On the Impact and Needs of Various Audience Groups from Space Analogue Outreach and Education Programmes

The Mars Desert Research Base (MDRS) is a Mars analogue simulation facility in the Utah desert operated by the non-profit organisation, The Mars Society. The authors took part in Mission 205 to MDRS as part of the International Emerging Space Leaders (IESL) Crew in February 2019. The objectives included leadership development, surface navigationtechniques, sample collection, astronomy and outreach. Some of Crew 205 had strong backgrounds in science communication and investigated outreach methods and protocols on“The Red Planet”.Some of theissues affecting current ISSalso affectspace analogue outreach programmes -limited data rates and bandwidth, physical remoteness, crew time/willingness, time difference/lag and other simulation conditions.Theselimitations can hamper the reach and effectiveness of outreach campaigns andareonlylikely to get worse during predicted future exploration missions. Other differences exist between earth-based analogues and future Mars missions that can affect the receiving audience’s engagement -in particular the perceived level of risk that the crew is under from environmental factors (such as weather or atmosphere), technical malfunction, isolation or the level of support the crew can receive if required. However, despite this, much can be gained by using analogue missions for effective space outreach. This paper assesses the facets that can be best exploited to engage educators and students using the British Science Association Audience Model, without degrading the fidelity or validity of the simulation. It proposes improvements in pre-mission outreach planning at MDRS that may be applicable for other analogue missions as well.

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