MoEP-Virtual Mars Mission Application

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The Virtual Mars Mission (VMM), carried out for the first time in Türkiye by MoEP on January 2-8, 2023, was designed as the first step of a mission series. It is planned to continue the mission series according to applications and demand.

The work will continue as long as there is excitement and participation in the space ecosystem. After each mission, the feedback received from both our virtual mission moderators and the crew is meticulously examined, and efforts are made to better prepare for the next mission and to develop opportunities and capabilities.

MoEP-Virtual Mars Mission Privileges

The most significant feature that distinguishes the MoEP-Virtual Mars Mission series from its counterparts on Earth is that the communication with the mission crew is simulated using the Es’hail 2/QO-100 amateur communication satellite, which is a real satellite in 36.000 km GEO orbit and the MoEP-Amateur Satellite Communication Stations. Throughout the entire series, satellite communication infrastructure will be used.

Being a Virtual Mars Mission crew provides the participants with privileges to enrich their resumes and improve themselves by giving them skills that they can use in space and in many different areas of their careers.

Astronauts have become experts in more than one discipline in the fields of basic sciences and engineering to take an active role in space studies and show superior competence. Astronauts become analog astronauts by simulating space missions in analog environments as part of their training before space missions.

MoEP designed the first Analog Mars Station in Türkiye and prepared Virtual Mars Missions to train analog astronauts and test analog mission scenarios and communication infrastructure. As a Virtual Mars Mission crew, we can say that you have taken the first step in your space career.

The crew that completes the mission is rewarded with a certificate and registered as an analog astronaut candidate. Applicants considered as candidates have priority in applications to perform a real analog Mars mission within the Analog Station. However, candidates for real analog assignments still have to go through a medical examination.

Steps to Become a MoEP-Analog Astronaut

MoEP places particular emphasis on analog astronaut training procedures. That’s why analog astronauts are encouraged to undergo specific training. MoEP volunteers have priority in the selection of analog astronauts. The process proceeds as follows.

  • A MoEP volunteer candidate first completes the “MoEP-Volunteering Course” and submits a volunteer application with a certificate of completion of this course.
  • In the second step, they prepare themselves for analog tasks by participating in virtual tasks.
  • Finally, they get the chance to join analog station missions as a crew.

Virtual Mars Mission Application Criteria

MoEP-Virtual Mars Missions are shaped according to the applicant teams’ and individuals’ training and expertise, and the research focus of the missions assigned to the teams is directed in this way.

Students and experts in fundamental sciences, engineering, medicine, education, health, and many other fields can apply for MoEP-Virtual Mars Mission. Undergraduate students, graduate students, experts, and professionals in the area can participate.

After the application, you will be notified that you have been evaluated, and then you will be contacted again when it is finalized.

It is enough to have a stable internet connection, camera, and microphone for participating in the virtual mission. Active mission meetings are conducted on the online meeting platform, where the link address and password will be shared with you. The whole participation process is free of charge.

Apart from Turkish participants, international participants also participate in our virtual missions individually and as a team. As a result of the evaluation of the applications, scientists and undergraduate students from different cultures are included in mixed teams. In this case, English is used as the common communication language.

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Application Process

All applications will be received with the MoEP-Virtual Mars Application Form.

MoEP-Virtual Mars Application Form

Applications can be made directly as a team or individually. Teams must consist of at least 7 people. MoEP prioritizes team applications, and teams that come first are recruited at the appropriate interval in the Virtual Mars calendar.

Teams in team applications;

  • The team should determine the code names,
  • They need to design team logos,
  • They should determine the role/duty distribution of the crew.

The team name and logo should be chosen within the framework of the general rules accepted by everyone, and should not contain content that offends any country, thought, person, and/or institution.

The criteria for roles and duties are as follows;

  • 1 Mission Commander,
  • 1 CAPCOM Officer,
  • 1 Communications Officer,
  • 1 Safety Officer,
  • 1 crew must also be appointed as Research/laboratory Specialist.

Apart from the 5 mandatory roles, other roles that the relevant team can choose in accordance with their field of expertise are listed in the application form.

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In individual applications, the applicant completes his/her application by declaring his/her field of expertise and education. Individual applicants are grouped by the MoEP and assigned to the teams to be formed by the MoEP. In these teams, mission titles are distributed to the crew by MoEP.

In individual applications, the process may take longer as 7 separate applications are expected to form a team. During the evaluation phase, individuals are informed via e-mail.

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Things to consider when filling out the application form;

  • First, you must pay attention to the accuracy of the information you have entered before submitting the form and applying with an accessible and active e-mail address.
  • As it is a study with international participants, the form is filled in English.
  • The information on the first page of the form must be filled in by all applicants.
  • Individual applicants can submit their forms after completing the first page.
  • In team applications, it should be continued on the second page to be opened.
  • On the second page, general information about the team will be entered. This page must be completed by all team members.
  • The team member who chooses “Mission Commander” as the mission title is transferred to a third page.
  • As the mission commander, she/he is responsible for listing the members of her/his team and uploading the team logo.

Mission Planning

MoEP-Virtual Mars Mission crew must attend 3 separate online trainings for mission preparation before the mission period assigned to their team. These are listed as follows:

  • Meeting crew members and the mission planning,
  • Training of specific theoretical and technical knowledge that the crew will need depending on their area of expertise,
  • Explaining mission reporting system in practice.

The training last approximately two hours. Apart from the training, the mission moderators actively stay in contact with the crew and support the crew’s preparation for the mission.

Teams can apply for 7, 14, or 21-day mission periods. These mission periods will represent 7, 14, and 21 SOL Mars days. It will vary between 1-3 hours that crew members will spend daily. Time includes daily SOL meetings and preparation of mission reports.

Mission Reporting Process

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During the mission, emergency scenario implementation is carried out on Wednesdays. No meeting is held during the days when emergency scenarios are applied, and no daily reporting is made.

During the Virtual Mars Mission, mission assignments are made to the crew on a daily basis. The reporting of research tasks, which are among these tasks, is a matter of particular interest.

The purpose of research tasks is to carry out the necessary theoretical background and planning on the research topic. At this point, the reports focused on the experimental designs to be made. Such reports will provide valuable outputs to be evaluated for implementation within the MoEP-Analog Mars Research Station.

Expectations from crew on research missions;

  • Scientific study discipline,
  • Time discipline,
  • Working and getting support by exchanging ideas with the crew in different areas,
  • Purpose and result-oriented scientific document production,
  • Brainstorming on the applicability of theoretical knowledge in the field.

How Can You Support Virtual Mars Missions?

First of all, it is important to express that you voluntarily support a scientific study. If we talk about the various methods of this, it is important that you subscribe to our social media addresses in order to be informed about such studies in a timely manner to follow the notifications, to provide likes and/or comments support to the published posts, and to enable us to reach more people by sharing them on your own social networks.

The aim here is to create an environment and culture where we can talk and discuss the same issue to enable new ideas to sprout rather than form a more crowded group or stand out.

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In order to contribute to the MoEP-Virtual Mars Mission Series, amateur radio operators who follow the daily mission assignment and daily mission reporting message screens performed over the QO-100 satellite will be entitled to receive follower certificates.

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A “Boarding Ticket” application has also been created for MoEP-Virtual Mars Missions. Gifts will be given to one lucky person by drawing a lottery among all participants who provide support by sending messages to the crew through this application.


With the support of MoEP Virtual Mars Mission sponsors, the material needs of MoEP School Mars Bases are met. In this way, it is aimed to supply materials such as Raspberry Pi and/or Arduino boards and electronic components such as sensors, cables, hats, t-shirts, etc., for school Mars bases. Sponsors supporting the MoEP-Virtual Mars Mission Series will be published with their logos and names in the articles and social media posts during the mission.

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