Mausonaut on Mars in Rio Tinto: The SHEE habitat

The habitat SHEE (Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments) is an impressive piece of hardware with a diameter of 6 m and is weighting more than 5 tonnes with all systems installed. In unfolded state it can be transported by a normal truck, in a container on a ship or by air. It is designed to give two astronauts habitation for two weeks on the surface of the Moon or Mars (or Earth). Therefore it would allow surface missions with a duration of two weeks. SHEE could also be the initial habitat for longer missions when additional habitats need some preparations to allow a longer stay of the crew.

The Mars analogue mission of project MoonWalk at the Rio Tinto site in Spain is the first mission where the SHEE was deployed. Therefore it is the first real test for the SHEE.

I had the pleasure to get a tour through the SHEE hab. My tour guide was Dr. Barbara Imhof of the LIQUIFER Systems Group. Many thanks for the very interesting tour, Barbara!

And during this tour I took some images for you. Just follow me on a tour through the SHEE !


First look through the entrance door of SHEE. On the right side there is a workshop. In the center the galley kitchen and hygiene facility can be spotted. The closed access door for the EVA suit ports is visible in the back on the left side.


Viewing into the workshop area of SHEE. The American analogue astronaut Joshua V. Nelson (a.k.a. @The_Stargazer) is studying some documentation.


View on the Environmental Control & Life Support System (ECLSS) of SHEE – and it panels and displays.


Cozy! One of the two crew quarters. Due to high demand not all requests for sleeping in it could be fulfilled. 😉


The scientific lab in SHEE.


Viewing through the open suit port directly into the Gandolfi 2 EVA suit built by COMEX. The back part of the suit is removed for ingress. As the suit ports were installed just before the MoonWalkEU simulation started sealing works were not finished.


The SHEE habitat during sunset. The development and construction of SHEE was funded by the European Union.

Impressive, right? In a hab of this size and capability I could travel to the edge of the universe, couldn’t I? . 😉

More information about the SHEE habitat can be found at this website:

Part 1: The YEMO robotic rover

Part 3: Going On A Mars Walk


My visit on Mars (in Rio Tinto, Earth)

During the weekend April 23/24, 2016, I had the great pleasure to visit the Mars analogue simulation site of the MoonWalk project in Rio Tinto, Spain. This is a consortium of European institutions and commercial companies preparing important components for future space exploration endeavours on the surface of Moon and Mars – all supported by the European commission. Additionally training procedures are tested with the help of the produced hardware.

For more information about the MoonWalk consortium please visit their website: .

In the following we would like to introduce the main test articles used during the MoonWalk field simulations in Rio Tinto. Let us start with the robotic rover called YEMO.


The YEMO robotic rover in a basic configuration. Some of its special features are that in can be gesture controlled by an astronaut and that it can work under water. I had the pleasure to be on-board a few times.

The YEMO rover is a very special machine developed by a team of the DFKI (Deutsches Forschungszentrum fĂŒr KĂŒnstliche Intelligenz – German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence) Bremen. It has many astonishing capabilities. Among other features, it can map the landing site and identify any obstacles on the surface that may impede the mobility of the rover and the astronaut. Additionally it is equipped with a weather station and is recording parameters like temperature, wind speed and humidity.

The most astonishing feature of YEMO is its capability to be gesture controlled by an astronaut. The astronaut can guide YEMO with movements of her/his arm. To enable this gesture control there are three motion sensors connected to the arm of the astronaut. I had the privilege to take part in the initial field tests of this feature. I have prepared a short video about these tests:

I really like this gesture control. With it YEMO becomes in some way a companion to the astronaut during his excursion on the surface of Moon or Mars. Cool stuff!

Part 2: The SHEE habitat

Part 3: Going on MarsWalk

Photo gallery:

We will also report about the SHEE habitat and for sure about the Gandolfi 2 space suit of COMEX Marseille.