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#1 2015-01-30 08:21:02

JoshNH4H
Member
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

http://www.space.com/28388-greenhouse-f … ssion.html

Four crewmembers simulating a mission on Mars dealt with a real-life emergency late last month — a greenhouse fire so strong that flames reached at least 10 feet (3 meters) high.

On Dec. 29, the first day of their mission, the crew noticed an unusual power surge in their habitat at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), in the Utah desert near the small town of Hanksville. A few minutes later, somebody spotted smoke coming from the greenhouse.

Crew commander Nick Orenstein, an experienced camper who has built bonfires in the past, ran outside to take a look. He said he figured the group could take on the fire, because the smoke was blowing away from the habitat, and only one shelf inside the greenhouse was aflame. At that time, the fire was about the size of three overstuffed chairs. [Mock Mars Mission Photos: Life on a Simulated Red Planet]

"This is a moment where instinct took over, the instinct of fight or flight, and we had fight," Orenstein told Space.com. "There really wasn't a question at the moment."

It took the crew about half an hour to bring the fire under control. Orenstein and crew engineer Dmitry Smirnov used all available fire extinguishers on site, but even after the extinguishers were exhausted and the power cut, the fire was still not out.

[...]

This is unfortunate but actually probably a good learning experience.  Hopefully the MDRS program recovers!


-Josh

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#2 2015-01-30 23:37:21

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,268

Re: Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

Post about fire in MDRS2.0

SpaceNut wrote:

The second generation  MDRS GreenHab Destroyed by Fire

For five seasons, the facility functioned as an experimental closed loop water recycling system, but testing ceased when it was concluded that the system was too small to maintain the Habitat with six full-time crew members.

http://www.marssociety.org/home/press/a … edirects=0

There is a link in the story to help rebuild the stations greenhouse....

Important notes on water useage in the station is that they typically use only a 3rd of what Nasa indicates that will be needed so we now know what size to target for mars to just do water filtration....

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#3 2015-01-30 23:38:43

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,268

Re: Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

Excelsior wrote:

The story finally hit the media.

An interesting lesson seems to have been learned here...

It took the crew about half an hour to bring the fire under control. Orenstein and crew engineer Dmitry Smirnov used all available fire extinguishers on site, but even after the extinguishers were exhausted and the power cut, the fire was still not out.

"We put out the rest by putting water on the flames," Orenstein recalled.

The four-person crew was barely able to deal with the emergency, he added. "Six or seven [people], to me, seems realistic as the adequate number of people to handle a situation like this most effectively."

It seems to me that this contingency needs to play an important role in mission planning. Firefighting is a major issue on ships at sea, there is no reason to believe spacecraft and surface habs would be any different. If you don't have sufficient manpower to fight the fire, everyone is dead. There is no "jumping overboard".

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#4 2015-01-30 23:39:44

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,268

Re: Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

SpaceNut wrote:

While its a problem on earth a fire on mars would mean jumping inot a space suit, getting into the exit chamber and releasing the air in the cabin to the outside or flooding it with CO2....

"The GreenHab as a greenhouse wasn't cost-effective; we had to keep it heated and cooled. The idea is this will be much easier to maintain," Rupert said.

The Fisher GreenHab was the second greenhouse built at MDRS, after the first one collapsed under heavy winds. Built in 2003, the structure was first used for five years as an experimental water recycling system.

The GreenHab was reconfigured in 2009 for use as a greenhouse, after concerns were raised that the water-recycling system would not be able to support crews properly. Crops for crews were grown for three seasons. A "Zen Garden" was also available for crews inside the GreenHab, allowing for a small spot to retreat from the main habitat for privacy.

The Mars Society aims to have a replacement structure ready in time for the 2015-16 field season, which begins this fall.

Good that it will get replaced bad that its going to be more than $40,000 to do so.

Seems that we need a professionally designed struture to do the experiments within and to get the heating and cooling correct at the least amount of energy costs to boot....

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#5 2015-01-30 23:41:55

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,268

Re: Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

I am sure that after a period of cleanup it will be started up again....

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#6 2016-03-17 23:31:18

Dexter2999
Member
Registered: 2016-03-08
Posts: 20

Re: Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

Do they crowdsource for funds for this kind of stuff at all?

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#7 2016-03-18 19:37:18

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,268

Re: Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

Welcome to NewMars Dexter2999.

I am not in the know as I am not a member but maybe one that is will reply....

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