The Occupy Mars Learning Adventure

Training Jr. Astronauts, Scientists & Engineers

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Where should I study about robots?

Japanese students learning about Mars, AI & robots at the Barboza Space Center with Bob Barboza.


Best Universities For Robotics

The branch of engineering which involves designing, constructing and operating robots is known as robotics. It also involves learning about the computer systems which control them and are important for their information processing and sensory feedback.

Bachelors and Masters Degree in Robotics are programs that are geared towards teaching students about developing and constructing robotic devices which can be used for various purposes such as in commercial, manufacturing and security sectors. These programs include elements of mechanicalengineering, computer science and electrical engineering.

For students applying in the undergraduate programs, strong math and science base is a must. In case of masters programs, engineering degree in relevant field along with project portfolio is required.

Why Study Robotics?

The world is becoming increasingly automated and most of the work today is carried out on computer systems. Looking at this trend, there is an increasing demand for people who specialize in robotics so that it can be utilized into the work systems in a manner that it makes work easier as well as faster. The first industrial robot was introduced in 1960’s in the US. Since then, robotics has come a long way and the advancement in robotics has caused into its widespread application right from healthcare to manufacturing. Robots have many advantages such as safety, productivity and time and money saving. Robots help to produce high quality work which is accurate and devoid of mistakes. Such automated systems help to perform applications repeatedly with absolute accuracy and therefore their application is increasing in industries. Due to their high demand, studying robotics and researching in this field is advisable as it will provide better employment opportunities to students.

Opportunities for Robotics Students

There are a number of opportunities for students who have done bachelors and masters in the field of robotics, some opportunities include;
-Robotics programmer
-Robotics systems controller
-Automotive robotics engineer
-Industrial robotics engineer
-Aerospace robotics engineer

Robotics Technology Universities

There are a number of Universities offering degrees in Robotics. Here are a few listed below:

University of California (Santa Cruz)

The University‘s world rank is 109 according to the World University Rankings for 2014-15. The robotics engineering program at UCSC prepares students for careers in interfaces between mechanical, computer and electrical engineering. The students will have a thorough understanding of the principles and practices of robotics. There are a number of Robotics related programs within the Computer, electrical and mechanical engineering programs for students to choose from.  Students can get a Bachelor’s in Robotics Engineering or opt for a minor in Control Designated Robotics at graduate level.

Scholarship- UCSC Robotics Engineering program prepares graduates for rewarding careers at the interfaces between electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. UCSC Robotics Engineering graduates will have a thorough grounding in the principles and practices of robotics and control

Princeton University

Robotics and Intelligent Systems

Princeton is a highly acclaimed university and according to The World University Rankings, it is ranked at number 7 in 2014-15. This is a certificate program designed for those undergraduate students who wish to pursue a career in  or graduate in one of the following areas:

Creating systems for decision-making, adaptation, estimation, identification and control by the use of concepts taken from cognitive and biological sciences.

Understanding human intelligence from the outlook of computation and neuroscience

Development of systems that automate transportation, manufacturing, healthcare etc.

The program is open for juniors as well as seniors in Princeton University with a background in science, computing and mathematics. Program requirements include:

-Six courses, which includes 3 core courses and 3 electives. A minimum grade of B in the six program course is required for certification.

-A one term senior independent work project or a two term senior thesis with a robotic / intelligent systems relevant topic should be completed.

-Close collaboration with faculty members.

Scholarship- The Certificate Program in Robotics and Intelligent Systems is open to juniors and seniors at Princeton University who have a satisfactory background in mathematics, science, and computing. Students should have successfully completed.

Washington University St. Louis-Master of Engineering in Robotics

The University is a private research university and more than 20 Nobel Prize winners are associated with the University. According to World Rankings, it stood at 42 in 2014-15.This degree is open for students who have a bachelor’s in engineering or physical sciences from an accredited university. To pursue this degree, you will require 30 units. The program is designed in a manner that it is completed in 1.5 years but can be completed in longer time if done part-time. To finish the course in 1.5 years, students are required to take 3 courses in both fall and spring semester and 4 courses in second fall semester.

Scholarship- Applicant should have bachelor’s degree in engineering or physical sciences from an accredited university. The courses must be 400-level or higher and they must include at least 15 units of 500-level courses.

Carnegie Mellon University

The Robotics Institute

This University is synonymous with robotics and has multiple engineering and computer science divisions. The University has been ranked 24 in The World Rankings. The University offers a number of Robotics programs such as PhD in Robotics, Masters in Robotics and Master of Science- Robotic Systems Development (MRSD). There is also a special masters program wherein Carnegie Mellon undergraduate students get a chance to complete their masters in the 5th year.  These programs include Master of Science- Robotic Technology (MS-RT), Master of Science-Computer Vision (MSCV). Students also have the choice of doing a robotics additional major or opt for the robotics minor in the undergraduate program.

Scholarship- The Robotics Institute is an international leader in robotics education. Carnegie Mellon University offer many academic programs in Robotics like PhD in robotics, Masters in Robotics, Robotics Additional Major, Master of Science – Robotic Systems Development (MRSD) and so many programs.

Georgia Tech

Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines

Three major research groups use Robotics at the University: The Mobile Robot Laboratory, The Healthcare Robotics Laboratory and The Center for Music Technology. Georgia Tech ranks at number 35 according to the U.S News and World Report’s Best College Ranking. Georgia tech offers PhD programs in Robotics. The program has more than 40 faculty members who are part of the PhD Robotics program. The SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering) Program which was introduced in 1992 has been extended to Robotics. His program was launched in May 2014 and it receives funding from Department of Defense and National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Engineering Education and Centers. This program is directed towards undergraduate students to participate in a 10 week summer robotics research experience which will help to attract underrepresented students to graduate school.

Scholarship- Georgia Tech offers the first interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in robotics to students enrolled in a participating home school in the College of Computing or the College of Engineering. The program supports Tech’s mission to provide education in disciplines related to science, technology, and interdisciplinary areas

University of Pennsylvania

General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP)

The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory is an interdisciplinary academic and research center within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. The GRASP Laboratory integrates computer science, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering into a collaborative environment. GRASP has developed a $10 million research center wherein ground-breaking technological innovations to its credit. They can apply for CIS, MEAM or ESE department, depending on their interest.  According to the U.S News and World Report’s Best College Ranking University of Pennsylvania stands at number 19 amongst the Best Engineering Schools.

Scholarship- The center offers a number of undergraduate and graduate programs in the field of Robotics. They also offer a Masters in Robotics wherein students have to take up a total of 10 courses along with an optional thesis project. PhD students conducting doctoral research at GRASP get their degree from one of the associated departments.

Flinders University

Bachelor of Engineering(Robotics) (Honours)

This Australian University is ranked in Top 10-16 in Australia and Top 400 Worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2013. The course is a 4 year on campus course and it combines computer control, electronics, programming in design, signal processing, development and application of robots and its integration with the other working systems. Flinders is the only university in South Australia whose Robotics program is based on electronics and autonomous intelligent systems, both of which are the core elements of Robotics. The bachelor’s at Flinders is accredited by Engineers Australia and is internationally recognized.

Flinders University offers undergraduate program in the field of Bachelor of Engineering in Robotics. Flinders offers the only robotics course in South Australia based on electronics and autonomous intelligent systems. Flinders robotics degree enables you to choose a course of study with either an intelligent robotics focus or a mechatronics focus.

Johns Hopkins University

Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) is a not-for-profit interdisciplinary academic center for engineering, research and development. LCSR’s mission is to create knowledge and foster innovation to further the field of robotics science and engineering. We will accomplish this goal by cultivating excellence in research and teaching in robotics engineering sciences, and by exploiting opportunities for robotics research and interdisciplinary synergy across all JHU divisions and with collaborators worldwide.

Scholarship- Johns Hopkins University also offers undergraduate minors in Robotics and Computer-Integrated Surgery and also offers graduate program Master of Science in Engineering focuses on interdisciplinary learning to offer a comprehensive education in Robotics.

Colorado School of Mines

The mission of the Center for Automation, Robotics and Distributed Intelligence (CARDI) is to engage in interdisciplinary research encompassing the fields of control systems, robotics and automation, computer vision and intelligence, distributed systems and networking, and data/information. Mining is an incredibly complex pursuit, and robots can step in to do dangerous work to save lives. Someone needs to build them, and the Colorado School of Mines has its Center for Automation, Robotics, and Distributed Intelligence (CARDI) to equip people with the tools to do so.

Scholarship- Education is a key element of the CARDI agenda. The center promotes undergraduate and graduate research in CARDI projects by publicizing the research of members, organizing an annual Research Fair and directly hiring undergraduate and graduate students.

UC Berkeley

The Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab at UC Berkeley has an entire department devoted to replicating animal movement for the sake of improving robotic mobility. The school’s Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering gets into more general robotics work, designing solutions for things like robot-assisted surgery and automated manufacturing.

Stanford University

Since its founding in 1962, Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has been facilitating robotics education for 52 years. Students gather for weekly reading groups to dissect robotics papers and discuss the latest developments in their fields. Its faculty’s list of interests is loaded with fun robo-buzzwords: informatics, logic, machine learning, natural language processing, and so on.

University of Southern California

USC’s Robotics Research Lab encourages undergrads to get their hands dirty by taking directed research credits from faculty. The USC Robotics Laboratory has a large and constantly growing collection of robots. Most recently, we received a PR2 robot from Willow Garage, as part of the PR2 beta program. Several lab projects make use of our group of Pioneers for research into coordination, communication and learning in robot teams. The Evolution Robotics ER1 platform is being used for human-robot interaction research.

Columbia University

The projects described on the website for Columbia University’s Robotics Group are impressive to say the least. Students have built autonomous vehicles for navigating urban environments, 3-D simulation tools to teach robots how to interact with the real world, and even a system for facilitate aspects of surgery-by-robot.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is nearly synonymous with developing cool, cutting-edge technology. It’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has spawned a number of robotic creations. CSAIL articulates compelling interdisciplinary research visions for computing, invents fundamental new technologies, conducts basic research activities that strengthen the state of the art, and inspires and educates future generations of scientists, technology leaders, and the public. CSAIL is an innovative, passionate community that both drives the future of computing and harnesses its remarkable power.


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Helping Hollywood with Robot Movies

Pacific Rim Uprising at East LA Rising

The kids of the “East L.A. Rising”, formerly known as the Boys and Girls Club of East LA, were in for a big treat this past Tuesday. CSU Long Beach Robotics Professor Walter Martinez Marconi and Barboza Space Center founder Bob Barboza hosted an interactive and informative robots themed special event base on Universal Pictures’ upcoming film, Pacific Rim Uprising, directed by Steven S. DeKnight, coming out Friday March 23rd. “It’s not only fun, exciting, and inspiring for our kids to be exposed to robotics”, stated Anna Araujo the Executive Director of East L.A. Rising, “it’s our responsibility to nuture our kids’ interest in the sciences. Unfortunately, low income kids have significantly less internet and technological access, as well as exposure to these types of special events that help them correlate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineeribg, and Math) education with career opportunities. Access to technology is becoming a civil rights issue of our time”, claimed Araujo, “and these type of events are vital to ensure our kids will be well prepared for tomorrow world”.


The highly anticipated sequel, Uprising, flashes forward 10 years from the first Pacific Rim and follows the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous “Kaiju”. Young Jaeger pilots have only known a world of chaos and Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy with his estranged sister, Mako Mori, who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war. As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to reunite together in a global uprising against the force of extinction.

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The French Mars Team is Studying in the USA

Crew 189 Final Mission Summary

MDRS Crew 189: Team ISAE-Supaero

Mission Summary Report March 9, 2018

1)   Introduction

a-     MDRS 189 mission origins


Crew Member Country MDRS Role
Victoria Da-Poian France Commander
Louis Mangin France Commander
Jérémy Auclair France Greenhab Officer
Benoit Floquet France Astronomer
Laurent Bizien France Health & Safety Officer
Gabriel Payen France Crew engineer
Alexandre Martin France Crew journalist


Team ISAE Supaero has begun their fourth rotation at MDRS, comprised of three weeks of intense research, team building and simulation training on Mars. Our team is composed of seven highly motivated scientists, engineers from the French aerospace engineering school ISAE Supaero.

b-    Crew objectives

  • To productively function as an interdisciplinary team of aerospace engineering students
  • To gain team and individual experience in a Mars analog simulation
  • To learn from the team’s collective background and experiences
  • To produce a scientifically publishable report, including experimental results
  • To promote awareness and passion for space exploration via education and outreach
  • To conduct engaging experiments that will be shared on the team website
  • To share with the public how research is conducted in an analog situation
  • To study crew group dynamics and teamwork of a Mars analog mission
  • To obtain scientific results for our sponsors (human factors researchers, CNRS researchers)
  • To improve the EVA performances during our simulation
  • To fix and clean materials in the station


2)   Crew 189

a-     Crew bios

Victoria Da-Poian will be the Commander of the MDRS-189 mission. She is one of the two veterans taking part in the new mission as she was member of the MDRS-175 crew as the biologist. She is an active member of ISAE Supaero space events as she organized the SpaceUp France in 2017 and took part in different space related associations (space pole and cubesat club). She was also vice-president of the « Junior Enterprise » of ISAE-Supaero (Supaero Junior Council) and Ambassador of the social and cultural expansion of our school (OSE ISAE Supaero). After her 2017 mission, she completed an internship at the Astronaut Training Center in Cologne (ESA / EAC), and is currently doing an academic exchange in Moscow. In her free time, she enjoys practicing piano, violin and climbing.


Louis Mangin will be with Victoria the commander of the MDRS 189 mission. He was already part of the crew 175 as the journalist. He is currently working as a trainee in Lyon in a start-up that uses the latest AI technologies to minimize the electrical consumption of buildings. When he was living on the campus, he was a rower in the ISAE-Supaero rowing team, organizer of the Supaerowing student regatta, and a tutor with the social association OSE ISAE Supaero. In his free time, he is also a runner, a mountain-climber, a cinephile or a poker player.


Laurent Bizien will be the Health and Safety Officer of the MDRS-189 crew. Promotion 2019 of ISAE Supaero, he is the current treasurer of the school’s charitable association (Solid’aires). As a volunteer firefighter as a lifeguard on the beaches, he passed several first aid diplomas. He is a candidate for a semester at the Moscow State University and an internship at NASA. In his free time, he practices baseball, volleyball and skydiving.


Franco-American born in France, Jérémy Auclair will be the GreenHab Officer and the Biologist on board. Promotion 2019, he is an active member of the club, very invested for the smooth running of the next mission. Passionate about space and astrophysics from his young age, this mission is one more way to flourish in his formation. He plans to do an internship in North America in the field of aerospace. He is also an active member of the school’s associative life, and various clubs with varied backgrounds. During his free time, he enjoys practicing sports, rowing and volleyball, as well as getting lost in reading and taking pictures. He will also be the photographer of the mission.


Promotion 2019, Benoit Floquet will be the astronomer of the MDRS-189 mission and is the current treasurer of the club M.A.R.S. Passionate about the space domain for many years, he is also involved in our school’s associative life. He is responsible of the Solidarity pole of the Students Association and takes part into the entrepreneurship (ISAE Supaero Entrepreneurs) association in the communication pole. Also a sportsman, he has been practicing gymnastics for 15 years and skydiving. He applies for a Master in Innovation at the French famous school « Polytechnique ».


Promotion 2019, Gabriel Payen will be the on-board flight engineer of the MDRS-189 mission and is the current president of the M.A.R.S club. He is also member of the student association as event manager. He has been a sportsman for several years and has been focusing for one year on mountain sports, such as climbing, mountaineering and skiing. He began this year a three- years research formation in applied mathematics. He applies for his gap year for the UNIS University located in an Arctic circle archipelago where he would study geophysics for six months.



Alexandre Martin, also promotion 2019 will be the journalist during the MDRS-189 mission. He is a member of the ISAE Student Association as chairman of the communication department. He shares his free time between the football club, of which he is the president and captain, tennis but also kite surfing club. He is fascinated by space, mathematics and economics. He is currently applying for a master’s degree in financial mathematics in the United Kingdom.

b-    Mission preparation and organization

Our advantage is to have two crewmembers who took already part in the simulation last year. Louis and I, were the journalist and the biologist of the Crew 175. This year, we will lead the new team (crew 189). For one year, we are working on our mission, teaching and giving our best advice to the new crewmembers. Our knowledge and experiment are going to benefit the crew in order to best perform during our Martian mission.


3)   Experiments: descriptions and results

  • Physical Training (Louis Mangin): Every morning, we performed physical exercises in order to stay in shape during our 3-weeks simulation and to analyze our performances. We had a sport session before breakfast every day. It was designed to be quick, not to use too much energy or tire us and to last around 30 minutes max. It was intense enough to dissipate the lack of exercise we had. Most of us are athletic so that being locked-on would have been difficult without exercising. The program was split in 7 exercises using various muscles and done to push up cardio. I measured the number of repetitions we did during one minute for each exercise. Everybody progressed during the mission to reach good maximums in the end. The fact that we were keeping tracks of our performance and that we did it together created a good emulation amongst the crewmembers, helped building team cohesion and detect individual fatigue.


  • Nutrition energetic (Alexandre Martin): During our 3-weeks experiments, we monitored our weight (fat percentage, water percentage, bone percentage, estimation of the calories consumption). This experiment aimed to ensure the good nutritional health of each member of the crew. I calculated the nutrient intake and measured the weight, muscular mass, fat mass and hydration rate of each member of the crew in order to provide a daily follow-up. I could observe that our caloric intakes were reduced at the time of the mission, as we are less active and are doing less sport. Almost each member of the crew has lost weight, up to 2.8 kilograms. This loss of weight has shown to result both from an important loose of fat and from a small loose of muscle: crew members have lost up to 1.8 kilograms of fat mass, and up to 0.8 kilograms of muscle. However, the athletic performances of the members of the crew have been enhanced in the meantime, mainly due to Louis’ daily imposed sport session.


  • Teamwork (Gabriel Payen): The game tasks a player with disarming procedurally generated bombs with the assistance of other players who are reading a list of instructions. This experiment has been designed with a researcher and a fellow student from ISAE-Supaero to study decision making and leadership abilities. Almost every day, teams of three had to play “Keep Talking and nobody explodes”, a computer game where one must defuse a bomb with the help of his teammates’ instructions. Subjects and conversations were recorded, and the deminer’s sight was followed with an eye-tracker. I simultaneously observed them to take notes about their behaviour and ask them to fill personality surveys.

Now, the data will be analysed at ISAE-Supaero.


  • Rover Piloting (human factors, Jérémy Auclair): The goal of this experiment was to see how the subjects changed their performances on a given task (driving a small Lego rover on a given track). What was mainly studied was how their decision taking and the precision of their driving changed during the mission according to how they felt (without any feedback on their scores). It was complicated at first because I had quite a few issues with the equipment and software (batteries, eye-tracker and SSH connection software). But once those issues were solved the experiment ran smoothly. I will give the data I gathered to the doctorates that gave me this task for further analysis, but I saw that everybody increased their precision during the three weeks.


  • Emergency Procedures (Laurent Bizien): Future Martian crews will have to be trained and prepared for every injury case they’ll encounter. Yet, because of the extreme conditions of Mars, emergency procedures developed on Earth will have to be adapted. Thus, after a few lessons, we trained to emergency situations in the Hab surroundings: how to transport a wounded crew member, how to put him/her in the Rover… The lack of mobility didn’t make the thing easy. Afterwards, I taught the other crew members how to use the rescue equipment present in the station. The first aid explained, we were able to apply the techniques in EVA. Twice, at the end of an EVA, a member of the crew had to simulate an injury and the other had to deal with it and to transport him/her up to the Hab. Once in the station, people remaining in the Hab had to pursue the cares. The experiment resulted in a good rhythm for everybody and development of good reflexes.


  • EVA Logger (Louis Mangin): I wanted to deploy a system to allow us to keep a precise history of an EVA. This system I developed used a smartphone and an Android App I created to be as simple as possible for the user. The smartphone was to be used only as a button, touched periodically by the EVA leader. The user would browse an action tree, with nodes spelled by the app in a headset. To select the wanted one, he will simply touch the screen anywhere while the App will keep looping on categories. I struggled a lot with the touchscreen use in the outside, and finally managed to use it fixing the phone with tape, and a special pen, attached to a finger. I had results for the last week, allowing us to have precise debriefings of EVAs with timed events.


  • EVA efficiency (Victoria Da-Poian): The goal of the experiment was to assess, for each of our EVAs, this index in order to understand the importance of each task (preparation and debrief). This index is used in the document “Exploration Systems Mission Directorate – Lunar Architecture Update” – AIAA Space 2007 September 20, 2007, chapter “Extravehicular Activities (EVA) and Pressurized Rovers, Mike Gernhardt from NASA Johnson Space Centre analyses EVAs efficiency. The WEI is the ratio between EVA duration and the total duration of preparatory activities and activities post EVA. We managed to have our index between 2 and 5 depending on the EVA preparation and previous debrief. It seems to be consistent with the results of the crew 43 lead by Alain Souchier.


  • LOAC (Jérémy Auclair): The LOAC instrument (Light Optical Aerosol Counter) Measures aerosol (solid and liquid particles between 0.1 µm and 50 µm) concentration in ambient air and gives an indication of the typology of the measured particles (mineral, salt, carbon, liquid, etc.). Bringing and installing this instrument was more challenging than I thought; I built a power system before leaving France, it broke on SOL 2 because of a faulty solder. I broke again on SOL 3 and SOL 15, but I managed to fix it quickly each time. Concerning the power supply, I thought the car battery we bought would last longer than it did, its autonomy decreased after each charge. However, the instrument worked perfectly and gathered very interesting raw data, the French scientist who gave me this instrument is waiting impatiently to receive all the collected data to start processing and analyzing it further.


  • Localization (Benoit Floquet): My experiment consists in a navigation device. It is composed of 3 components: a GPS ship, an electronic card and a LCD screen. It aims at helping members of an EVA to find their way, for example when they get back to the Hab. First, with the GPS and the electronic card I can compute my position, the distance and direction to the nearest Point of Interest. Then I can predict my direction of movement with a linear regression over a few past positions. Finally, with these two directions, I can write on the screen an order to turn right or left with an angle so that we are aiming the Point of Interest. Overall, I can add some noise on the measure of position in order to determine how accurate a localization device should be in a Mars-like environment. The goal is to create such a device without the use of a GPS. During the simulation, I had few problems with the GPS ship so I couldn’t use it as much as I wanted.


  • MegaARES (Gabriel Payen): MegaARES (Mega Atmospheric Relaxation and Electric field Sensor) is an instrument developed by Grégoire Déprez and his team of researchers at LATMOS (Laboratoire atmosphères, milieux et observations spatiales), France. It can measure the electric field in favorable weather conditions. This instrument will probably land on Mars one day. Grégoire lent it to me to see if it operates correctly and to study coupled effect with Jeremy’s LOAC instrument (aerosol counter). My mission was to set it up during an EVA, maintain its power supply outside and gather data every week. Assembling it outside with our gloves and suits was tricky but very interesting: it took a 3-hour EVA. It was tiresome and required a good amount of teamwork. We also had to deal with batteries issues: they emptied quicker than expected and had to be changed every two or three days instead of every week. Fortunately, plugging an USB key to get the data and disassembling it at the end of the mission was much easier.

Now, the data and hardware will be sent back to Grégoire and his team for analysis.


  • Solar panels experiment (Laurent Bizien): Dust on Mars is a real issue. Due to the lack of gravity, it could limit the performances of future Martian solar panels by accumulating on them. Hence the idea of a solar panel dust cleaner. Not using water, it consists in a rotating microfiber brush going back and forth on the solar panel using a band. The rotation and travel speeds are controlled by an Arduino card and a dual motor controller. At the beginning of the simulation, I assembled all the elements on a support and did my first performance and stability tests. Because of the absence of feedback loop, the system wasn’t stable (the brush headed step by step towards one of the end of the guide shafts) and the solar panel wasn’t properly cleaned. I added stop points in order to guarantee the stability. We took the dust cleaner on EVAs on three occasions and each time, it cleared out dust pretty well and allowed the mobile phone plugged on the solar panel to charge.



  • Time analysis experiment (Victoria Da-Poian): My goal was to analyze the activities, their duration and our planning in order to see the evolution of the crew during our simulation and our efficiency depending on our activities.

Each day I asked my crewmates the time they spent doing 7 different activities (sleeping, personal, social (team, community, meals, free time spent together…) maintenance, inside operations (EVA or experimentation preparation, daily briefings, psychological tests, inside experiments), external operations (EVA), reporting). It has been really interesting to see the impact of the fatigue during the three weeks simulation depending on the role, the involvement, the simulation expectations…

  • Water monitoring: I monitored water consumption like during MDRS 175. The whole crew participated in and kept track of drinking, cooking water, flushes, showers and Greenhab usage. The main differences with MDRS 175 we can spot is that flushes are now very reasonable, as one flushes consumes roughly 8 times less with the new system. In the other hand, the Greenhab consumes way more than last year, where it was just restarted after it burned down. This term is now the second biggest one, after the remaining one, composed mostly of dish washing.


4)   MDRS 189 videos, photos, documentary

We would like to thank Laure Andrillon, independent journalist and TF1 team composed of Axel Monnier and Bertrand Guez, who both “played the game” and understood that our operations on the field are surely not yet at astronauts and agencies professional level but are also far more than amateur activities.


5)   Conclusions

In conclusion, we had many experiments related to the human factors and the EVAs efficiency. We analyzed the impact of the isolation and the confinement on our efficiency. This team was together thanks to our common dream of space exploration. After spending 2 years in our aerospace engineering school in France, our crew understands the importance of defining roles within a team and will learn to cope with high-stress situations in small living spaces. Completing a mission together at MDRS challenged us to improve our professional communication while expanding our friendships and our shared passion for exploration.

We consider our mission to be a success and we are happy of what we have done during our three-weeks simulation.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the MDRS Mission Support Team who have supported our crew every evening during the Comms window. Special thanks go to Shannon Rupert, Atila Meszaros, Scott Davis, Peter Detterline, Dr. Robert Zubrin and the Mars Society, The Musk Foundation and all the previous and next Crews.

Ad astra!


Victoria Da-Poian , Louis Mangin

Crew 189 Commanders (and really proud of this awesome crew)


Jérémy Auclair, Gabriel Payen, Benoit Floquet, Alexandre Martin, Laurent Bizien

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New Robot Movie: Pacific Rim Uprising

Walter and Bob Barboza were in East LA helping with the new robot movie.  Here is our photo essay.

Pacific Rim Uprising is an upcoming American science fiction action film written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight in his feature film directorial debut and co-written by Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, and T.S. Nowlin. It is the sequel to the 2013 film Pacific Rim by Guillermo del Toro. It stars John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, and Adria Arjona, with Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, and Rinko Kikuchi returning in their roles from the original film. It is scheduled to be released on March 23, 2018, by Universal Pictures worldwide. The film will be released in 2D, Real D 3D, IMAX 3D, and IMAX release.








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Fogo, Cape Verde

Native name: Dja r’ Fogu, Isla ko Apulyo
Nickname: Ilha do vulcão
(island of the volcano)
Locator map of Fogo, Cape Verde.png
Location Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates 14.9500°N 24.3425°WCoordinates: 14.9500°N 24.3425°W
Area 476 km2 (184 sq mi)
Highest elevation 2,829 m (9,281 ft)
Highest point Pico do Fogo
Cape Verde
Concelhos(Municipalities) Mosteiros, Santa Catarina do Fogo, São Filipe
Largest settlement São Filipe (pop. Sao Filipe)
Population 37,200
Fogo is located in Atlantic Ocean


Location of Fogo Island in the Atlantic Ocean

Fogo (Portuguese for “fire“) is an island in the Sotavento group of Cape Verde. It reaches the highest altitude of all the islands in Cape Verde, rising to 2,829 metres (9,281 feet) above sea level at the summit of its active volcano, Pico do Fogo.



The prehistory of the island had a very large eruption around 73,000 years ago that collapsed the eastern side into the ocean and produced a 170-metre (560-foot) megatsunami that struck Santiago Island.[1] The mountain elevation was between 3,500 and 4,000 metres (11,500 and 13,100 feet) tall.

Fogo was first sighted in 1456 by Vicente Dias along with Alvise Cadamosto and Antoniotto Usodimare, Fogo was fully discovered in 1460 by a Genovese captain António Noli on behalf of Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese Crown, and was first called São Filipe, meaning Saint Philip in Portuguese. It gained its current fiery name before the 1680 eruption, since a madrigal “The Andalusian Merchant” by Thomas Weelkes, who died in 1623, sings “how strangely Fogo burns, amidst an ocean full of flying fishes”.[2] It also appeared in an 1598 map titled Insulae Capitis Viridis which is now at the National Library of France.[3]

There are now two cities in the island: São Filipe and Mosteiros.

The Portuguese settled the island in 1500. Emigration started in 1850, mainly to North America. The 1910 civil revolution in Portugal drew aristocracy and large land-owners back to Portugal and left civilians behind. A small museum on Fogo explains many of these connections.

Volcanic eruptions have occurred in 1680, 1769, 1785, 1799, 1847, 1852, 1857, 1951, 1995, and 2014.[citation needed] The first recorded eruption was in 1680 in which was the last time it erupted from the top, it devastated much of the island, many inhabitants fled to the nearby island of Brava, the eruption continued for a few years and would act as a natural lighthouse for ships. The black color of the soil from the previous eruptions are still seen today. The 1769 eruption was the last time it erupted from the top of the peak. The 1995 eruption began on April 2–3 and nearby residents were evacuated, it was preceded by small earthquakes which began six days prior to the first eruption lava, it intensified on April 18 with large, explosive bursts, by morning, the activity returned to lava fountaining. In 2014, another eruption occurred from near the same vent as the last, the population was evacuated again, it was slightly greater and much of Portela would be destroyed and much of Bangaeira had suffered minor damages though the lava went to the area, a part of the road was destroyed.

São Filipe became the seat of the municipality of Fogo in 1854 which existed until 1991, before it administered Brava. Its first president was El-Rei Márcio Cardoso, later he was succeeded by his brother El-Rei Carlos Cardoso III (The Strong).


One of the southernmost islands in Cape Verde, Fogo is located between the islands of Santiago and Brava. Practically the whole island is a stratovolcano that has been periodically active: it last erupted in 2014. The largest volcanic feature is a nine kilometres (5.6 miles) caldera, which has walls one kilometre (0.62 miles) high. The caldera has a breach in its eastern rim, and in the centre a resurgent dome with an ash cone that forms the highest point of the island: its summit is about one hundred m higher than the surrounding caldera wall. Lava from the volcano has reached the eastern coast of the island within historical times.

Two small villages, Portela and Bangaeira, exist in the floor of the caldera (Chã das Caldeiras); the residents were evacuated during eruptions.

The island’s main city is São Filipe, near which is an airport. Fogo is largely an agricultural island. It has fertile land in the south-west with a slope of about ten to fifteen degrees. The north and the east are steeper. The island rises abruptly from the ocean, which can be as deep as 5,300 metres (17,400 feet) at a distance of five kilometres (3.1 miles) from the shoreline. In the south and west parts of the island, there are numerous hills and small mountains that were formed out of different small volcanoes such as Achada Furna, Monte Largo, Monte Grande and Lagariça, tiny small underwater hills that were volcanoes surrounding the islands are rarely founded. The exception is to the west, where the island is connected to another seamount; further west in Brava.

The steep slopes in the north-eastern part are green and grassy all year round. The rest of the mountain is dry and barren, its dry creeks and streams are dry washes.

São Filipe’s buildings use classic Portuguese colonial architecture. Mosteiros in the north-east is the island’s second most important town.

A violent eruption took place in 1680, forming a new cone that was visible over hundreds of kilometres but lasted only for a few years. It was during this eruption that the island earned its name.


Endemic plants in the garden of the Museu Municipal in São Filipe

Losma, an endemic medicinal plant.

There are various endemic plants on Fogo:[4]


Being one stratovolcano and extremely mountainous, this island has quite a diverse climate and many various microclimates. Along the coast Fogo has a moderate dry tropical climate according to the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system; higher on the slopes (~ 800 metres or 2,600 feet A.S.L.) it has a semiarid mild tropical climate (Köppen–Geiger Bsh_ with very balanced temperatures year round; above 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) it has a cool highland subtropical steppe climate (Köppen–Geiger BskL). The average annual temperature on the coast is about 23–25 °C (73–77 °F), decreasing to some 12–14 °C (54–57 °F) on the highest ground.

There can be remarkably cool weather in the interior, with the warmer wet season starting in July and ending in November, with the colder dry season starting in December and ending in May. Drought, the major climate risk of Cape Verdean islands, is much less pronounced on Fogo, due to the mountain’s ability to gain moisture from clouds. During the mid-nineteenth century, Fogo suffered from severe droughts. Death from starvation was common in the population as of 1832.[5]

[hide]Climate data for Bangaeira, centre of the island, 1,550 to 1,650 metres (5,090 to 5,410 feet) ASL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 14.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.7
Average low °C (°F) 8.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 11
Source: Climate-Data.ORG[6]
[hide]Climate data for Achada Fuma, centre-south of the island, 850 to 1,050 metres (2,790 to 3,440 feet) ASL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 19.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.7
Average low °C (°F) 13.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 3
Source: Climate-Data.ORG[7]
[hide]Climate data for São Filipe, far west of the island, 20 to 180 metres (66 to 591 feet) ASL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.3
Average low °C (°F) 19.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 3
Source: Climate-Data.ORG[8]


As of 1832, Fogo had an estimated human population of 10,000.[5] The official language of Fogo is Portuguese; yet mostly Fogo Creoleis spoken. According to the 2013 national demographic census, Fogo was the fourth most populous island in the Cape Verde archipelago.


The economy of the island is based on agriculture and fishing, with coffee and wine among the main products. In the 1830s, Fogo’s wine was described as being “very superior.” [5] Due to its volcanic soil Fogo’s coffee also has a good reputation. The island has experienced a substantial diaspora. Many households live off remittances from emigrants in the U.S. and in European countries (Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Italy). Fogo fosters strong connections to Rhode Island and to Massachusetts (U.S.), where many people with Cape Verdean origin live.

Tourism is steadily becoming popular. The volcano (allowed only accompanied by a local guide) is the island’s major attraction but many visitors also come to see relatives. The historic city of São Filipe and Chã das Caldeiras in the volcanic crater receive the bulk of visitors. No great tourism facilities exist, but there are small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts and local guides offer hiking tours (e.g. Creole Guide with some proposed hiking tours and impressions)..

Administrative divisionsThe island is divided in three municipalities, which are subdivided into civil parishes:

TransportationThe most notable route on the island is the Fogo Circular Road (Rodovía Circular do Fogo) which is EN1-FG01 and passes through the island capital, Cova Figueira, Mosteiros and Ribeira do Ilhéu and the road linking the capital and the island’s port (EN2-FG01). Lesser roads include the road (EN3-FG01) linking Ponta Verde, Lomba, Achada Furna and Cova Figueira running up to 1,100 above sea level, the road connecting Fonte Aleixo, Achada Furna and Chã das Caldeiras (EN3-FG05), the northernmost terminus almost entirely affected by the 2014-15 eruption and the São Filipe-São Lourenço Lomba route (EN3-FG02).

Fogo has the southwest of the country’s only airport (São Filipe Airport) in the island capital which also serves Brava (with the exception of from 1992 to 2004), it serves just three other islands, Santiago São Vicente and Boa Vista. Fogo once had another airfield northwest of Mosteiros but has been closed. It also has its main port located at Porto de Vale Cavaleiros (Knight’s Valley) just 4 km northwest of the island capital. It was renovated and expanded in 2000 and has a depth of 5 metres. The port handles the island’s ferry services and serves the nearby islands of Brava and Fogo, from Santiago, it also accesses other parts of Cape Verde, the Praia-Fogo-Brava ferry route runs every day of the year.[9] Since 2011, the Kriola ferry is the only few boats serving Brava and primarily serves with that island than with Santiago-Brava.[10]

Fogo has many yasis running the routes between São Filipe and Mosteiros, São Filipe and Chã das Calderas, however unlike many other islands, these buses all depart at roughly the same time every day, and despite the presence of multiple vehicles running each route, passengers can find themselves stranded if they do not board a vehicle during the limited departure window. Yasis tend to depart Mosteiros headed to São Filipe around 6am, and tend to Depart São Filipe headed to Chã around noon.

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Studying Volcanoes in Cabo Verde

Cape Verde - Cape Verde Islands


Cape Verde: Volcanoes in the Atlantic

The Cape Verde Islands were created by magma rising through the ocean, which is why they never were part of the African continent. (Certain animal species are not present on the islands as a result).

The eastern islands were the first to rise up out of the Atlantic and are therefore the oldest (Sal, Boavista and Maio). They are considered extinct.


Volcanoes on Cape Verde, Cape Verde Islands
Central crater with fumaroles

But there are also clear signs of past volcanism here. For example, numerous craters can still be identified on these islands and the crater floor of the salt pans near Pedra de Lume on Sal has a temperature that is very warm to hot. This can easily be felt when entering the basin. The “heating” of the salt pan floor can probably be attributed to the volcano’s residual heat. The (Pico de) Fogo on the island of the same name – whose last eruption in 1995 created the Pequeno Fogo – is the only active volcano at the moment. This was a flank eruption, which means that the main crater did not eject any lava; instead, it comes from the Pequeno Fogo (Little Fogo) that was formed as a parasitic volcano. You can see an impressive film about it at the municipal museum (Museu Municipal) in São Filipe on Fogo and discover visible volcanic manifestations in the main crater. Hot sulphur steam escapes from fumaroles (hot steam emissions) in light whitish-yellow hillside regions. This can also be smelled when the wind blows in the “right“ direction (has an odour like rotten eggs).


There are also hot spots at Pequeno Fogo with fumarole activity. It is advisable to just hike around here with shoes that have good soles. The ground is very hot in places!

In 2005, volcanologists of the Leibnitz Institute in Kiel discovered a volcano field to the south of the Santo Antão Island with some seamounts. These are undersea volcanoes that have not (yet) reached the water’s surface and will cause the creation of a new Cape Verde island in the future. This volcano field was named the Charles Darwin Volcano Field in honour of Charles Darwin.

Pequeno Fogo with hot spots (hot spots are sulphur deposits, sometimes with fumaroles)

But seamounts are not just located in the most recently discovered volcano field. Some are also located in the surrounding area of the other islands, which make them an invisible component of the archipelago.

There is also a warm spot in the ocean on the north coast of the Santo Antão island that is not heated by a fumarole and does not have a thermal spring escaping from the ocean floor. More precise information on this is not available and still requires scientific research.

Almost all of the islands have interesting rock formations that were created by the volcanism. You can marvel at the most impressive rock deformations and layers on Santo Antão and Fogo.

No one can predict when the next eruption will occur and where (not only on Fogo).