2 Months Down, 10 to Go


At around 4 pm local time about two months ago, six acquaintances entered a dome-on-a-volcano and NASA’s longest Mars simulation began.

For our first-month-i-versary in the dome, we all wrote blog posts. The theme was: What I learned in my first month on sMars. This month we came up with another theme: What’s the most challenging, and most rewarding, part of being on sMars? Answering this month’s topic required taking a step back. And then, another. Then….there was some hopscotch involved.

The first step was simple: a short step-to-the-right over our lack of social media and open internet. Silly right? The internet is a normal part of everyday life back home. While most of us depend on it more than we’d like to admit, the crew learned rather quickly to get along without it. For now, automated posting (i.e. Buffer) and information feeds via ground support are filling in. To boot, we all notice that we get way more stuff done.

The next step was a little longer. And, wider. In fact, it was like leaping over one of those speed humps. Not the little topes that wreck your axles and jiggle your skull like a dashboard bobblehead. The kind that can only be surmounted on foot with a running start, on a street bike with a lots of “weeeee!”, and, of course, in a 1969 Dodge Charger painted orange at the beginning of certain 70’s shows. The word for these big guys in Spanish is “giba“. For me, the giba was power. With our hydrogen fuel cells down, and no alarm system in place to tell us when to turn on the backup backup generator, we only have as much power as we make with whatever sunlight we have that day. So, after a certain time, which could be —> Read More