Broadcast 3625 Trent Tresch and Kai Staats

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Guests:  Trent Tresch and Kai Staats; Topics:  The Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM) discussion For more information, see their website,

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We welcomed Trent Tresch back to the show and Kai Staats for the first time to discuss the SAM Moon Mars Analog study at the site of Biosphere 2 in Arizona.  Our 65 minute discussion started by my asking Kai about his background and what specifically led him to the point of developing the SAM simulation model. Kai went through his background and the events that led him to SAM, then he turned it over to Trent.  Trent also had experiences and events in his lifetime that not only brought him in contact with Kai but to playing a substantial role increasing and developing space and the SAM project.

Following the introduction, Kai talked about having first created a math model, then helping to create the practical working model SAM.  I interrupted Kay to ask him a basic question on how one goes from a math model to something real that works in real time.  This turned out to be an excellent discussion so don't miss it.  As you will hear, Kai talked about the SIMOC math model behind the server.  The discussion moved on to talking about the SAM analog on the grounds where Biosphere 2 was located but not actually in the original Biosphere 2 module.  Our guests then started describing the teams that will do SAM research, their length of stat, goals, rules and more.  We also talked about the number of participants per teams and then later in the discussion, we learned that the teams will need to finance their own research stay at SAM.

A big part of our discussion was the pressure suit discussion and their use at SAM to simulate spacesuits, including actually being under pressure. We took a listener email asking how they managed a simulation for both the Moon and Mars given the differences between Moon and Mars.  Don't miss what our guests said in response to this question.  Listener Carol wanted to know if children would be permitted to be part of a simulation experiment.  The answer was no but then they thought of possible family team experiments seemed to get their attention.  One more big topic was crops for the Moon or Mars versus crops here on Earth.  Our guests had much to say about crop simulation and their SAM plans for crops.  Another listener asked about animals and livestock. No livestock but listen to what was said about animals.  Hint: Grub worms. 

As we were moving to the end of our discussion, team size was discussed, so was the use of the airlock, plus entertainment available for the teams.  Note what our guests said about being closed off from the outside world with phone, email, TV and more.  In discussing the teams and facilities, listener June asked if the simulation was designed to be claustrophobic.  Once again the answer was no plus.  Kai provided us with crew compartment space dimensions so let us know if you think it would be claustrophobic.  That said, isolation was part of the experiment.  Listen to how this was explained to us. 

The Chinese Lunar Palace experiment was brought up by Roger from St. Louis.  You can learn more about this by visiting and,  You can also learn more about the Chinese human space program at

Before the program ended, Karen sent in a note asking if our guests had a way to avoid the failures associated with the Biosphere 2 experiment.  Both guests quickly responded that Biosphere 2 was not a failure. This opened up a mini discussion regarding Biosphere 2 problems, how they were resolved and lessons learned.  In addition, our guests explained that there was no failure because it was an experiment and we learned valuable information from it. 

Our guests offered summary comments and said that the grand opening would likely be mid-2021.  Listen to learn the surprise team that will open the SAM Analog for research. 


Please post your comments/questions for our guests on our blog for this show.  You can reach our guests through me in addition to the SAM website provided above.




Our guests discuss the SAM Project (

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05 Jan 2021 Trent Tresch, Kai Staats
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