Here are some interesting blog posts from our Crew Writer Kate Greene in Discover Magazine.
“Starting next week, I will begin a simulated Mars mission. For 120 days, my five crewmates and I will live on the red, rocky slopes of the Hawaiian volcano called Mauna Loa. We will eat, sleep, work, exercise and relax inside a two-story dome that offers a little less than 1000 square feet of floor space. When we go outside, we will wear mock spacesuits. There will be very little sunshine, no fresh fruit, and no ocean breeze. But there will be science.”
“On Mars the sky is red, but sunsets are blue thanks to optical properties of dust in the air, which scatters light differently when it comes in at evening angles. We’ve been on simulated Mars for three days (as of the time of this writing) and in this time, I’ve yet to see the sky, let alone a sunset. Our habitat is windowless.”
“I haven’t been sleeping well. Or at least not as well as I slept before the mission. I know because I keep track of my sleep with a device that straps to my forehead and sends data about my brain activity, eye movements and facial muscle twitches to a souped-up alarm clock near my bed. The system is called Zeo Personal Sleep Manager, and I’ve convinced my fellow crew mates to use it too.”
“Our Mars days resemble, in many ways, a day on Earth. We cook. We do dishes. Take out the trash. We fix leaky pipes. We work. But we’re also participants in a study to help NASA explore new ways to feed astronauts on a lunar or Martian outpost. As such, we fill out a lot of surveys and are subject to a number of tests. This week, we started inspection of our noses.”
“There’s no fresh fruit on Mars. We don’t have fresh vegetables, either, and our food is nowhere near “local.” Most of our meals are made of freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients that we either rehydrate or just eat crunchy. There are a couple of reasons that dehydrated and freeze-dried foods reign on the HI-SEAS simulated Mars mission.”
“One month down. On Wednesday we had a party to celebrate. We listened to a retro playlist of The Who, Missy Elliott, Alanis Morissette, and the Monkees. We made spam musubi and chocolate cake. We drank lemonade spiked with dehydrated raspberries, mangos, pineapple and papaya. (Alas, alcohol is not allowed on the mission.) And at sunset, we unveiled a window installed earlier that day, a porthole to lava fields, distant volcanoes and a glorious orange globe. We toasted to the window, to the sun, to our camaraderie and to only three more months left to go.”