A mission to ‘Mars’ at the HI-SEAS habitat: Live updates


2020-11-07T15:04:27.183ZSol 5: Martian pancakes and EVAsSol 5 (Nov. 6), I awoke vivid and early as standard (due to the jetlag from leaping time zones (Earth to Mars is a severe leap)) and joined my crewmates downstairs for a Martian pancake breakfast. So far, Martian pancakes are my favourite off-planet meals. Since there aren’t “weekends,” on Mars like we’d have on Earth, I and the remainder of the crew took this morning as a relaxation interval, not dashing by our duties and, as a substitute, catching up on our Earth communications and making progress with analysis initiatives. Before I knew it, nevertheless, it was already time for the second Marswalk, or EVA, of the mission.Because I went Marswalking yesterday (and can’t WAIT to go once more), chief science communication officer Beth Mund and chief engineering officer Amanda Knutson, together with vice commander Richelle Gribble and commander Michaela Musilova ventured out onto the Martian floor immediately.But, since I used to be not outdoors for the Marswalk, it was my obligation to function habcom (habitat communicator), primarily holding tabs on the crew and ensuring that they have been secure all through the expedition. To do that, I monitored cameras arrange round the outdoors of the habitat (to see them after they left and returned) and communicated with them by Bluetooth communication units all of us wore (all of it felt very “Star Trek,” I’ll be trustworthy.)After they returned from exploring the Martian terrain and all of us filed our each day mission stories (an essential a part of any house mission), I set the stage for a Martian rock live performance.When I’m not writing about house and science, I’m writing and taking part in music as “Foxanne,” so I introduced a small travel-sized guitar and tonight “after hours,” I placed on a efficiency of authentic music for my crewmates. The efficiency centered round one track, titled “Let it Ache,” (which premieres Nov. 9), which is about the winter in New York and the way good it feels to really feel the solar in your pores and skin and see inexperienced issues rising once more. To me, the sentiment instantly parallels the experiences of astronauts. For me even now, after just some days on Mars not feeling the outdoors breeze or seeing lush Earth plant progress, I’m already craving its candy, candy return.

2020-11-06T16:20:00.784ZSol 4: I take my first Marswalk!Today (Sol 4, November 5), I awoke to a lovely sunny day on Mars. I checked my e mail to see if there was any election information (which, there wasn’t a lot that was new) and I ready for my first-ever EVA (extravehicular exercise), or Marswalk! With the habitat (or dome) now at simply 9 p.c water and with a resupply mission nonetheless days away (our water provide is ready to arrive Sol 7 (Nov. 8)) I shunned showering with the remainder of the crew. (Don’t choose me, we’d like to save water to drink!) In preparation for our first EVA (extravehicular exercise, or spacewalk, which passed off this afternoon, commander Musilova gave us an outline on the historical past of analog EVAS, and particularly EVAs at the HI-SEAS habitat. Following this presentation, she walked us by geology fundamentals and what kinds of rock are native to the habitat web site.Finally — it was time for my first EVA, EVA1 for this mission. Commander Musilova walked us by how to placed on our spacesuits, helmets and connect one another’s life assist backpacks — and we have been prepared to go! After ready in the airlock to modify to the Martian pressures, we stepped out and I took my first steps on a Martian floor in the go well with. Image 1 of 5(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image 2 of 5(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image Three of 5(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image Four of 5(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image 5 of 5(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)We went on a comparatively brief EVA — nearly an hour — and journeyed out to two completely different places close by the dome. First, we went to the “waterfall of death,” because it’s been so properly nicknamed. Funny factor, there’s no water at the waterfall of dying. Rather, it’s a big crater in the volcano and, over one among the sides of the crater, hardened pahoehoe lava (easy, flowy lava that hardens in “elephant skin” trying patterns) cascades over the edge. After taking in the sights and catching my breath, as it’s EXHAUSTING traversing the Martian terrain in a heavy helmet and life assist backpack (it will be tough with out the heavy gear, the lava rocks are difficult to navigate), we checked out “Mordor” (sure, as in THAT Mordor) — an enormous lava tube that’s so foreboding that not solely can people not discover it, however even robotic devices have had severe issue peering inside. Exhausted and thrilled from the journey, we returned to the dome and stretched. I’m sore and slightly bit out of breath after the expertise however I can not WAIT to do it yet again.

2020-11-05T22:06:52.948ZSol 3: Low energy on MarsToday (Sol 3, November 4), I awoke to a chilly habitat, making an attempt in useless to change the gentle on. Going downstairs to examine additional and confirmed that the habitat was (quickly) with out energy. As different crewmembers awoke, we bought collectively some breakfast that didn’t require electrical energy to make and warmed ourselves up.When commander Musilova awoke, she confirmed what she suspected the evening earlier than — the overcast skies on Sol 2 (Nov. 3), prompted two of the three habitat batteries to drain. And, whereas the third battery was shut to full at 85 p.c, it didn’t robotically activate when the different two have been spent. But quickly after commander Musilov cycled (turned on and off once more) the three batteries, they began again up, the two empty cells shortly began to cost and we had energy once more.(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Once “on,” we resumed (and completed) the habitat stock — checking what meals and cleansing provides we’ve got and the way a lot of every is left. Inventory shall be accomplished once more at the finish of the mission, exhibiting how a lot of the provides we used and required, informing future missions.Following stock we had lunch. I’m fortunate in that a lot of the crew members on this mission are wonderful cooks and bakers (personally, I’m engaged on it), however it’s definitely an adjustment consuming solely shelf-stable Mars meals. No recent produce in any way, every part has to be rehydrated and, not solely does the meals style … completely different … it additionally takes quite a bit longer to cook dinner so we’ve been rotating cooking and cleansing duties.After consuming, all of us resumed our particular person analysis initiatives and work although, at one level all of us determined {that a} temporary nap was crucial. Here on Mars, even inside our habitat, there’s barely much less oxygen than we’re used to again at our respective houses on Earth. So, whereas we’re all ready to full our analysis and train on daily basis, it’s essential that all of us are cautious to not push ourselves too arduous bodily. It’s a marathon on Mars, not a dash.Image 1 of 4(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image 2 of 4(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image Three of 4(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image Four of 4(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)This afternoon, we had deliberate to full EVA (extravehicular exercise, also called spacewalks or, on this case, Marswalks) coaching with Commander Musilova and probably even exit on our first EVA, a brief exploration shut to the habitat. However, as a result of we bought a later begin with our analysis and each day duties than anticipated due to the energy outage, EVA1, the first EVA of the mission, could have to look forward to tomorrow (if the climate holds, fingers crossed.)(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)One added fascinating tidbit about the mission, Sensoria M2, is that we are going to not have a resupply of water till Sunday. We began the mission with roughly 64 gallons of water and, whereas we’ve got loads of water for ingesting (in reality, ingesting water and staying hydrated is of the utmost significance throughout the mission), the crew is foregoing showers till the water resupply arrives. Many of us have deodorant, biodegradable physique wipes and dry shampoo to get us by the shower-less week, however it’s definitely an adjustment from the availability of water the place we’re all from again on Earth — definitely a luxurious, we’re reminded.

2020-11-04T22:27:05.275ZToday (Sol 2, November Three again on Earth), I awoke to my first full day on Mars. Now, whereas immediately has been an enormous studying curve in some ways, immediately can be the  U.S. presidential election again on Earth — a wierd first day on Mars for certain.Because of the jetlag (Mars is a great distance from house), I awoke a bit sooner than standard and, after stretching a bit and taking in some deep breaths as I get used to the barely decrease oxygen ranges, my crewmates have been awake and arduous at work getting breakfast collectively — cooking is a process that we rotate between crew members. Over shelf secure pancakes, we mentioned the day forward, what we wanted to accomplish, and the way we would like obtain election information because it is available in. Now, our solely communication with Earth is thru e mail so these of us who needed to learn (which I do) emailed the mission assist crew, which helps CAPCOM at mission management, requesting that they e mail us data because it turns into obtainable. With the communications delay we nonetheless received’t know issues as they occur, however it’s comparatively fast (for Mars.)Image 1 of two(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Image 2 of two(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)After breakfast, I carried out a microbial examine — every crew member has an assigned function and, as Chief Science Officer, I conduct three of those research all through the length of the mission. I led the crew by a “swab party,” the place we swabbed our our bodies and I swabbed the habitat. These samples will add to a physique of information exhibiting what microbes live on us and in the habitat whereas on Mars.Following the microbial examine, chief medical officer Brandy Nunez went over how we’ll accumulate each day vitals (temperature, quantity of sleep, basic situation, meals consumed) to observe the crew’s well being.The view of “Mars” outdoors the HI-SEAS habitat window. (Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)Next, all of us went over some extra particulars of residing in the habitat — how to use the (very difficult) toilet system, issues to bear in mind when utilizing the kitchen and amenities, and the way to preserve water, electrical energy and even private power as a lot as doable. We then break up into groups to full stock of the meals and cleansing provides so we are able to be aware of what we’ve got to guarantee we’ll have sufficient and to inform future crews.Later in the night, as clouds rolled in overlaying our photo voltaic array, we entered a “low power mode,” which means that each one non-essential energy was eradicated — lights turned off, units unplugged, and so on. It appears as if the climate is getting barely higher so the crew just isn’t too frightened, however we could have to wait to see what comes with the climate.(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)I’ve not but acquired the outcomes of immediately’s election and am undecided the way it will really feel. It is not any secret that this election is extraordinarily charged and, being remoted on Mars with a brand new crew in a small house, it’s definitely a singular state of affairs. However, final evening, the crew met to talk about our expectations with how we’d react to all get on the similar web page as, with human house exploration, crew communication is vital.

2020-11-02T17:35:09.076ZNext Stop: ‘Mars’ in Hawaii(Image credit score: Chelsea Gohd/Space.com)It’s official, I’m on my method to Mars! This morning at roughly 8:30 a.m. PST, I touched down in San Francisco, midway to the Big Island of Hawaii the place the HI-SEAS habitat is situated on the slopes of Mauna Loa.A few of my Mars crewmembers will be part of me for the flight and, in just some brief hours we’ll arrive at Kona and shortly start the drive to the habitat. We shall be touring instantly from the airport to “Mars” to get rid of any extra danger of contamination from the novel coronavirus — it’s definitely unusual leaving Earth for Mars throughout a pandemic, the day earlier than a serious Presidential election.

2020-10-28T21:31:13.748ZSpace.com goes to Mars(Image credit score: Space.com/Chelsea Gohd)It’s lastly taking place, I’m going to Mars! Well, not likely, however I’ll becoming a member of a simulated Mars mission at the HI-SEAS habitat in Hawaii in November alongside astrobiologist and crew commander Michaela Musilova (who can be director of HI-SEAS), Air Force airman and chief engineering officer Amanda Knutson, veterinarian and chief medical officer Brandy Nunez,  science author and crew science communication officer Beth Mund and artist and crew vice commander Richelle Gribble. The mission shall be a part of the Sensoria program, which goals to assist underrepresented teams inside the house sector. “All of our missions will be female-led and female-majority. We, of course, will welcome with open arms our male colleagues, but we believe that women need to be placed at the center of our shared vision for space exploration, that women need to be given a platform for professional development, opportunities for research and training,” bioengineer and Sensoria co-founder J.J. Hastings, who serves as the CEO of Analogs LLC, an organization that backs the Sensoria program, informed Space.com in January. 

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