Skip to content

Maunakea Skies – Simulating Life on Mars

by Imiloa Astronomy Center on April 25th, 2018


Calum Hervieu in space suit

Calum Hervieu photo

Simulating Life  on Mars… On Maunaloa

Join us Friday, May 4 at 7:00pm for ‘Imiloa’s Maunakea Skies talk with Dr. Brian Shiro, Geology Lead at HI-SEAS

Tucked away on the northern flank of Maunaloa 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.

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 Mars-like communication conditions. Dr. 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, Dr. 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.

And… addition to our speaker, special arrangements have been made for Calum Hervieu, an astronaut-in-training, to share his story with us! An astrophysicist and systems engineer from rural Scotland, Calum was a crew member on Mission 6 and will be on Mission 7 as well.  Enjoy learning all about his mission experience and get answers to your questions!


‘Imiloa is excited to feature two Maunakea Skies programs in the month of May. 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. An additional Maunakea Skies planetarium presentation will be held on Friday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. Visit for details. 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.

Comments are closed.