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Learning to Live on Mars…on Mauna Loa

by Brea Aamoth on February 24th, 2017

Tucked away on the northern flank of Mauna Loa overlooking Maunakea is a white domed structure, where NASA is studying what it takes to live on Mars. This is the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, which is aimed at researching issues related to how crews will function on long-duration missions to Mars. HI-SEAS creates missions and recruits crewmembers who live in the Mars-like habitat for periods ranging from four to twelve months, in order to better understand the planet’s living conditions. Learn more about this quest to make human life possible on the Red Planet at ‘Imiloa’s Maunakea Skies talk with Brian Shiro, Geology Lead at HI-SEAS on Friday, March 17 at 7:00pm.

Lucie uses the NASA KSC Swamp Works geotechnical tool while Annie records the data.

During HI-SEAS missions, some of the crew’s activities require them to leave the habitat and conduct Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs) while wearing simulated space suits to approximate the encumbrances astronauts would face while exploring the surface of Mars. This helps to identify and test best practices for future field explorations on the surface of Mars. Funded by NASA, these missions also include supervision by a remote support team via an imposed 40-minute round trip communications delay, replicating real-life Mars-like communication conditions. Shiro will take you through the day-to-day life of a HI-SEAS mission and what it’s like learning to live on Mars!

 

As a collaborator on this project since 2012, Shiro leads the development, assignment and evaluation of geological field tasks given to the HI-SEAS crews to gauge their team performance under realistic mission constraints. He has experience in over a dozen field expeditions from the Arctic to the Antarctic and many tropical destinations in-between. He spent over 60 days aboard research vessels mapping the seafloor and served on two simulated Mars mission crews in Canada and Utah. He received his B.A. in Integrated Science, Geology and Physics from Northwestern University, an M.A. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Washington University and an M.S. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where he applies geophysical exploration techniques to study lava tubes, seamounts and subsurface resources that could support life on other planets.

Hosted by Planetarium Technician Emily Peavy,‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year. Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 808-932-8901

Member Level Discounts: $8 for UHH/HawCC Student, Kupuna, Individual, Dual, and Family Members; $6 for Patron Members; Free for Silver, Gold, and Corporate Members.

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