Mission to Mars: Testing Space Technology in the Negev Desert with Dr. Hillel Rubinstein of D-MARS

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In this episode of First Things First, I sit down with Dr. Hillel Rubinstein of Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station, or D-MARS, an analog mission center created to test what humans may be able to do on other planets.

The Story:
D-MARS Brings the Mars Experience to the Negev Desert

Dr. Hillel Rubinstein is a physicist who helped found Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station, an analog mission center designed to allow for testing of technology, science, psychology, and other things that may be relevant to human and robotic space exploration. Hillel shares his experiences participating in missions and testing technologies that could be used on Mars.

The Lesson:
Put Your Technology to the Test in Harsh Environments

Whether you’re creating the next great technology to be used in Mars or just developing an IoT application for your organization, there is a lot that you can take away from Hillel’s story:

  • Choose the right IoT partners. Successful IoT solutions are not created in a vacuum. You need to work with technology partners that can support and guide you.
  • Test your IoT solutions in extreme environments. If your IoT solution is going to be used in harsh conditions, you need to see how it works in these types of environments.
  • Test the limits of your IoT solutions. When you test the limits of your IoT solutions, you are better able to see which environments they can work in and what other applications they may have.

About Our Guest: Dr. Hillel Rubinstein

Dr. Hillel Rubinstein is one of the founders and the project manager of Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station (D-MARS). He also founded the Israeli Young Astronauts Academy at the Davidson Institute for Science Education. He completed a PhD in Physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Earth and Planetary Imaging Facility (EPIF) at the Ben Gurion University of Negev.

To learn more about Hillel and his fellow Ramonauts, visit https://www.d-mars.org/d-mars-01.

Show Notes

Don’t miss some of this episode’s memorable moments:

1:09 – Meet Dr. Hillel Rubinstein, one of the founders and project manager for Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station (D-MARS).

4:20 Hillel shares what it’s like to experience one of these analog missions.

5:51 – Chris and Hillel chat about the vital role that education plays when it comes to space exploration.

9:09 – Hillel describes how they used IoT technology to track Ramonaut health at the D-MARS mission center.

10:51 – Chris and Hillel discuss the importance of robust hardware when implementing IoT solutions in difficult environments.

18:02 – Hillel discusses the 10-minute delay in communication that they experience at the D-MARS mission center and how this impacts communication on Mars.

22:39 – Hillel talks more about the D-MARS call for volunteers and how those who are interested can get involved. (You don’t have to be a physicist!)

25:54 – Hillel discusses the future of D-MARS and what he is looking forward to in future missions as they continue to develop the mission center.



“It was amazing because I didn’t expect it, but we felt like we were on Mars because of the place and location. You also behave like you’re on Mars. You are not getting out of the habitat without space suits and you are not communicating with anyone but the control center with a 10-minute time delay.”

“Many people think that it’s very far away – Mars, space missions, and so on – and maybe it’s better to put money in other places. But one of our goals is to show that this is a mistake. There is so much benefit to humanity in preparing for Mars missions and missions to the moon.”

“Testing in a clean and nice environment is one thing. But if you go into an isolated place with dust in a situation that’s under pressure where people have been in a small space for a long time, this gives you another view about your system.”

Additional Resources

About Our Sponsor

First Things First is sponsored by Telit, a global provider of wireless connectivity modules, platforms, IoT operator services and professional services. Telit supports thousands of direct and indirect customers by enabling hundreds of millions of connected ‘things.’ With almost two decades of IoT innovation experience, Telit delivers secure, integrated end-to-end IoT solutions for many of the world’s largest brands, including enterprises, OEMs, system integrators, and service providers across industries.