Mars Audio Log #3 – NASA

Mars Audio Log #3

From Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars, discover the world of human spaceflight with NASA every week on the official podcast of the Johnson Area Heart in Houston, Texas. Take heed to in-depth conversations with the astronauts, scientists and engineers who make it potential.

On episode 311, the CHAPEA crew provides an replace of their third month of a one-year keep in a simulated Mars habitat, and Dr. Scott Smith discusses the crew’s dietary wants for the analog mission. That is the third audio log of a month-to-month collection. Recordings have been despatched from the CHAPEA crew all through September 2023. The dialog with Dr. Smith was recorded October 4, 2023

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Host (Gary Jordan): Houston, we now have a podcast! Welcome to the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Area Heart, Episode 311, “Mars Audio Log #3.” I’m Gary Jordan, I’ll be your host right this moment. On this podcast, we convey within the specialists, scientists, engineers, astronauts, all to let you realize what’s happening on this planet of human spaceflight and extra. We’re again with one other audio log from the CHAPEA crew. CHAPEA, or Crew Well being and Efficiency Exploration Analog, is a year-long analog examine in a habitat right here proper on Earth that’s simulating very carefully what it will be wish to stay on Mars. We’re fortunate sufficient to have month-to-month check-ins with the crew Commander Kelly Haston; Flight Engineer, Ross Brockwell; Medical Officer, Nathan Jones; and Science Officer, Anca Selariu. To fulfill the wants of becoming in with this analog and simulating important communication delays between Earth and Mars that prohibit us from having a stay dialog, the crew is recording an audio log based mostly on questions that we draft for them. On this episode, we’ll play the recording of their third month within the habitat, which is right here on the NASA Johnson Area Heart, and was recorded in September 2023.

We’ll even be bringing on a particular visitor to be taught much more about CHAPEA. When you’ve been tuning into these logs, you realize that they discuss rather a lot about meals. One of many scientific targets of this analog is best understanding a Mars meals system, however there are lots of layers to that. One layer is vitamin, and one of many scientists in search of knowledge of this specific mission is Dr. Scott Smith, NASA nutritionist, CHAPEA co-investigator, and supervisor of dietary biochemistry right here on the Johnson Area Heart. So with that, let’s be taught from the CHAPEA crew on how they’re doing and Scott Smith on the CHAPEA vitamin science. Let’s get into it.


Host: Alright, first is CHAPEA Mission Commander, Kelly Haston.

Kelly Haston: Hello, my title is Kelly Haston. I’m the commander of CHAPEA 1, a one-year-long Mars analog mission out of Johnson Area Heart in Houston. Lots of people ask us how issues are moving into right here particularly as we’re now at day 85 of a 378-day-long mission. And to be trustworthy, they’re truly going actually, very well. So nicely that I believe we’ve taken even our colleagues exterior of the habitat unexpectedly. So the crew is definitely in tremendously good spirits and actually simply shifting alongside very well, having set a very nice tempo for ourselves. So actually, actually blissful and settled in right here in our habitat and doing nice for the mission up to now.

Lots of people additionally ask what sort of highlights or actions we do particularly within the final month. So, as I discussed, we’re in day 85, so we’re at about two and a half months proper now. And this month was much more about repeating issues. So what we’re truly doing now could be shifting by means of actions that we’ve already skilled, however doing them for the second, or in some instances even third or fourth time. So we’re actually honing in on find out how to truly do them very well. And I believe that one of many highlights of all of that’s that the crew has gotten much more environment friendly at performing our actions and our duties.  So we’re actually getting issues carried out shortly proper now, and we’re actually having fun with kind of attending to know one another’s kinds even higher. And simply actually understanding find out how to talk on tough duties corresponding to an EVA, the place you could be exterior on the Martian floor and should be walked by means of a very advanced technical kind of problem, like constructing one thing with none instructions—visible instructions—and your inside, you realize, mission management individual is principally serving to you stroll by means of the steps and telling you what to do. In order that’s truly been actually nice to know what a colleague is definitely attempting to inform you sight unseen at instances. In order that’s been actually, actually enjoyable.

Kelly Haston: However having mentioned that, as a result of we’re truly beginning to repeat issues, we’re actually settling into routine and I confessed that in August, I believed we have been settling right into a routine, however now that we’re in September, I actually do notice that, you realize, we’re moving into this lengthy haul.  I’m an ultra-runner and it’s actually an ultra-experience the place you actually should settle in and just remember to’re taking good care of your self and actually checking packing containers and ensuring that every thing is taken care of as a result of we’re actually beginning to see that settling in of “we’re going to be right here for fairly some time nonetheless.” We nonetheless have many months left of the mission. So everybody’s simply getting actually, you realize, cemented into their course of. The workforce has actually good course of now, and as I mentioned, we’re simply actually environment friendly and actually having fun with that and actually thriving on it in, for my part.

Now we have had numerous kind of enjoyable issues occur. And possibly the enjoyable indisputable fact that I actually like to consider dwelling on Mars that I’d need to share with individuals on Earth is the truth that, as I discussed, we do these EVAs, or extravehicular actions, and to be trustworthy, they’re actually enjoyable for probably the most half and satisfies that urge to get exterior as a result of we’re inside our habitat on a regular basis in any other case. So I shocked somebody not too long ago by truly saying that once I go exterior, particularly in digital actuality, which is a really stunning setting that has been constructed for us to imitate the sense of being on Mars and truly strolling and doing completely different duties on Mars, once I do have a down second, I typically spend time wanting on the Solar in digital actuality. And that Solar from the floor of Mars actually kind of simply provides me a way of peace and, and wonderment at the place I’m at. And regardless that it’s digital actuality and I do know that, I believe that that’s truly one in every of my enjoyable information is how a lot kind of I take from going exterior of our habitat and doing this stuff regardless that we’re nonetheless in a confined house and never seeing different, different individuals apart from the crew.  So my enjoyable truth is definitely that I truly apparently actually love being on Mars.

Kelly Haston: That being mentioned, I actually miss Earth and sure elements of Earth. So I actually miss my companion, my household, and my pals, they usually’ve been actually super at maintaining me involved with them by means of e-mail, video, audio recordings. However you possibly can’t actually assist however miss the individuals probably the most, you realize, there’s issues that you simply may miss or being, you realize, doing sure issues, consuming sure issues, however to be trustworthy, it’s actually the people who I yearn for once I’m, you realize, having a day the place I simply actually wish to see anyone and my companion pops out in fact. And likewise my household, who I miss rather a lot and take into consideration rather a lot and fear about rather a lot. In order that’s in all probability the factor that I’d miss probably the most.

(From left) CHAPEA Mission 1 Flight Engineer, Ross Brockwell; Commander, Kelly Haston, and Medical officer, Nathan Jones set up decorations inside the CHAPEA habitat for two crew members who celebrated their birthdays in September.
(From left) CHAPEA Mission 1 Flight Engineer, Ross Brockwell; Commander, Kelly Haston; and Medical Officer, Nathan Jones, arrange decorations contained in the CHAPEA habitat for 2 crew members who celebrated their birthdays in September. Credit: NASA

Curiously, I’m not lacking the outside or meals a horrible quantity. And once more, possibly that’s as a result of that setting that we now have that we go to to carry out our duties exterior is, is actually adequate proper now for my sense of wellbeing. However we’ve additionally had some actually particular actions this month. So we truly had two crew birthdays in September already inside every week of one another. So the crew spent a while main as much as the primary birthday adorning the habitat with some particular decorations that had been left for us by the skin crew earlier than the mission began. And so we have been in a position to put up some particular issues they usually additionally gave us a birthday cake package. So we had an area pound cake that we have been allowed to decorate up. In order that was truly a very particular occasion for each individuals. Every night time we had a particular meal and it was simply very nice to have fun and provides items to one in every of your crew mates. And I believe all people simply actually loved these evenings. After which afterward we both like performed a recreation or watched a particular present collectively. However I’d say that that felt actually, very nice to be celebrated. I used to be one of many birthdays, so to be celebrated by my crew mates, but additionally get the chance to have fun one in every of our crew mates and actually make a particular night time for them was improbable.

Kelly Haston, CHAPEA Mission 1 commander and Anca Selariu, science officer, spend some free time working on a puzzle.
Kelly Haston, CHAPEA Mission 1 commander and Anca Selariu, science officer, spend some free time engaged on a puzzle. Credit: NASA

Kelly Haston:  Arising within the subsequent month or so, we’re anticipating to get our crops pretty quickly and I believe that the crew is tremendously enthusiastic about contemporary meals, but additionally about rising issues. And I believe the rising issues truly even outweigh the contemporary meals trigger most of us are doing fairly nicely consuming the meals that’s offered, which is superb. However the thought of having the ability to develop one thing are likely to one thing, you realize, kind of have it as one thing that you simply give care to, that’s I believe going to be very thrilling. And likewise to see them develop and to have the ability to harvest them and, and actually see how that augments our food regimen. I believe we’re actually enthusiastic about that. On high of that, we now have many different actually cool duties that we both know a bit of bit about or will probably be a shock to us, however we’re actually having fun with all of our actions and we’re wanting ahead to that chance to develop meals inside the environment as nicely. So every thing’s nice right here in Dune Alpha and the crew of CHAPEA 1 is doing improbable. Thanks once more in your curiosity.

Host: Alright, that was Commander Kelly Haston kicking us off. Very fascinating to listen to her expertise. I discovered it notably fascinating that she was speaking about being right here on Mars and speaking about individuals of Earth. Her perspective of, you realize, simply being in there for, she talked about, two and a half months, very bought on being part of the CHAPEA mission. So very, very cool to listen to. She talked about among the crops which can be coming. We hope to have a particular visitor to assist us to speak extra about that. However a part of the meals complement for the CHAPEA mission is in fact their prepackaged and pre-delivered meals. However they’ll even have an opportunity to develop and eat among the meals. And naturally that’s a part of the CHAPEA mission. So we now have to hoping to have a visitor to speak extra about that exact system later. Once more, on this episode we’ll be speaking with Scott Smith, the NASA nutritionist about among the meals that’s already there and naturally analyzing the meals, the entire meals complement of the CHAPEA mission. And naturally I believe the very last thing is blissful birthday to Kelly Haston who simply celebrated it this previous month. Okay, subsequent is CHAPEA mission Flight Engineer, Ross Brockwell.

Ross Brockwell: Good day, that is Ross Brockwell. I’m the flight engineer on CHAPEA Mission 1 answering a couple of questions as an replace on our mission from Houston We Have a Podcast. So first query, “how’s every thing going?” It’s going nice, actually. You already know, typically we take a look at the numbers and it looks as if an extended option to go however weeks are flying by, issues are going nice. We’re managing to have a fairly good time I believe, and getting rather a lot carried out.

“Inform us about among the highlights of the actions and duties over the past month.” Nicely the journeys exterior, the EVAs, are all the time enjoyable. Nearly all the time enjoyable. So each the true world and the VR EVAs, they’re nice. They’re actually fascinating. Exploring the floor is actually superb. Then September we’ve had two birthdays truly, so we adorned the hab a bit and had a pair events, a pair particular meals, in order that’s been nice too.

Ross Brockwell, CHAPEA Mission 1 flight engineer, celebrates his birthday inside the habitat.
Ross Brockwell, CHAPEA Mission 1 flight engineer, celebrates his birthday contained in the habitat. Credit: NASA

Do you end up in a routine roughly?” Yeah, roughly. You already know, the times are fairly nicely scheduled, so all of our actions are lined up. However issues keep fairly nicely combined up with the science and the upkeep and the coaching and the health and all the opposite issues we now have to do. You already know, we now have some free time for some enjoyable or our private initiatives as nicely.

Ross Brockwell: “Identify one enjoyable truth about dwelling on Mars that you simply’d just like the individuals of Earth to know.” So I used to be occupied with what to say to this and I believed I would discuss a bit concerning the communication delay. So, you realize, with the thousands and thousands, a whole lot of thousands and thousands of miles between Earth and Mars, there’s a communication delay and that’s being simulated on this mission. Nevertheless it’s probably not that easy as a result of it’s actually an info queue.  So your communications are despatched they usually take one thing like 20 minutes to journey, however the knowledge has a knowledge stream that’s restricted. So there’s a queue of knowledge. And so what you may suppose is a 20-minute delay can typically be for much longer if there are giant packets of knowledge that should shuttle. So it varies rather a lot. So it’s not less than 20 minutes, however you need to be fairly strategic about what you ship and when, as a result of sure messages want precedence and sure items of information want a very long time to be despatched. So the communication delay is actually fascinating a part of the mission that we’re studying rather a lot about.

Ross Brockwell: “Is there something from Earth that I’m particularly lacking this month?” Nicely, mine was a kind of birthdays, so yeah, I miss my family members in fact. And I’m additionally lacking sunshine and the ocean and train exterior. You already know, I miss Earth.

“Any particular crew bonding actions?” Yeah, there’s a couple of reveals we’ve type of gotten into collectively. Now we have a fairly good library, so we’re watching some issues collectively and we now have an ongoing poker recreation that’s been numerous enjoyable. Now we have a couple of video video games we share, so we both type of play them collectively, taking turns or there’s a few issues we now have we are able to truly play collectively concurrently. So it’s been numerous enjoyable. And there are a couple of books that we’re all studying in flip, so we focus on them and, you realize, plans and discussions round that. In order that’s been good. “What’s arising within the subsequent month?” So there will probably be extra of the identical, however we do have some drone stuff this month. It’s all the time enjoyable. We’re wanting ahead to that. There’ll be a couple of extra EVAs and you realize, possibly some surprises, so we’ll see. Alright, nicely thanks rather a lot.

A birthday cake decorated by the crew to celebrate Ross Brockwell's birthday inside the CHAPEA habitat. Credits: NASA
A birthday cake adorned by the crew to have fun Ross Brockwell’s birthday contained in the CHAPEA habitat. Credit: NASA

Host: Once more, that was Ross Brockwell, the flight engineer for CHAPEA. He talked about a few issues. Certainly one of them was that point delay. Very fascinating factor to think about. They’re simulating it, in fact. The CHAPEA habitat is right here on the Johnson Area Heart, however a part of the system for speaking with the flight management groups, which truly are positioned proper exterior of the habitat, they construct in these communications delays. So it’s very fascinating to listen to some issues that they’ve to think about that possibly we simply wouldn’t in our day-to-day lives simply engaged on a pc right here on Earth, how massive of a file is the factor you need to ship and contemplating how lengthy it’s going to truly take to ship it, what number of you need to queue, and what number of of these information you need to ship at a time. All issues to think about as a part of the workload that’s a part of the CHAPEA mission. And I believe we simply discovered our different birthday, blissful birthday to Ross Brockwell. Okay. The final two crew members recorded their audio log collectively, however first we’re going to talk with Scott Smith concerning the vitamin science of CHAPEA.

Scott Smith, thanks a lot for coming again on Houston We Have a Podcast.

Scott Smith: Certain factor. Glad to be right here.

Host: Hey, I’m glad to have the ability to be talking with you. We had you on for Episode 43 again in 2018. I occur to be out city that point. So we had Dan Hewitt, who did the interview with you. And we’ve requested him a few instances trigger we do these anniversary episodes yearly, we type of mirror on the yr earlier than. A number of years in a row, he talked about that you simply have been his favourite interview. It’s an excellent episode, however I admire you approaching once more to speak about CHAPEA.

Scott Smith: Thanks.

Host: Simply because it was so way back, 2018, you type of described NASA vitamin, biochemistry, what you do right here at NASA. Simply to refresh our listeners, are you able to speak about, what your function is right here at NASA?

Manager of Nutritional Biochemistry, Dr. Scott Smith.
Supervisor of Dietary Biochemistry, Dr. Scott Smith. Credit: NASA

Scott Smith: Nicely, once more, I’m blissful to be right here and I admire the invitation. So I work in what we name the Dietary Biochemistry Lab. And what which means is that we do vitamin. We aren’t the Meals Lab. We don’t do something with the tang or the meals or something like that. We do vitamin. So our job is to grasp the dietary necessities and what astronauts want whereas they’re up in house. Every thing from power, protein, carbohydrates, nutritional vitamins, minerals, you title it. Attempting to grasp what must be within the meals that they eat, after which we additionally take a look at the precise crew members, what they’re consuming and their physiological outcomes after they get again. So are they consuming sufficient? They’re sustaining their weight. Are there bone loss points or muscle loss points which have vitamin elements that we can assist to maintain them more healthy?

Then we do analysis to attempt to perceive how we are able to use vitamin as a option to mitigate among the unfavorable results of spaceflight. I’m clearly a nutritionist. I’m a really biased one, and I’ll inform you that each system in your physique that you simply like relies upon upon vitamin. So in case you’re frightened about your bones or your muscle tissue or your coronary heart or your nervous system or your sleep or your interactions with different individuals, all these issues rely on vitamin. So we think about vitamin a cross-cutting science, and we dabble a bit of bit in all of these components with astronauts, attempting to maintain them wholesome.

Host: Proper. And I do know numerous your work in most up-to-date years has been with Worldwide Area Station, so your interfaces with the crew, proper? You’re understanding their wants, you’re learning them, clearly they’re those which can be the recipients of the vitamin. You’re working with the meals scientists to make suggestions based mostly on vitamin. So that you’re working type of throughout the completely different applications, completely different stakeholders, to attempt to discover the correct complement of vitamin?

Scott Smith: Completely. And sure, proper now most of our work is with station crews. We do a dietary evaluation profile on the station crews that earlier than and after flight we accumulate blood and urine and take a look at their dietary standing to ensure we ship them up as wholesome as could be. And that after they come again, if there’s any points, we assist work with the rehabilitation workforce to get them again to full well being as shortly as potential. However we’re additionally working with the Artemis applications to have a look at meals and vitamin necessities for what we’re going to feed these people. After which we’re additionally wanting towards Mars of what do we have to do from a meals and vitamin standpoint to maintain crews wholesome on these final missions.

Host: Proper. Yeah. You’re considering forward and also you’ve been doing simply the station stuff for fairly a while. I imply, we’re recording this now throughout Expedition 70. Would you say that the dietary complement is kind of the identical or have you ever been tweaking issues over time?

Scott Smith: I don’t find out about tweaking, however there have been adjustments over time. The meals system we’re feeding people proper now could be higher than it was. Round 10 years in the past, there was a push to scale back the sodium content material of the meals. They usually reformulated I believe nearly every thing and dropped the sodium content material of the meals system by about 40% in order that we went from feeding people an excessive amount of sodium to a good quantity of sodium. We’re additionally working lately with the Meals Lab to reinforce the meals system and make it even higher. So get extra fruit and veggies in there, extra sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, and different meals to attempt to make it more healthy.

So the meals we’re offering crews is best right this moment than it was in 2000. And to a level, I believe the mentality of the astronauts has modified a bit of bit over time. And I believe we’re seeing generational shifts, and crews as of late are extra attuned with the truth that vitamin’s necessary for well being and are available in in search of ways in which they’ll use vitamin to keep up their well being on Earth, after which preserve and do the identical factor throughout flight.

Host: Received astronauts who’re on board, who’re keen to work with you very carefully. That’s superior.

Scott Smith: Precisely.

Host: Now we’re going to be speaking about CHAPEA in fact, however simply to remain on station for yet another second is to actually type of perceive the variations, proper? Desirous about what we now have and what we do for vitamin on the Worldwide Area Station, why is CHAPEA, this analog, serving to us higher to grasp that meals complement somewhat than simply sticking with the Worldwide Area Station? You and I have been chatting a bit of bit earlier than this, there’s something that’s distinctive with CHAPEA that permits you to have a greater understanding of deep house missions.

Scott Smith: Completely. And in my thoughts, the genesis of CHAPEA goes again round six years in the past and the house station program got here to the scientific neighborhood and mentioned that they have been in search of methods to make use of station as a Mars simulation. So what might we do on station that will assist simulate Mars? And the Meals Lab, Grace particularly, Grace Douglas mentioned, “look, there’s two issues about station which can be very distinctive.” One is the crews get to select about 20% of the meals—what we name crew-specific menu—the place the 80% of what they eat is fastened and all people eats from the identical containers of meals. However that every individual will get to select 20% of the meals, issues that they like, issues that they need, issues that they need extra of than are within the typical meals system. And that’s an enormous deal. The opposite factor is that each time a automobile goes as much as station—a cargo automobile, a crew automobile, you title it—they’ll put in contemporary fruit and veggies. Issues like oranges, apples, tomatoes. I do know the Russians have flown onions prior to now. A lot of issues like that. Berries, peppers, you title it. They don’t final very lengthy. There’s not numerous them, however the psychological half that comes together with these is large. And as I say, the happiest footage of astronauts you ever see are with these issues floating in entrance of them.


Host: That’s what we use for the thumbnail of (episode) 43, by the best way. All of the fruit and veggies floating in entrance of Kjell Lindgren. Yeah, precisely.

Scott Smith: And there’s an image of that hanging on the wall exterior my workplace. So Grace and workforce went to the station program and mentioned, “okay, you need to simulate tomorrow’s mission, take these two issues away.” And the station program mentioned, “yeah, we’re not going to do this.” Which in brief tells you simply how necessary these issues are. That psychologically for the crew, these issues are big. So from that was born CHAPEA, the thought of how will we simulate a Mars floor mission and what will we feed the crew? So once more, Grace led the trouble to work from there, to get help from there, to construct a habitat that we’d put crews in for a yr and we’d feed them house meals and see if we might overcome the challenges of a really closed meals system, as we name it, the place the meals is all there and also you simply have to eat it. How will we overcome issues like menu boredom? How will we make certain crews are getting sufficient vitamin, sustaining their physique weight, sustaining their dietary standing, working nicely collectively and never getting offended with one another? Once more, all of that’s affected by dietary consumption and meals and vitamin.

Host: Fascinating. So if you’re investigating this and if you’re occupied with it, you talked about a few issues in there, however if you take a look at it from a scientific perspective, are you analyzing it purely from a dietary perspective? Or are you looking at a few of these psychological impacts as a result of possibly they’re extra associated than individuals may notice?

Scott Smith: Nicely, the knothole that we glance by means of is just vitamin. However clearly, CHAPEA is a multi-investigative undertaking. Ultimately, the info from all these components will probably be built-in collectively. So we’ll take a look at train efficiency, we’ll take a look at EVA efficiency, we’ll take a look at behavioral efficiency in mild of what was their dietary standing? Did they preserve their physique mass? All these issues will go into an enormous statistical analysis of how issues match. However once more, I’m a really biased nutritionist, so the meals and vitamin component is clearly crucial one.

Host: Proper. When you take these components out if you’re specializing in a CHAPEA mission, no contemporary deliveries in the midst of a mission and a normal meals system, not rather a lot. You mentioned 20% is what they’ve on station, which is their selection? So if you take these issues away, what are you at discovering? Are you considering, is that this sufficient from a dietary perspective? Is that basically what you’re ?

Scott Smith: Nicely, there’s a couple of components to the best way CHAPEA is laid out. However the meals system or the meals which can be obtainable to the crew are fastened, and they should maintain observe of that. They want to ensure they don’t overeat and run out of meals. And we have to make it possible for they’re consuming sufficient, interval. So that basically is without doubt one of the key components that we’re . We get the dietary consumption stories that they’re recording, all their consumption, in an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a specialised spreadsheet that they’ll observe all of the meals and after they ate them and we now have one in every of our dieticians engaged on that each week. Generates a report of every crew member’s dietary consumption daily, macronutrients, micronutrients. We offer that over to Grace to judge how issues are going alongside the best way. After which from the opposite perspective, as soon as a month, we accumulate blood samples, we accumulate urine samples and we’ll take a look at once more, vitamin standing, mineral standing, kidney stone threat, all completely different components of what’s happening with their our bodies and their vitamin.

Host: Okay. So that you mentioned the dietician is working with that on a weekly foundation with the receiving that knowledge. As a part of CHAPEA, as a part of this analog, is it passive? You’re simply receiving and analyzing knowledge? Or is there a two-way avenue the place the dietician can present some suggestions that claims, “hey, you should possibly have a bit of extra, you realize, vitamin C this week,” or one thing like that?

Scott Smith: We do present some suggestions. However that sometimes is managed by means of Grace. So we offer a report back to Grace of the physique weight knowledge and the dietary consumption knowledge, after which she sends a report into the crew, I consider as soon as every week that offers them solutions of, “hey, you could need to take a look at this, or you could need to give attention to that.” We don’t are likely to get down into the weeds I’d name it, of issues like vitamin C. We’re at this level operationally working at an even bigger stage. Are you getting sufficient energy? Are you getting sufficient fluids? Are you getting sufficient calcium? Are you getting sufficient potassium, among the main vitamins? Attempting to tweak a few of these consumption all the way down to among the, what I name, micronutrients, is actually difficult to do.

Host: Do you suppose having common, fixed, steady operations on the house station has helped you refine a meals system to some extent the place you possibly can convey it to CHAPEA and go into it with a sure stage of confidence that this can be proper for a Mars mission? Or possibly there’s much more studying than I’m anticipating?

Scott Smith: Nicely, the meals system we’re utilizing at CHAPEA is the very best of the house station meals. And we’ve made some adjustments. We’ve labored with our colleagues within the Meals Lab to make the meals system higher on station. And people adjustments have taken place over the past couple of years. Once more, in primary sense, extra fruit and veggies and extra fish sources. The meals system we’re utilizing in CHAPEA is pretty much as good as we’ve received proper now. May we ship a crew to Mars with that? No, we couldn’t as a result of the shelf lifetime of these meals gained’t help the mission situations that we’re laying out for Mars proper now.

The truth is the plan at this level is that we’ll ship meals to Mars earlier than the crew leaves Earth for primarily the again half of that mission. So the expectation at this level is that the meals system, the meals, should have a five-year shelf life, regardless that the mission will probably be two and a half to 3 years. So take into consideration filling up your pantry for meals you’re going to need to eat in 5 years. It’s a troublesome process.


Host : Yeah trigger you need to take into consideration there’s additionally that psychological element too of simply desirous to eat it. You don’t need to get sick of these things.

Scott Smith: Precisely. The opposite remark I’d make is that we’ve used what we’ve discovered on station to use to find out how to do it in CHAPEA. The opposite factor is we do the identical factor on station that we’re doing with CHAPEA, which is we get a report each week of what the crew is consuming. We offer a report back to the flight surgeon, after which we depend on the flight surgeon to work with a crew of claiming, “look, hey, you’re not getting sufficient energy, you’re not getting sufficient fluid, you’re not getting sufficient calcium.” So we do help operationally the identical approach on station as we do in CHAPEA.

Host: Proper. With the suggestions on vitamin. Simply to kind of convey it dwelling is considering CHAPEA, proper. And providing you with one of many issues that’s completely different is the house station has helped us refine a meals system so we’re simply continuously studying and including new issues. However CHAPEA is that subsequent step to higher understanding the meals system for a Mars mission. Out of your perspective as a nutritionist, why is CHAPEA and missions prefer it so necessary and to have to provide us higher knowledge for understanding deep house missions?

Scott Smith: Nicely, in my thoughts, CHAPEA is the primary main step we’ve taken from a meals and vitamin standpoint in the direction of truly enabling Mars missions. What we are going to discover is that necessary. It will not be the be all finish all, however with out CHAPEA, I believe we’d have much more hassle and much more threat than sending crews off to Mars. We are going to be taught rather a lot from these missions that can assist to allow these subsequent steps.

Host: Do you suppose every thing we’ve carried out on station and the issues we’re doing with CHAPEA, studying about deep house, do you suppose understanding that helps us to simply our every day vitamin?

Scott Smith: Completely. And certainly, each component of what we do within the house program offers some training in the direction of how the physique adjustments, how dietary necessities are completely different and constructing from floor analogs like bedrest or Antarctic missions or station missions, or CHAPEA missions, all of that info offers us steps in the direction of a Mars mission. And likewise, I all the time preserve that every thing we’re doing for the house program in a method or different, has implications for individuals on Earth. One instance that I all the time wish to throw to is we did research in Antarctica vitamin D supplementation, and never solely did these research affect the vitamin D dietary supplements we give to station crews, however these research have been among the many many cited after they redesigned the vitamin D requirement necessities for individuals on Earth. When the Institute of Medication in Washington established Vitamin D necessities for North America, our paper was one of many ones they cited.

A paper we printed not too long ago regarded on the blood biochemistry and relationship and results on blood clot threat in astronauts. And one of many highlights that we maintained in that paper is that we highlighted an underappreciated threat for blood clots that has implications for the virtually, I believe it was 800,000 individuals a yr, that developed blood clots. So pushing drugs, pushing common vitamin, what we do could be very distinctive. It typically appears, you realize, that we’re doing numerous work to assist the handful of individuals off the planet, however actually it helps to tell the larger medical and scientific communities and pushes all these issues ahead.

Host: Scott, I can’t consider a greater option to finish simply wrapping it up with every thing we’ve carried out to grasp the meals system, every thing we’re doing for deep house missions and the way it helps all of us on Earth. Scott Smith, thanks a lot for coming again on Houston We Have a Podcast. It was a pleasure to have you ever.

Scott Smith: Thanks. I admire it.

Host: Okay. That was Scott Smith. Now final however not least, the final two crew members recorded their expertise collectively. Right here is Medical Officer, Nathan Jones sand Science Officer, Anca Selariu.

Nathan Jones: Good day, my title is Nathan Jones. I’m the medical officer for the CHAPEA 1 Mission.

Anca Selariu: Hello, my title is Anca Selariu. I’m science officer for CHAPEA Mission 1.

Nathan Jones: We have been requested to reply a couple of questions. The primary one is, how is every thing going? Anca?

Anca Selariu: We’re fantastically nonetheless on Mars, and we’re blissful about it. Every thing goes in addition to could be hoped. How about, Nate, you inform us among the highlights of the actions and duties of the previous month.

Nathan Jones: Yeah, so among the highlights for me, we had a few birthdays to have fun this present month. And people have been enjoyable. And we received to embellish some pre-made truffles and with some frosting or icing, made some playing cards, blew out an digital candle and sang Completely happy Birthday.

Anca Selariu: Offkey.


Nathan Jones: Beggars can’t be choosers.

Anca Selariu: I do know.

Nathan Jones: Anca, did you end up in a routine roughly?

Anca Selariu: I discover myself in no matter routine NASA has us be in, and that just about includes a morning, get up with morning measures, and I’ll in all probability by no means stay one other day with out weighing myself within the morning.

Nathan Jones: Yeah, one week is what we name “testing week.” And we now have numerous completely different testing that goes on that week, whether or not it’s concerning our bodily ranges, cognition testing, blood work, these types of issues. The subsequent week, we’d have digital actuality EVA or spacewalk week, after which one other week it will be non-virtual actuality EVA week. Subsequent query is “title one enjoyable truth about dwelling on Mars that you simply’d just like the individuals on Earth to know.”

Rock samples collected during a simulated Marswalk are pictured atop orange-brown sand in the sandbox where the crews complete EVAs, or Extravehicular Activities.
Rock samples collected throughout a simulated Marswalk are pictured atop orange-brown sand within the sandbox the place the crews full EVAs, or Extravehicular Actions. Credit: NASA

Anca Selariu: One enjoyable truth is that the colours exterior are very completely different from the colours you’d usually get searching the window on Earth.

Nathan Jones: For me, I’d say, and this was type of advised to us earlier than we are available in by one of many astronauts, however I believe the factor is life goes on for everybody on Earth, and for us it seems like we’re in a time loop or some kind of factor the place we’re caught in the identical cut-off date. To me, it nonetheless feels prefer it’s June 2023, the day we got here in.

Anca Selariu: I assume you’re proper. Just about the identical for me. Is there something from Earth that you simply particularly missed this month?

Nathan Jones: Simply principally the identical issues. My household primarily, sure meals, I believe. Among the many crew, many people mentioned we’re lacking chips. Crunchy issues like that. And you realize, I’m additionally lacking my work a bit of bit.

Anca Selariu: I miss plain yogurt and I desperately missed driving. I had a full dream about driving cross nation. It was superb.


Nathan Jones: If you say plain yogurt, are we speaking about yogurt with no sugar or something? Simply, I imply—

Anca Selariu: Sure, simply plain Greek yogurt, yeah.

Nathan Jones: Perhaps we are able to discover some yeast up right here and make some for you. Any particular crew bonding actions, both routine merchandise or a single expertise?

Anca Selariu: Okay. We’re particularly keen on watching particular TV collection collectively and taking part in video games from time to time. I don’t know of single experiences.

Nathan Jones: We had an origami night time. Anca right here made some stunning flowers for one in every of our crew members who had a birthday this month. We’ve performed some card video games. I’m undecided in case you talked about that one.  I assume that’s principally—oh, drawing, these sorts of issues. Oh, basketball, we had a basketball recreation.

CHAPEA Mission 1 Science Officer, Anca Selariu, spends some time exercising inside the habitat.
CHAPEA Mission 1 Science Officer, Anca Selariu, spends a while exercising contained in the habitat. Credit: NASA

Anca Selariu: Sure. I lastly discovered find out how to play a correct match after which it was gone. Nate, what’s arising within the subsequent month that you simply’re enthusiastic about?

Nathan Jones: Nicely, we have been advised earlier than the mission that we must be seeing some crops throughout October. And in order that’s one thing that we’re wanting ahead to rising some meals of our personal that will probably be contemporary, hopefully. And we’re hoping to get that basketball hoop backup, working. Yeah.

Anca Selariu: I fully agree. And to not point out as all the time, EVAs.

Nathan Jones: Yeah. That and I believe all of us have a tendency to love the drone and rover missions that we look ahead to as nicely.

Anca Selariu: Sure, sure, sure. Okay, nicely thanks for being with us and nonetheless being all in favour of our enjoyable actions on Mars. And hopefully we get to speak to you quickly once more.

Nathan Jones: Sure. Thanks everybody at dwelling in your curiosity in our mission and help.


Host: Alright, and that’s it for the audio logs for Audio Log #3 from Alpha Dune. It was superior to listen to Nathan and Anca play off of one another, but additionally nice to listen to from the entire crew members inside CHAPEA and naturally from our particular visitor. Thanks for sticking round. I hope you’re having fun with the crew’s journey and listening to these audio logs each month. That is the third audio log in our collection, and once more, we’re doing this each month. Test in subsequent month for Audio Log #4. You may verify for the most recent and for all of the completely different podcasts we now have throughout the company, together with ours. You may take heed to any of our episodes in no specific order besides these, it is best to in all probability take heed to them so as, the audio logs. Social media, you possibly can verify us out on the Johnson Area Heart pages of Fb, X, and Instagram utilizing #AskNASA in your favourite platform to submit an thought for the present, simply make certain to say is for Houston We Have a Podcast.

Recordings have been despatched from the CHAPEA crew by means of September, and we had the dialog with Scott Smith on October 4, 2023. Due to Will Flato, Dane Turner, Abby Graf, Jaden Jennings, and Anna Schneider. Due to Scott Smith for taking the time to come back on the present. And an enormous due to Kelly Haston, Ross Brockwell, Nathan Jones and Anca Selariu for sharing their expertise for this viewers on Houston We Have a Podcast. Give us a score and suggestions on no matter platform you’re listening to us on and inform us what you consider our podcast. We’ll be again subsequent week.


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