UPDATE (5 p.m. on Sept. 17) – After eight months sequestered away in a geodesic dome on the slopes of Mauna Loa, the six HI-SEAS crew members “felt the sun and wind on their faces and ate fresh tropical papaya, pineapple and bananas with friends and family,” University of Hawai‘i officials report.
Video recorded by the university showed the participants emerge from the dome after a countdown, followed by hugs and handshakes out on the Mars-like lower flank of the Hawai‘i Island volcano, 8,200 feet above seal level.
“One of the things I missed from home was Portuguese cooking because my parents and family are from the Azores, so we made some malasadas,” said Brian Ramos, Health and Performance Officer on the mission. “We made some calde verde, which is kale soup.”
The NASA-funded research project will help with the selection of crews for future long-duration space missions, such as a mission to Mars. The crew for the HI-SEAS Mission V simulated life in space where they could, including having to live with a communications delay, eating mostly shelf-stable foods and having to wear “space suits” outside of the habitat.
Mission V research entailed continuous monitoring of face-to-face interactions with sociometric badges, virtual reality team-based exercises to predict individual and team behavioral health and performance, and multiple stress and monitoring studies, project officials say.
The University of Hawai‘i has been operating the research project since 2012. Missions vary in length, including the successful completion of the year-long HI-SEAS IV Mission in August 2016.
The next HI-SEAS mission (VI) is scheduled to run from January 2018 to September 2018. Crew selection is being finalized, officials say.
(ORIGINAL STORY) – Six crew members participating in the fifth Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS Mission V, will emerge from their remote, domed habitat on Mauna Loa on Sunday, after living in the seclusion for the last 8 months.
This University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa research project is funded by NASA, and similar moments have been occurred in the past. The crew will be “welcomed back to Earth” after simulating a mission to another world, and invited to eat some foods that have been unavailable in the habitat. The crew will then conduct a short press conference, and individual interviews with media.
“Long term space travel is absolutely possible,” said Laura Lark, an IT specialist and crew member with HI-SEAS Mission V, “with There are certainly technical challenges to be overcome. There are certainly human factors to be figured out, that’s part of what HI-SEAS is for. But I think that overcoming those challenges is just a matter of effort. We are absolutely capable of it.”