. Conversely, more hydrogen appears to accumulate in the colder surface near the poles because there’s less Sun radiation and the outgassing is slowed.

Overall, Tucker’s simulation shows that as solar wind continually blasts the Moon’s surface, it breaks the bonds among atoms of silicon, iron and oxygen that make up the majority of the Moon’s soil. This leaves oxygen atoms with unsatisfied bonds. As hydrogen atoms flow through the Moon’s surface, they get temporarily trapped with the unhinged oxygen (longer in cold regions than in warm). They float from O to O before finally diffusing into the Moon’s atmosphere, and, ultimately, into space. “The whole process is like a chemical factory,” Farrell said.

A key ramification of the result, Farrell said, is that every exposed body of silica in space — from the Moon down to a small dust grain — has the potential to create hydroxyl and thus become a chemical factory for water.

Goddard physicist Rosemary Margaret Killen and Dana M. Hurley, planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, contributed to the simulation research, which was funded by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute.

Banner image: Waxing gibbous Moon at 11 days old. Credit: Ernie Wright / NASA

Last Updated: Feb. 21, 2019
Editor: Svetlana Shekhtman