Silver Seas 2018

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Silver Seas 2018
Year 2017-18
Mission Destination Enceladus, Mimas
Mission Dates Feb. 20 - Feb. 24, 2018
Habitat Commander Liam Gaudet
Subcommander Nathan Schmidt
Mission Control Commander
Simulator Commander Serena Harden

Silver Seas 2018 was the Spacesim Mission for the 2017-18 school year. It visited the moons of Saturn, primarily Enceladus and Mimas. It saw revived use of the LAURA system and very extensive mass spectrometer analysis.


Mission Purpose

The missions's scientific aims were to perform EVAs on Enceladus and Mimas so as to survey the surfaces of these moons, retrieve samples for detailed elemental and molecular composition analysis, take pictures of the surfaces, and attempt to establish a more detailed topographical map of these bodies from close orbit. On Enceladus, the crew drilled for samples (and radiation protection), the LAURA system was deployed to probe the structure and composition of water geysers, to place seismometers which could subsequently transmit valuable geological data back to Earth for analysis there.

In-Beta Mission Results

Mass spectrometer results are still being analysed, but they were sampled to better understand the origins and compositions of the moons. One hypothesis of particular interest was that Mimas and Enceladus originated from different systems before both being captured by Saturn's orbit. The analysis therefore included the calculation of isotopic percentages of different elements in the soil of Saturn's moons to try to detect systematic differences.

Alpha System Developments

This mission saw the pioneering use of Ethan Boicey's RAVEN system. One application of this tool to create a truly novel disaster was to record footage of the Interlock, edit in an animation of flames coming out of the toaster, and then play that feed back to the astronauts.

There was some restructuring of the planetary surface for this mission, but the overall framework from the preceding few years was largely retained.