Dr. Michaela Musilova is the director of Hawaii Area Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, which conducts analog missions to the moon and Mars for scientific analysis at a habitat on the volcano Mauna Loa. Presently, she is in charge of the two-week Valoria 1 mission and contributed this report back to Area.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Commander’s Report for the Valoria 1 Mars Mission at HI-SEAS
Sol 2 (Jan. 19, 2021)
Dome candy dome. That’s the title that the majority crews name HI-SEAS — the analog house analysis station in Hawaii. Generally it takes just a few days or even weeks for the crew to simply accept this station as a house. There are additionally instances when the crew instantly embraces the atmosphere that they’re residing in, despite the fact that it might be on a simulated model of Mars or the moon. The Valoria 1 crew that I am at present on Mars with appears to be accepting this dome-shaped station as their house in a short time. Not solely have they settled into their small crew quarters effectively, they’ve additionally opened up lots as individuals.
At this time’s dialog matters ranged from future profession prospects, to private physique points and deep romantic relationship discussions. I may barely get any work performed because the crew was on a roll leaping from subject to subject, all whereas exercising, working, cooking and cleansing. I did not need to tear myself away when my obligations have been calling. Whereas we should still must work on discovering an excellent steadiness between spending time collectively and dealing on our particular person tasks, this type of crew bonding so early within the mission is an excellent signal.
Our bonding actions have additionally included common crew train routines. Each crewmember is required to train for a minimum of 30 minutes daily, aside from on days once we do “Marswalks.” The spacewalks within the Martian terrain are typically very exhausting since we’re carrying heavy analog spacesuits and the lava rocks are tough to navigate by means of. Dust storms (aka rain storms on the volcano Mauna Loa, the place HI-SEAS is situated) have compelled us to remain indoors immediately, so the entire crew ended up taking up a fairly exhausting cardio and resistance coaching exercise.
We joked that we are actually grateful for having obtained a free “bathe” yesterday (Jan.18) once we arrived at HI-SEAS throughout a “mud storm” (rain). Throughout our mission, we solely have an allowance of 100 gallons (380 liters) of water for all the two-week mission. That features ingesting water, water for experiments and for cleansing. This normally signifies that the crew sacrifices showering all through the mission to save lots of water. Luckily, all of us appear mentally and bodily ready for that, so I am hopeful physique odors is not going to be a problem for us.
The Valoria 1 crew is made up of Operations Officer Karin Metzgar, who’s a mechanical engineer working in software program growth for house applications at Northrop Grumman. Throughout her time at HI-SEAS, she can be growing an robotic working system (ROS) code and a 3D map of the HI-SEAS habitat as analysis for her autonomous 3D-mapping drone undertaking that could possibly be used to explore lava tubes on Earth and past.
Our two crew engineering officers are Kevin Pratt and Michael Barton. Kevin is a principal avionics engineer at Blue Origin, liable for floor radio frequency (RF) communications techniques supporting the New Glenn program. His analysis at HI-SEAS will embody the testing of a software-defined radio (SDR) and antennas meant to obtain satellite tv for pc broadcast photographs from each polar-orbiting and geostationary climate satellites to reveal the potential for natural climate monitoring functionality on the habitat.
Michael is a propulsion engineer at Stratolaunch, using the world’s largest airplane to launch hypersonic (sooner than the pace of sound) autos. Throughout the mission, he can be researching flight applied sciences helpful for rising the scientific worth of a base on Mars, whereas additionally conducting an outreach undertaking by creating academic movies highlighting parallels between HI-SEAS and the Mars exploration recreation “Occupy Mars.”
We even have two communications officers on the crew: Hillary Coe and MaryLiz Bender. Hillary was a human expertise and design chief at SpaceX, accountable partially for the communication efforts behind NASA’s Industrial Crew Program (for which SpaceX developed the Crew Dragon astronaut taxi). She can be working with SpaceX’s Starship program, which goals to ship people to the moon and Mars sometime on a Tremendous Heavy rocket. She is right here to check Marswalk supplies, communication applied sciences, psychological well being instruments and different elements crucial for a nominal Martian/lunar expertise.
MaryLiz is a futurist composer and house age storyteller, who co-founded the corporate Cosmic Perspective and based the group Zero-G Music. Throughout the Valoria 1 mission, she is going to give attention to the ways in which music and artwork assist the crew join with themselves, one another, and people again on Earth.
My title is Dr. Michaela Musilova and I’m the Director of HI-SEAS. I would be the Commander of the Valoria 1 crew throughout our two week Martian mission. Truly, I can be main 4 different missions after the Valoria 1 mission over the subsequent few months, so that is simply the beginning of my life “off-world” this yr. Final yr, I spent nearly as a lot time on the moon and Mars as I did on Earth. Despite the fact that I actually get pleasure from collaborating in these analog missions, it does grow to be tough to stay in these very restrictive situations for lengthy durations of time. However, it’s my dream to go to the moon and hopefully Mars in the future, so these experiences are undoubtedly an excellent preparation for that.
Commander Musilova signing off to mentally put together for the marathon of missions which are forward of me.
Observe Michaela Musilova on Twitter @astro_Michaela. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.