Dr. Michaela Musilova is the director of Hawaii House Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, which conducts analog missions to the moon and Mars for scientific analysis at a habitat on the volcano Mauna Loa. At the moment, she is answerable for the two-week Selene III lunar mission and contributed this report back to House.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Commander’s report for the Selene III moon mission at HI-SEAS
Lunar Day three (Feb. 24, 2021)
“We can’t allow you to die!” the crew mentioned to me. Skeptical and amused, I responded: “I’ve heard that earlier than.” Luckily, we have been solely speaking a few simulated loss of life situation. Extra exactly, we have been taking part in a sport of “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes,” which is a pc sport by which a crew has to work collectively to disarm a bomb. The Selene III crew determined to tackle this sport as a part of our first analog lunar mission bonding actions within the HI-SEAS habitat.
Through the sport, one crew member has to carry out quite a lot of duties to disarm a digital bomb on their laptop. Different gamers have entry to a handbook that incorporates directions on tips on how to disarm the bomb, however they can not see the bomb itself. On this method, the sport may be very a lot about good communication expertise and staying calm beneath stress. If you happen to make any errors, the timer to set off the bomb will velocity up. You possibly can solely make two errors earlier than the bomb will explode. It’ll additionally explode should you do not disarm it earlier than the timer goes off. The entire sport is accompanied by very worrying music that’s meant to make you extra anxious as you get nearer to the bomb exploding.
It is positively not a stress-free exercise that I like to recommend anybody dives into, particularly late at night time. The Selene III crew did not appear to be too involved about that tonight. We have been all bundled up in blankets and heat garments earlier than Crew Engineer Oscar Ojeda instructed we play this sport. Each crewmember took turns sitting within the “sizzling seat” behind the pc with the bomb, whereas the remainder of the crew sat reverse them with the bomb instruction handbook. Everybody that left the recent seat immediately exclaimed that it actually turned a sizzling seat. They have been not chilly, regardless of the temperatures being round 61 levels Fahrenheit (16 levels Celsius) within the habitat, as a result of all the stress of taking part in the sport.
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I admit that I used to be very entertained after I watched the crew try to disarm an increasing number of complicated bombs, regardless of “killing one another” time and time once more. Because the crew’s commander, I made a decision to hitch within the enjoyable and I additionally braved the recent seat. Sadly, the crew unintentionally (perhaps on objective?) blew me up throughout the first spherical. That is why I used to be not very satisfied after they tried to reassure me that they would not let me die throughout the second strive. Alas, their efforts have been in useless, as we ran out of time disarming the bomb and it exploded but once more.
With a smile on my face, I resumed my spectator’s chair and contemplated what made this sport so addicting. I personally do not want extra stress in my life when main simulated space missions, however the crew gave the impression to be thriving on it. I watched as they struggled to maintain one another alive every time, however they saved going and attempting endlessly till they achieved a extra optimistic end result. It solely took one other half-hour and their communication modified. They turned extra environment friendly at explaining issues and getting sure duties performed shortly. Their transformation was nearly tangible and I felt very pleased with their fast progress.
I assume I can add this sport to a listing of profitable bonding actions at HI-SEAS. They’ve ranged from “fiber pong” (a model of beer pong utilizing fiber dietary dietary supplements) to within-crew competitions and making horror movies. Each crew is completely different, so I’ve to adapt what we do as a crew primarily based on the crew composition and everybody’s personalities. More often than not I allow them to determine as a crew what they wish to do throughout our free time, although typically they want me to nudge them a bit to get the ball rolling. As soon as it begins metaphorically rolling although, the bonding actions proceed till we half methods again on “Earth.”
The Selene III crew is made up of crewmembers which might be pleased to take the initiative and tackle new duties throughout the mission. These duties do not simply relate to crew bonding, but additionally to cooking, baking, cleansing, beginning new analysis tasks and perfecting the habitat’s present programs. All crewmembers maintain themselves busy always with helpful and useful actions, which make me so grateful to have them on mission with me. At this charge, I’ve a sense that we’ll full quite a lot of nice tasks by the top of the mission.
Our crew operations officer is Eboni Brown, who on Earth is a venture and high quality assurance supervisor at Echo & Co, a digital design firm primarily based in Massachusetts, whereas pursuing her grasp’s diploma in mechanical and aerospace Engineering on the College of Virginia. Throughout her time at HI-SEAS, Eboni will concentrate on power stress, notably the way it pertains to human connectivity and emotional responses.
All of our crewmembers are multitaskers, as an illustration Crew Engineer Oscar I. Ojeda from Bogotá, Colombia, is ending his grasp’s within the Purdue College of Aeronautics and Astronautics in West Lafayette, Indiana, and his non-public pilot’s license. He’s obsessed with human spaceflight and his analysis is concentrated on the significance of analog house missions for advancing the long run human exploration past Earth.
Zoe Maxwell is the crew’s bioengineer and he or she’s an energetic obligation airman on the Luke Air Power Base in Arizona, with aspirations to turn into an astronaut. Through the mission, she’ll be engaged on testing the expansion of perchlorate-eating micro organism in an aquaponic system with fish, beneath unstable situations, to see if it is viable for the sustainable filtration of perchlorate current on Mars. Perchlorates are reactive compounds within the Purple Planet’s soil (and likewise discovered on Earth) which might be toxic to humans. Radiation from the solar can set off a chemical response in perchlorates that causes natural molecules to combust, making them toxic to some microbes, however perchlorates can present an power supply for microbes as effectively.
We’ve got one other bioscience officer on the crew, Jason Fischer, who’s a micro and molecular biologist working at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. He helps all kinds of tasks starting from space crop production to the consequences of simulated microgravity and house radiation on plant seeds. At HI-SEAS, he will probably be investigating bio-regenerative life help programs for rising microgreens on the moon or Mars.
The Selene III mission’s Science Communication Officer Brooke Edwards is a Photo voltaic System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and an area columnist for Freshwater Reporter. All through the Selene III mission, she will probably be recording her expertise as an analog astronaut to create additional content material for outreach actions.
As for me, my title is Dr. Michaela Musilova and I’m but once more the commander of an analog house mission at HI-SEAS. My seemingly countless sequence of analog missions is the results of the HI-SEAS analysis facility not with the ability to proceed with regular pre-mission coaching throughout the pandemic. As an alternative, because the Director of HI-SEAS, I practice the crew whereas on mission. Once I’m not working mission operations, I carry out analysis tasks in astrobiology, in collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and Honeybee Robotics in New York Metropolis.
Commander Musilova signing off to check whether or not the crew can maintain me alive throughout the bomb exploding sport. The results of this bonding exercise could effectively have an effect on how our crew relationships will evolve throughout this mission.
Observe Michaela Musilova on Twitter @astro_Michaela. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.