6 Crewmembers Begin Year-Long Life on Mars Experiment

Sunday, August 30, 2015
HI-SEAS Mars experiment dome and container (photo: HI-SEAS)

A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) experiment to see if Star Trek-like missions to Mars might be feasible could end up more like The Odd Couple—times three.


Six scientists—three women and three men—on Friday entered a habitat in a remote area of the island of Hawaii to simulate how people will live on a long-duration mission such as one to Mars. The experiment subjects are scheduled to be isolated in their habitat for a year. A mission to Mars would take from one to three years to complete.


Previous Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) missions have locked away scientists for four and eight months and there were conflicts among the crew in those instances. The eight-month mission was completed in June.


“I think one of the lessons is that you really can’t prevent interpersonal conflicts. It is going to happen over these long-duration missions, even with the very best people,” principal investigator Kim Binsted told Agence France-Presse (AFP).


Carmel Johnson, a soil scientist, is the crew commander. The crew members are Christiane Heinicke, a physicist and engineer; Sheyna Gifford, who will be the health science officer and journalist; Andrzej Stewart, the chief engineering officer; Cyprien Verseux, a biologist; and Tistan Bassingthwaighte, an architect.


Each crew member will have his or her own bedroom and there are common spaces. The habitat itself is a geodesic dome with a former shipping container attached. The crew members will have limited access to the Internet and will be able to leave the habitat only if they’re dressed in a spacesuit.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

NASA Mars Isolation Experiment Starting in Hawaii (AFP)

Introducing the HI-SEAS IV Crewmembers – 365 Day Simulated Mars Mission (HI-SEAS)

The HI-SEAS Habitat (HI-SEAS)

An All-Female Mission to Mars (by Kate Greene, Slate)

One-Way Trip to Mars in 2023 Attracts Applicants from More Than 100 Nations (by Danny Biederman and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Six Astronauts to Begin 520-Day Mock Flight to Mars (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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