Space | 09. April 2014

Mission HI-SEAS: 'Life on Mars'

Lucie Poulet said goodbye to the outside world for four months; the scientist from the German Aerospace Center DLR is a crewmember in the Mars simulation run by the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Among other things, the 28-year-old scientist will use the second mission within the Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation (HI-SEAS) programme to study the influence that light of different wavelengths has on plants. But she will also be the subject of intense observation – the University of Hawaii is using the habitat to examine how the six participants behave and work together during the months of isolation. In this blog she tells about her ‘life on Mars’.


Summary of the training week

The HI-SEAS mission crew met on Friday 21 March and stayed at Henk Rogers' ranch until Tuesday morning. He is Chair of the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES). These first days were dedicated to getting to know each other, discussing issues that might arise during the mission (personal conflicts, problems at home, crew-ground disconnect, etc.) and familiarising ourselves with some of the tests and surveys we will have to take during these four months. The psychological study is the primary purpose of this mission, and will focus on crew performance and interaction.

On Monday 24 March we went to the habitat and received instructions on how to operate most of the systems.

Solar panels provide all the electrical energy needed in the habitat. Credit: HI-SEAS.

On Tuesday, we went to the Volcano National Park to study geology with a volcanologist from the University of Hawaii. We had many field trips and learned a lot about the Big Island's topography and volcanism – knowledge that we will need during our mission for several EVAs where we must recognise features like potentially habitable lava tubes.

The crew in front of a volcano crater. Credit: HI-SEAS.

View of a lava tube. Credit: HI-SEAS.

Top image: The HI-SEAS Crew on their first morning of the training week. Credit: HI-SEAS.