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Deep Summer Academy 2018: A Mission to Mars

29 July 2018

For the past few days, I was delivering the course "A Mission to Mars" for the second time as part for DEEP Summer Academy. We started with talking about the different disciplines that make up space systems engineering, and then reviewed the Engineering Design Process. By reviewing forces in space, specially gravity, we were able to learn more about orbits in space.  We also had our first guest speaker, Adam Vigneron, from the European Space Operations Centre (ESA ESOC) sharing what he does with us.

The next day we learned more about rockets and space launch, which meant selecting a space launch system for our mission to Mars. We also studied the structure of crewed spacecraft, and how target sites for space missions are selected.  We had our second guest, Stefan Siarov, who joined us to discuss some of the activities at the European Astronaut Center (ESA EAC) and we followed that by discussing the effects of the space environment on spacecraft crews.

With that, we now managed to discuss the space environment, habitability and some of the changes in the human body. Our third guest, Adrianos Golemis, discussed his work as a flight surgeon at the European Astronaut Centre (ESA EAC) and his experience at Concordia Station in Antarctica. We then prepared for our analogue mission, by performing mission planning.

Day four proceeded with discussing space psychology, with our external guest Tajana Lucic providing an excellent overview of the topic. We spent the afternoon on the analogue mission itself, were our two teams had to scout the surface of Mars and gather samples, with the ground team monitoring them. While we did lose on astronaut, at least we got some samples!

After a debrief on the mission, we concluded with discussing  space law and policy with the help of our last guest, Chris Beauregard. We closed with a review of the content, and a discussion on the challenges of going to Mars.