Halfway Home: 6 Months Into Simulated Mars

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Welcome to mission day 184 and the third quarter of our year on simulated Mars.

The HI-SEAS Mission IV Crew: We’re Halfway Through

It’s been six months since my crew landed here. Half a year already! Though substantial evidence exists to the contrary exists – my hair is longer, the nights are shorter, and we now have a small fleet of tiny mutant tomato plants – in many ways, does seem like only yesterday that the white cargo van pulled up on the red rocks outside the bright white dome, and the six of us stepped out into our new world.

The beginning was very austere, almost business-like: grab your bags, get to Mars and get to work. Since I had been trying to get to Mars since about 1997, that arrangement suited me just fine. We waved at the cameras, saluted the administrators, and walked inside. I dropped my backpack in the first room I saw and began looking for something to do.

Our first task? Finding out where everything was.

About a month later, we had found most of the important stuff. It might be a faster on real Mars, but then again, maybe not. At present, we can only aim interplanetary payloads to within 6 miles of a target at best. As those pre-packaged bundles will be arriving months or years before we will, they may very well be covered by or buried in dust by the time we come looking for them. It’s not unreasonable to project that the first Mars mission might have a 1-2 month period dedicated to locating and assembling the various pieces of their habitat.

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Locating and assembling is pretty much exactly what we did for a few weeks. As we sought out and discovered things we —> Read More

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