A six-member crew simulating a mission to Mars in Hawaiian island emerged out of the dome on Sunday, Aug. 28, 3 p.m. ET.
The members of the crew, Carmel Johnston, Christiane Heinicke, Sheyna E. Gifford, Andrzej Steward, Cyprien Verseux and Tristan Bassingthwaighte, exited the isolated dome after 12 long months on a mock mission to Mars. The mission, which is a part of the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation's (HI-SEAS) program, took place in the slopes of Mauna Loa — one of the largest active volcanos on earth.
The University of Hawaii's fourth HI-SEAS mission is the longest of all the earlier missions. The first mission, which took place in 2012 and lasted less than four months, is the shortest of all. The second and third missions of the NASA funded HI-SEAS program lasted for four and eight months respectively.
The objective of the mock mission is to help researchers understand how isolation as deep as in space impact human. The participants had limited contact with the outside world during their stay in the dome. The crew members were allowed to step out of the dome only wearing their spacesuits.
As a part of the mission the crew had to face various challenges like living on limited food supplies and delay in communication. In order to mimic the conditions in outer space the communication outside the dome was delayed for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, some of the participants have been sharing their experience through blog posts.
The crew members, after emerging out of the habitat, said that they were facing difficulties managing with limited ration supplies and being able to interact only with the crew members. They also had to face a problem in plumbing that had them bathing in few buckets for weeks. Verseux, one of the participants of the mission, said that the crew was "hoping for some sun," as they entered the real world after 12 months of deep isolation.
The HI-SEAS' fifth and sixth missions are set to happen for eight months in 2017 and 2018 and interested volunteers are invited to apply for the same. The applications are expected to be in by Sept. 5.
"The primary behavioral research program is the core research performed at HI-SEAS," notes HI-SEAS official report." "These studies focus on the need to identify psychological and psychosocial factors, measures, and combinations that can be used to compose highly effective teams for self-directing long-duration exploration missions."
Photo: Maxwell Hamilton | Flickr