Marianna, FL, July 05, 2019 — Untethered Exploration, LLC and Arturo Prat University (Iquique, Chile) have partnered for the purpose of developing three analog research habitats (collectively, the “Habitat Project”) to be used for conducting ground-based space analog research, extreme environment research and technology development, education and public outreach, and specialized training for academic and industry customers. Two of the three habitats are terrestrial habitats and will be located in Chile's famed Atacama Desert, dubbed the “most Mars-like” region on Earth. The third habitat is an undersea research station to be located off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean. The Habitat Project will begin in August, 2019.

The first of the three habitats, eMARS, an acronym for earth Mars Atacama Research Station, will be situated in the Atacama Desert at an elevation at or above 2,400 meters. eMARS will be used to conduct a wide variety of research and technology development activities, and will provide a realistic training simulation for aspiring and current astronaut candidates.

The eMARS habitat will be a “SmartHab,” integrating SmartHome technology to monitor habitat operations and performance in real-time, while providing remote monitoring capability for offsite “Mission Control” and remote Principal Investigators. The SmartHab design will also include advanced wireless physiologic monitoring systems that enable real-time and remote crew health monitoring capability. With an emphasis on innovation, and a desire to explore the utility of 3D printing for future off-Earth habitats on the Moon or Mars, the eMARS team will heavily utilize additive manufacturing technology in the manufacturing and construction of the modular habitat. The modular design provides opportunity for station expansion by mating secondary modules to the station's core module, depending on mission needs and objectives. eMARS will utilize a combination of power supply sources, including solar, wind, and fuel cell technology.

The unique and unrivaled characteristics of the Atacama Desert provide scientists with exciting possibilities for conducting research in the areas of:
• Alternative energy (solar, wind)
• Agricultural methods in extreme environments
• Desalination methods and freshwater supply
• Human performance in extreme environments

Research and technology demonstrations and development at analog research stations, such as eMARS, provide invaluable access to International Space Station-like isolated, confined and extreme environments that are oftentimes a stepping stone to eventual research in an actual spaceflight or other extreme environment such as those found in remote and hostile environments like Antarctica or deep-sea ocean habitats. It is our hope that the international research community finds the eMARS habitat to be an excellent ground analog for the advancement of science, technology, and engineering.

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