Dr. Michaela Musilova is the director of Hawaii House 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. At the moment, she is answerable for the two-week Selene IV lunar mission and contributed this report back to House.com’s Professional Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Commander’s report for the Selene IV moon mission at HI-SEAS
Lunar day 6 (March 18, 2021)
The alien mud machine — that’s what the Selene IV crew has been blaming for the unhealthy climate that we have now been having throughout our analog lunar mission. At the moment is our sixth day on mission and we have now barely been capable of see something exterior our window because of the large mud storm raging exterior the habitat (aka a thick fog exterior the HI-SEAS habitat on the volcano Mauna Loa in Hawaii).
The crew shortly turned skeptical that such storms would happen naturally on the moon, so as a substitute they blame aliens for this exercise.
Personally, I am reasonably comfortable that the “aliens” are accused of complicating the situations of our mission as a substitute of me. Quite a few earlier crews used to joke that I am turning on a hidden fog machine to problem them and make them cope with being caught indoors for lengthy intervals of time.
Throughout our analog missions, crews cannot depart the habitat throughout unhealthy climate. That is each for his or her security to not get misplaced and damage within the “mud storms,” but in addition as a result of our simulated spacesuits would get broken in such situations. This 12 months, the climate has positively been retaining the crews on their toes throughout our missions! Or is it actually aliens which can be torturing us?
The Selene IV crew determined to take the offensive and requested that our volunteers from the Mission Assist workforce on Earth ask the U.S. House Pressure to destroy the aliens’ mud machines. Humorous sufficient, a neighborhood army base in Hawaii, which we have now nicknamed “House Pressure,” has truly began testing their artillery close to our HI-SEAS habitat. Whereas they haven’t but “destroyed the mud machines,” we respect their efforts to assist us — at the very least that’s what my crewmembers inform themselves to seek out consolation from each the mud storms and the fixed bombing noise that we hear coming from “House Pressure.”
All jokes apart, the true consolation that we have now skilled throughout our mission has been from each other. The crew has been retaining themselves busy with their analysis tasks and enjoyable group actions, equivalent to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. The whole habitat reworked right into a forest of clovers inside a few hours and so did our meals. All the things was both inexperienced or clover-shaped. Despite the fact that I teased my crewmembers for his or her enthusiasm to have fun this event in type, I used to be very comfortable that it cheered all of them up and that they labored so nicely collectively to make our time on mission much more particular.
The nice teamwork and “taking one for the workforce perspective” additionally manifested itself when it was time to do chores. At HI-SEAS, we have now a urinal that everybody wants to make use of, no matter gender. On this method, we shield the compost bogs from being “drowned” by an excessive amount of liquid from the crew’s urine. After a number of months, the urinal filter must be changed and that is positively not probably the most nice job to do. Our Crew Engineer Jack Bryan kindly took on this disagreeable obligation and I volunteered myself to empty the compost bogs midway via the mission. It is a essential chore and I do not thoughts doing it, as I do know that the majority crewmembers battle to cope with the views and smells which can be concerned with that obligation.
These crew interactions have been an important supply of inspiration for Science Communication Officer Monica Parks. She prepares the social media textual content and footage, which Mission Assist volunteers then put up on the HI-SEAS social media pages. Monica has additionally been observing the crew for her analysis examine. She has discovered that there are numerous similarities in the best way every one of many crewmembers has reacted to rejection and obstacles in life. The spirit of perseverance may be very robust with this group of analog astronauts. For the rest of our time right here, Monica can be having extra in-depth conversations with the crew to verify her numerous observations about our resilience and drive.
Rising several types of crops has been one other supply of distractions and constructive power for the crew. These embrace the Mission to Mars rising spinach utilizing human hair experiment that the Selene III crew began, in addition to our long-term hydroponic greenhouse Lettuce Develop experiment within the habitat. Crew Operations Officer Lori Waters has been taking good care of these experiments along with Jack. Lori’s private venture can also be centered on meals crop manufacturing strategies to supply nutrient-dense clovers and microgreens. The clover seeds within the ExoLab experiment, which is paired with the Magnitude.io experiment aboard the ISS, have germinated. They’ve a primary set of leaves displaying robust improvement on this excessive setting at HI-SEAS.
In situ useful resource utilization (ISRU) Mission Specialist Cameron Crowell’s analysis depends on gathering samples from the encompassing analog regolith throughout a moonwalk, which hasn’t been attainable but because of the mud storms. Within the meantime, he has been making ready his methods for buying the geologic samples, since we could solely get a really quick window between mud storms to carry out a moonwalk. Cameron has been documenting life within the habitat for outreach functions as nicely, equivalent to for the House Frontier Basis that he is on the board of administrators for.
Our Crew Techniques Engineer Invoice O’Hara has accomplished a lot of his information gathering duties in help of a habitat design and operations case examine. This venture on HI-SEAS is for the Sierra Nevada Corp., the place he is a lead methods engineer. Invoice has additionally accomplished preparations for evaluating lava tubes for habitability, pending the chance to execute moonwalks. Like Cameron, he has ready all of his gear to be as simple to make use of within the area as attainable, regardless of the time constraints for moonwalks and the restrictions of our analog spacesuits.
Jack is yet one more crewmember that has been restricted by the mud storms which can be raging exterior. He thus centered on an preliminary catalog of the habitat’s waste supplies for mixture with in situ harvested supplies throughout moonwalks. Jack has been stunned by the outcomes so far, which is why he’s reevaluating his preliminary hybrid materials composition estimates. The crew generates a substantial quantity of paper waste, however considerably much less plastic waste than he anticipated. For these causes, he’s trying into the potential of including a number of the fibrous paper waste into the hybrid materials so as to add toughness, which might be much like how fiberglass works with resin.
Commander Musilova signing off to a different night time of retaining our fingers crossed that the alien mud machines can be destroyed. “House Pressure” could have extra luck tonight in order that we’ll be capable of enterprise on our first moonwalk of the mission tomorrow. If not, I am positive that the crew will provide you with yet one more enjoyable approach to maintain ourselves from turning into lunatics on the moon.
Observe Michaela Musilova on Twitter @astro_Michaela. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.