NASA Selects New Crew For Next Simulated Mars Journey


NASA has chosen 4 new crew members to partake in a simulated mission to Mars contained in the company’s Human Exploration Analysis Analog. From left are Jason Lee, Stephanie Navarro, Shareef Al Romaithi, and Piyumi Wijesekara.

Credit score: C7M2 Crew

NASA has chosen a brand new crew of 4 volunteers to take part in a simulated mission to Mars inside a habitat on the company’s Johnson Area Heart in Houston.

Jason Lee, Stephanie Navarro, Shareef Al Romaithi, and Piyumi Wijesekara will step into the company’s Human Exploration Analysis Analog, or HERA, on Friday, Could 10. As soon as inside, the crew will stay and work like astronauts for 45 days. The crew will exit the power on June 24 after they “return” to Earth. Jose Baca and Brandon Kent are this mission’s alternate crew members.

HERA allows scientists to check how crew members adapt to isolation, confinement, and distant situations earlier than NASA sends astronauts on deep house missions to the Moon, Mars, and past. Crew members will perform scientific analysis and operational duties all through their simulated mission to the Pink Planet, together with a “stroll” on Mars’s floor utilizing digital actuality. They will even expertise rising communication delays lasting as much as 5 minutes every manner with Mission Management Heart as they “close to” Mars.

This crew is the second group of volunteers to take part in a simulated Mars mission in HERA this yr. The newest crew accomplished its HERA mission on March 18. Two different missions will observe this yr, with the ultimate HERA crew slated to wrap up on Dec. 20.

In a primary for HERA, one crew member, Shareef Al Romaithi, hails from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and can take part within the mission by means of a partnership between NASA and the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Area Centre (MBRSC).

As with the earlier HERA mission this yr, NASA’s Human Analysis Program is conducting 18 human well being research through the mission. The experiments will consider the physiological, behavioral, and psychological responses of crew members in an setting just like what astronauts will face on a visit to Mars. Seven of those research are collaborations with the MBRSC and the European Area Company (ESA). Insights gleaned from the research will permit researchers to develop and take a look at methods aimed toward serving to astronauts overcome obstacles on lengthy missions deep into house.

The first crew of the upcoming mission is:

Major Crew

Jason Lee

Jason Lee portraitJason Lee is an affiliate professor-in-residence on the College of Connecticut’s Faculty of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Manufacturing Engineering. He teaches thermal fluids, manufacturing, and sports activities engineering programs. He additionally serves as his college’s mechanical engineering undergraduate director and its NASA Connecticut Area Grant Consortium campus director.

Lee holds a bachelor’s diploma in mechanical engineering from the College of California, Berkeley and grasp’s and doctorate levels in mechanical engineering from the College of Texas at Austin. His graduate analysis targeted on manufacturing processes involving warmth switch and the characterization of warmth shielding supplies. He accomplished a postdoctoral diploma on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how, finding out high-strength nanofibers.

Lee lives in Boston. In his spare time, he enjoys working, martial arts, chess, and indoor mountaineering. He additionally likes to look at films and performs, strive new cuisines, spend time with mates, and go to his nephew and nieces.

Stephanie Navarro

Stephanie Navarro portraitStephanie Navarro is an area operations officer within the U.S. Air Drive Reserve. She has greater than a decade of prior enlisted service within the Air Nationwide Guard and was deployed in help of Operation Freedom Sentinel to assist present safe communication capabilities within the Center East. She started her civilian profession as an info expertise specialist for the U.S. Military, offering methods engineering for data-center modernization efforts in Hawaii. Navarro at present works at Northrop Grumman as a senior methods engineer, specializing in satellite tv for pc communication packages.

Navarro earned her bachelor’s diploma in physics from the College of Central Florida in Orlando. Whereas pursuing her undergraduate research, she served the constituents of Florida as a congressional intern for each the U.S. Home and Senate. She just lately accomplished a model-based methods engineering certificates program from Caltech and is working towards a grasp’s diploma in cybersecurity from the College of Maryland World Campus.

Born and raised by Ecuadorian dad and mom in Miami, Navarro has robust ties to her cultural heritage. She enjoys spending time together with her household, touring the world, finding out for her pilot’s license, and immersing herself in numerous culinary experiences. Throughout her spare time, she is both understanding, on the seaside, or within the air flying a Cessna 172. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

Shareef Al Romaithi

Shareef Al Romaithi portraitShareef Al Romaithi is a pilot with greater than 16 years of expertise within the airline trade, together with greater than 9,000 flight hours on a number of Airbus and Boeing plane. Presently, he instructions Boeing 777 and 787 plane as a captain, underscoring his experience and management in aviation.

Al Romaithi acquired a bachelor’s diploma in aerospace engineering and three grasp’s levels from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College, specializing in aerospace and aviation administration, security methods, and house operations, respectively. He went on to earn a doctorate diploma in aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College in 2014, specializing in security methods and human elements. These levels had been based mostly on the college’s Dayton Seashore campus, apart from the grasp’s specializing in house operations, which was from the college’s worldwide campus. He’s the world’s youngest and eighth graduate to achieve a doctorate diploma in aviation.

Al Romaithi at present lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He joins HERA by means of a partnership between NASA and MBRSC. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, studying, and touring.

Piyumi Wijesekara

Piyumi Wijesekara portraitPiyumi Wijesekara is a postdoctoral analysis scientist within the Radiation Biophysics Laboratory at NASA Ames Analysis Heart in California’s Silicon Valley. Her analysis focuses on growing tissue fashions to research the consequences of spaceflight stressors, together with ionizing radiation and lunar mud on the human respiratory system.

Wijesekara earned her bachelor’s diploma in bioengineering from the College of California, San Diego, and her grasp’s and doctorate levels in biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon College in Pittsburgh, Penn. Her doctoral analysis targeted on stem cell and organ engineering, with an emphasis on engineering lung fashions that mimic human lung physiology, to check respiratory illnesses.

Wijesekara at present lives in San Francisco. She enjoys spending time with household and mates, working alongside the San Francisco Bay, studying, mountaineering, volunteering on the meals pantry, and attending live shows and musicals.

Alternate Crew

Jose Baca

Jose Baca portraitJose Baca is an assistant professor within the division of engineering at Texas A&M College-Corpus Christi. His analysis pursuits contain designing modular methods, enhancing the capabilities of uncrewed autonomous automobiles, and coordinating multi-robot groups by means of advanced environments.

Baca acquired a bachelor’s diploma in electrical engineering from the Instituto Tecnologico de Matamoros in Mexico. He then earned a grasp’s diploma in mechatronics from the College of Utilized Science of Aachen, Germany, and a doctorate diploma in automation and robotics from the Universidad Politecnica in Madrid, Spain.

Baca went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher within the pc science division on the College of Nebraska at Omaha. There, he turned concerned in a analysis challenge funded by NASA that sought to develop a reconfigurable robotic system able to reworking itself to beat obstacles and discover unknown eventualities. By way of this work, he additionally started endeavor tasks aimed toward supporting astronauts throughout long-duration house missions.

In his free time, Baca promotes science, expertise, engineering, and math actions for college kids in elementary faculty by means of school, with a selected give attention to engineering and robotics. He lives in Corpus Christi, Texas and enjoys exercising, exploring new locations, experiencing new cultures and cuisines, and spending time with household.

Brandon Kent

Brandon Kent portraitBrandon Kent is a medical director within the pharmaceutical trade, supporting ongoing world efforts to develop new therapies throughout most cancers varieties.

Kent holds bachelor’s levels in each biochemistry and biology from North Carolina State College in Raleigh. He earned his doctorate in biomedicine from Mount Sinai Faculty of Drugs in New York Metropolis, the place his work primarily targeted on how genetic elements regulate early embryonic improvement and most cancers improvement.

Following graduate faculty, Kent moved into scientific and medical communications consulting in oncology, with a main give attention to medical trial knowledge disclosures, scientific trade, and medical training initiatives.

Kent and his spouse have two daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time along with his daughters, flying non-public plane, mountaineering, staying bodily match, and studying. He lives in Kinnelon, New Jersey.


NASA’s Human Analysis Program

NASA’s Human Analysis Program, or HRP, pursues the perfect strategies and applied sciences to help secure, productive human house journey. By way of science carried out in laboratories, ground-based analogs, and the Worldwide Area Station, HRP scrutinizes how spaceflight impacts human our bodies and behaviors. Such analysis drives HRP’s quest to innovate ways in which preserve astronauts wholesome and mission-ready as house journey expands to the Moon, Mars, and past.

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