Artist-in-Residence/ Journalist-in-Residence (2018) MDRS188, US
Immersive Visualisation of Mars Desert Research Station Life
A collaboration between Sarah Jane Pell, David G. Barnes and MDRS Crew 188
MDRS Crew 188 Zac Trolley, Tasunari Tomiyama and Rene Garifi testing of VEGGIE prototype plant growth hardware: Orbital Aquifer System for VEGGIE (OASYS) in the MDRS GreenHab.
We utilized the GreenHab facility to test a new prototype vegetation system invented by NASA KSC scientists for watering plants in reduced gravity environments. Lettuce and basil were selected as ideal demonstration crops for their quick germination times and ease of harvest. The newly built GreenHab provides controlled temperature, humidity and light for a variety of vegetable crops growing throughout the field season. Due to limited time within the mission, the vegetable growth period was only 9 days. The OASYS system proved the effective germination of only one lettuce seedling from one of the three plant watering pillows due to an issue with the size of the pillows being larger than normal and the wicks not staying moist. Photos and data were sent to the principal investigators who rated this to be a positive test of the hardware.
In‐situ testing of VEGGIE prototype plant growth hardware: Orbital Aquifer System for VEGGIE (OASYS) for NASA JSC, was yet another opportunity for piggy-back research and testing the Bending Horizons 360 equipment provided by the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform for Sarah Jane Pell's artist-in-residence work. The artist's response was two-fold. The first outcome was a virtual reality experience presented the GreenHab as a world-within-a-world of the ScienceDome. This artwork intends to offer a personal, political and philosophical response to the mission simulation phenomenology highlighting the interactivity between daily-monitoring and care routines quickly established between the crew, operating across platforms and spaces such as the Science Dome and Greebhab during the MDRS Crew 188 rotation.
GREENHAB is the documentation of the MDRS GreenHab (GreenHouse/Habitat) and Science Dome for the 360 Bending Horizons project by Sarah Jane Pell and David G Barnes on the MDRS Crew188 Mission 2018. Staring: SARAH JANE PELL, ZAC TROLLEY. Post Production: David G. Barnes.
The second response was an audio media artwork. Greenhab Officers were frustrated by the futility of logging daily environmental monitoring reports when many of the equipment sensors were inacurate and the measurements therefore arbritrary and not contributing to any form of on-going or accumulative logging. Any "Simulation within the simulation" tasks felt burdensome on our time, and crew morale shifted. The GreenHab went from being everyone's favorite place to be, to something crew moaned about. As Journalist-in-Residence, Pell took the initiative to respond to the ever-building "GreenHab issue" with some humour. She dressed up in a wind-proof suit, pulled out the gardener's toolkit and her Zoom microphone to record an interview with the tomatoes. She sought their views on their environmental status of the GreenHab, and enquired about their feelings - even offering to sing to assist their growth - explaining that the warm exhalation would add much-needed C02 to the atmosphere. There were big smiles and expressions of disbelief and delight from the GreenHab Officers. The Science Dome and GreenHab environment sincerely warmed and lightened that night.
This work is part of the Performing Astronautics project assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
This project was co-produced by Monash University through technical support from the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform.⇐ Return to MDRS Crew188, 2018 ⇐ More Expeditions