SWPS University has partnered with EXORiON Foundation in EXO17 Mars analog research project that will be conducted under the auspices of the NASA Human Research Program, at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, in March 2017. EXO17, the first project manned entirely by a Polish crew, is the initiative of a SWPS University graduate and co-founder of EXORiON Foundation, Jakub Falaciński, psychologist and inventor.
EXO17 will be organized as an analog mission to develop team composition strategies for long duration space exploration. Analog missions are simulations of real space missions, conducted in an environment resembling the actual conditions encountered by astronauts in space. In this case, the Utah desert offers a geological environment similar to the surface of Mars. Additionally, the research station and the equipment mirror real space conditions. Analog missions are organized to develop operating procedures for future missions in isolated habitats, to conduct experiments and test selected equipment.
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During the project, the researchers will conduct a series of experiments, including an observation of human-robot interaction, a comparison of geological phenomena in the Utah desert and on Mars, and an assessment of a Mars rover as an autonomous platform and astronaut’s supporting tool. They will also practice delivery of medical emergency interventions and test some equipment, such as modular analog space suits, air filters, heart monitoring halters and a water-saving fog shower.
St. Christopher Modular Space Suit
The EXO17 crew will test the functionality of an analog modular space suit designed in cooperation with School of Form in Poznań. It is the first space suit designed and produced in Poland. Thanks to the modular construction, the functional parts of the garment, such as pockets, can be added or removed according to the needs of the crew members. For example, a geologist would need different pockets, to carry tools and perform various tasks, than a rover operator. Data collected during these tests will be used to improve the design of the space suit for future missions.
Psychologist on Mars
Analog missions create an excellent environment for psychological research. A cognitive psychologist, Hanna Bednarek, Ph.D., Associate Professor at SWPS University, will conduct psychological assessments of the crew, before, and after the mission. She will diagnose chronotypes (i.e. the individual’s propensity for sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period) of the crew members and will monitor their mood and stress levels. She will also test the function of crew members’ working memory at various times of the day.
Additionally, one phase of the research project will take place in the Mars analog habitat in Utah. The observation of the crew members during the mission will allow to test the hypothesis that the morning vs. the evening chronotype impacts the executive functions of the working memory. This part of research is especially important, because effective functioning of the working memory supports more complex cognitive processes, such as thinking, planning or decision making. The goal of the project is to collect information that will help to develop optimal individual work schedules for members of future missions of this type.
Moreover, the mission will allow to test styles of leadership of the crew members, team composition, behavior in isolation and in difficult conditions as well as human-robot interaction, including the anthropomorphisation of the mission robot.
"Space psychology research is of huge significance, because the frequency and the role of man-manned long time space travel will be increasing in the coming years", says Jakub Falaciński.
FOG 2.0 – Water Saving Shower
The lack of water in space presents a considerable challenge for space exploration projects. Jakub Falaciński, social psychologist, graduate of SWPS University and inventor, has designed a mobile shower FOG that requires just two cups of condensed water to wash a person. During the mission, the crew will test whether it is possible to effectively wash a human body using water mist. Successful results would help to solve the problem of limited water resources in space and on earth, in areas such as desert habitats or disaster zones.
“People think that the money spent on space programs disappears into thin air. It is quite the opposite. A lot of tools, materials or procedures that we use every day have been developed in the course of space research. We want to show that our ideas, though they might seem out of this world, are rooted in reality and can be applied here, on Earth, in business, industry or in difficult conditions”, explains Jakub Falaciński.
EXO – Experimental Objectives Program
EXO17 is the first stage of a cyclical EXO (Experimental Objectives) research program focused on mounting analog missions to conduct various experiments that eventually will enable a manned mission to Mars. The next stages of the program will be conducted in the Foundation’s own mobile habitat in Iceland (planned for 2019) and on Spitsbergen in Norway (planned for 2021). So far, experiments in a mobile habitat have never been conducted anywhere in the world.
The EXORiON Foundation would like to involve students and researchers to work on specific projects for the upcoming missions. SWPS Unviersity’s School of Form, School of Ideas and the Management Program present a lot of potential for future cooperation. The Foundation plans to organize a design competition for students of School of Form, which will provide the winner with an opportunity to join the crew in the EXO19 analog mission in Iceland.
Natalia Zalewska, Ph.D. – Crew Commander
Natalia conducted her doctoral research at the Space Research Center, Polish Academy of Sciences (CBK PAN), where she currently works. She also cooperates with the Aviation Institute in Warsaw. Her research interests include: infrared spectroscopy, geology of Mars analogs, and the origins and presence of water in our solar system. In 2015, as the crew geologist, she participated in a Mars analog mission, at the Mars Desert Research Station, in Utah.
Jakub Falacinski – Executive Officer
social psychologist, inventor
Since a young age, Jakub dreamed of space exploration. While studying at SWPS University, he founded the Aviation and Space Psychology Research Club. In 2015, he participated in a simulated mission to Mars, AMADEE-15, organized by the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), where he tested his FOG shower for astronauts.
Karolina Zawieska, Ph.D. – Green Hub Officer, Human-Robot Interaction Officer
sociologist, specializing in social robotics
Karolina received her Doctoral Degree in Social Robotics from the University College Dublin (UCD). She works at the Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements (PIAP). Her research interests include human-robot interaction and anthropomorphisation of robots. She is also active in the field of roboethics, especially in the context of the United Nations debate on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems – LAWS.
Krzysztof Jędrzejak – Press Officer
media, account executive, partnership developer
Krzysztof is responsible for documenting and reporting on the first entirely Polish analog Mars mission EXO17.
Michał Kazaniecki – Crew Engineer
student at the Division of Automatic Control and Robotic Drives, Warsaw University of Technology
Michał is a member of the student Astronautics Research Club at the Warsaw University of Technology. He was part of the team that designed and produced Mars rover Ares. He participated in the European Rover Challenge (2015 and 2016) and in the University Rover Challenge (2016).
Piotr Szetelnicki – Health Officer
emergency medicine physician
Piotr began his emergency medicine career as an ambulance doctor. He also served as Head of several Emergency Units and Coordinator of Emergency Medicine Services for the Lower Silesia Province. Currently, he combines his love of flying with emergency medicine, while working for Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).
- EXORiON Foundation
- SWPS University
- Warsaw University of Technology
- Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer Management (CZIiTT) at Warsaw University of Technology
- Military University of Technology in Warsaw (WAT)
- Institute of Aviation in Warsaw
- Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements
- Helicopter Emergency Medical Service
- Łódzki Dystrykt Zbrojeniowy (Defense Industrial Cluster in the city of Łódź)