Mars simulation crew to exit Mauna Loa habitat after 8 months

Six people will celebrate their return from “Mars” this weekend.

The crew members entered a geodesic dome on Mauna Loa back in January for an eight-month simulation activity.

It’s part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project, which has been operating long-duration planetary surface missions to investigate crew composition since 2012.

Crew members say they’ve learned a lot during their time in “space.”

“We have mostly a loving relationship, but there are times where you can get frustrated. So my advice for the next crew is to stay patient and remember that even though the habitat can kind of take care of itself, that you are a steward for it,” said Ansley Barnard, engineering officer.

“My advice to mission six is say, ‘Yes.’ If you have an opportunity whether it’s filming or learning a new science skill or flying the drone, going out to a lava tube, whatever it is, say, ‘Yes,’” said Brian Ramos, health and performance officer. “Take leadership on things. Honestly you can come out of here in eight months learning a ton of stuff.”

What’s the first thing you do when you come back from an eight-month trip to “Mars”?

For this crew, it will be eating food that they couldn’t get in the habitat.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa research project is funded by NASA.

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