Photo by Vincent Fournier

AdventureX and The Iceland Space Agency Charts a New Path for the Future of Space Research, Innovation, and Exploration

Matt Prior
6 min readMar 23, 2022

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During the last week of August, amidst significant covid related obstacles, the Iceland Space Agency (ISA), a private non-governmental organization and AdventureX, a company specializing in cutting-edge experiences, covertly mounted an international expedition to test an Artemis generation spacesuit simulator.

Analog missions are field tests in locations that have physical similarities to extreme space environments such as lava tubes. NASA’s own definition is when specialist engineers and scientists work with government agencies, academia, and industry to gather requirements for testing in harsh environments before they are used in Space. They provide data about strengths, limitations, and the validity of planned human-robotic exploration operations. Analogs also help define ways to combine human and robotic efforts to enhance scientific exploration.

The suit was tested among the diverse terrestrial analogs of both the Moon and Mars that uniquely exist in Iceland which is why NASA trained there so frequently before the Moon landing in 1969 and continues to do so.

These analog sites included lava tubes, glaciers, glacial debris fields, basaltic black sands, volcanic craters, and remote areas that contain subsurface ice. The specific locations were selected to simulate human landing and habitation sites for future missions being planned to both the Moon and Mars. The official field campaign was designated MS2 ERE1.

The spacesuit simulator field tests were part of the IMMS (Iceland Moon Mars Simulation Research & Development) MS2 development program authored by PI Professor Michael Lye of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). IMMS MS2 is a core component of the larger ISA IMMS R&D initiative which was developed to create a sustainable long term space research infrastructure for Iceland.

The field campaign this Summer would not have been made possible without the partnership between AdventureX and the Iceland Space Agency to pioneer Experiential Research Expeditions (ERE). These EREs allow for sustainable collaborations with the private sector and citizen scientists who are able to contribute in a meaningful way to the development of future technologies destined for the Moon, Mars, and beyond. This is a win-win for all concerned and something totally different to anything else that is out there at the moment.

“In order to reach for the Stars, we must first understand, respect and protect the Earth beneath our feet.” Daniel Leeb, Mission Director, Iceland Space Agency

These Experential Research Expeditions (ERE) allow for sustainable collaborations with the private sector and citizen scientists who are able to contribute in a meaningful way to the development of future technologies destined for the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Included among the members of the analog astronaut team from AdventureX were former Royal Air Force and Royal Navy aviators which was vital for the type of feedback and control necessary when testing complex equipment destined for hostile environments. Other team members had technology interface expertise which was essential considering the advanced sensors and Human-Technology Interface (HTI) that will be integrated into the design of the IMMS MS2.

“We’re always looking to be at the forefront of impactful experiences and to do things no one else is doing or able to do and so we’re proud to partner with the Iceland Space Agency to make this pioneering idea a reality. The future of the trillion-dollar Space industry will be about collaboration and partnerships and so it’s great to play a small part in forging that path.” Matt Prior, Co-Founder of AdventureX

NASA is charging forward with the Artemis Program, focusing on returning astronauts to the Moon by 2025, and is requesting private contractors to begin development for new Artemis generation spacesuits. As a result, there is a very real need to have high-fidelity spacesuit simulators so that training and testing can continue without delay and a landing at the South pole of the Moon can be realized this decade.

Photos by Vincent Fournier

NASA is charging forward with the Artemis Program, focusing on returning astronauts to the Moon by 2025, and is requesting private contractors to begin development for new Artemis generation spacesuits.

The spacesuit simulator that was tested is an advanced version of the MS1 that had been tested by the ISA in 2019 as part of a flag expedition with The Explorers Club. The original MS1 was designed by a team at the Rhode Island School of Design led by Professor Michael Lye with input from NASA/Johnson Space Center and geometry based on the Artemis generation Z2 xEMU spacesuit. During this Summer’s field tests the suit was pushed beyond previous years by a factor of 4 with simulated EVAs lasting over 3 hours, while a wealth of biometric and suit data was recorded. This feedback and the extreme environments are informing the direction and development of the IMMS MS2 suit design currently in development.

Photo by Daniel Leeb

The original MS1 was designed by a team at the Rhode Island School of Design led by Professor Michael Lye with input from NASA/Johnson Space Center and geometry based on the Artemis generation Z2 xEMU spacesuit.

In addition to the launch of the IMMS MS2 program, the ISA IMMS R&D program includes IMMS HAB1, development of the first hi-fidelity analog research facility for planetary research, IMMS ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) which will test and develop technologies that can be leveraged for long-duration human presence on the Moon and Mars, as well as other programs that focus on life detection, remote sensing, telerobotic — human interface and AI.

If you are interested in participating in unique and unparalleled experiences like the one mentioned above with small curated groups, please visit AdventureX to find out more. All itineraries are secret, spaces are limited to a select few and are open by invite.

AdventureX combines the mastermind concept with unique adventures on a whole new level. We create a trusted space for people to truly bond and connect while exploring comfort zones to gain perspective, overcome challenges and grow, both personally and professionally. Each experience has been built from the ground up leveraging our unique access across the globe. All itineraries are kept secret. Spaces are limited to a select few and are open by invite.

We also use these experiences as a catalyst to combine networks and resources for projects that will have a positive impact around the world on both people and the planet. www.adventurex.com

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Matt Prior

Aviation | Innovation | Collaboration | Technology | Space | Leadership | Exploration | Adventure | Turning ideas into reality 🌍 🚀 www.mattprior.co.uk