Now in its sixth year, theÂ University ofÂ HawaiiÂ at ManoaÂ HawaiiÂ Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is set to begin its next mission with the most international crew in the history of the research project. The four astronaut-like MissionÂ VIÂ crewmembers hail from Australia, Korea, Scotland and Slovakia.
- Sukjin Han:Â an assistant professor in economics at University of Texas at Austin, specializing in econometrics. His research focuses mainly on developing statistical methods to evaluate causal effects of treatments or interventions, such as medical interventions, social programs or economic policies. He is particularly interested in settings where treatments are endogenously determined by agents in the system, due to the optimization and interaction of the agents.
- Michaela Musilova: An astrobiologist with a research focus on life in extreme environments (extremophiles). Her astrobiology and space research experience includes working on astrobiology and planetary protection research projects at theÂ NASAÂ Jet Propulsion Laboratory; simulating lunar and planetary surfaces throughÂ NASAâ€™s and theÂ UKÂ Space Agencyâ€™s MoonLite project; searching for exoplanets at the University of London Observatory; and being an analogue astronaut at the Mars Desert Research Station,Â USAÂ in 2014 and 2017.
- Calum Hervieu: An astrophysicist and systems engineer, who grew up in rural Scotland. Prior to joiningÂ HI-SEASÂ MissionÂ VI, Hervieu was part of the SpaceshipÂ EACÂ initiative at European Space Agencyâ€™s European Astronaut Centre, Germany, where he was working to develop goals and best practices for future human and robotic missions to the lunar surface.
- Lisa Stojanovski:Â professional science communicator who is passionate about making humanity a spacefaring civilization. In 2017, Stojanovski toured remote and regional Australia with the Shell Questacon Science Circus to earn a master of science communication outreach. Stojanovski creates content for the live web showÂ TMRO, while managing the Australian chapter of the Space Generation Advisory Council.
At approximately 5 p.m.Â HawaiiÂ Standard Time on Thursday, February 15, they will enter a geodesic dome habitat atop Mauna Loa on the island ofÂ HawaiiÂ as part of an eight-month research study of human behavior and performance. TheÂ NASA-funded project aims to help determine the individual and team requirements for long-duration space exploration missions, including travel to Mars.
The crew started nine days of briefings and training on Wednesday, February 7, joined by scientific researchers and mission support to prepare forÂ HI-SEASÂ MissionÂ VI.
HI-SEASÂ Principal Investigator andÂ UHÂ Manoa Professor,Â Kim BinstedÂ is excited about the international diversity of MissionÂ VIÂ and the roleÂ HI-SEASÂ plays in understanding human behavior and performance in space.
“This is the first time weâ€™ve selected a crew that includes members from four different countries of origin. AsÂ HI-SEASÂ is an international collaboration between researchers, mission support and crew, it is great to see this diversity reflected in the MissionÂ VIÂ crew,” said Binsted.”For humans to successfully undertake a long-duration spaceflight to Mars, it will require a global collaboration, and so it seems appropriate that our MissionÂ VIÂ begins with this spirit of internationalism.”
During the eight-month mission the crew will perform exploration tasks such as geological fieldwork and life systems management. The mission is conducted under isolated and confined conditions designed to be similar to those of a planetary surface exploration mission. For example, all communications are delayed by 20 minutes in each direction to simulate the time it takes a message to travel between Earth and Mars. Daily routines include food preparation from only shelf-stable ingredients, exercise, research and field work aligned with NASAâ€™s planetary exploration expectations.
Under the watchful eye of the research team and supported by experienced mission control, the crew will participate in multiple primary and opportunistic research studies. The primary research is conducted by scientists from across the United States who are at the forefront of their fields.
The primary behavioral research includes a shared social behavioral task for team building, continuous monitoring of face-to-face interactions with sociometric badges, a virtual reality team-based collaborative exercise to predict individual and team behavioral health and performance and multiple stress and cognitive countermeasure and monitoring studies.
HI-SEASÂ MissionÂ VIÂ continues a series of successful 8-month and 12-month missions that placeÂ HI-SEASÂ in the company of a small group of analogs capable of operating very long duration missions in isolated and confined environments such as Mars500, Concordia and the International Space Station.
HI-SEASÂ MissionÂ VIÂ follows the successful eight-month MissionÂ VÂ that wasÂ completed in September 2017.