Dr. Michaela Musilova is the director of Hawaii Area 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. Presently, she is answerable for the two-week Valoria 2 mission and contributed this report back to Area.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Commander’s Report for the Valoria 2 Mars Mission at HI-SEAS
Sol 10 (Feb. 13, 2021)
“Considered one of you have to to suffocate within the airlock!” These are phrases that I actually by no means anticipated to say to my crew. But this historic second occurred yesterday. Luckily, it was for a mockumentary my crew determined to movie on the HI-SEAS habitat, not an actual order from me because the Valoria 2 mission’s commander. The simulated suffocation then came about in the course of the day at present.
My Valoria 2 crew is filming this gorgeous excessive mockumentary as a part of an “Easter egg” that they’re planning on abandoning for future crews to seek out. The Easter egg is a convention that I began virtually three years in the past after I turned the director of HI-SEAS. I’ve been encouraging crews to depart one thing like a legacy behind at HI-SEAS. It needs to be one thing helpful and/or entertaining that captures the essence of every mission.
This custom began when the HI-SEAS proprietor, Henk Rogers, discovered a small USB drive left behind in a lava cave close to HI-SEAS. It had a message from a crew at HI-SEAS from a number of years in the past. He and his crew then left their very own message inside. I later discovered the USB drive and determined that I wished it to change into one thing that every one crews go one to a different. At first, every crew would solely file a brief video or two with some classes realized and recommendation for future crews. Then, the content material on that USB grew exponentially with every subsequent crew, and I needed to change the USB shortly with a a lot higher-storage SD card.
Now, the SD card has every little thing from freeze-dried meals cooking recipes to directions for taking a five-second bucket bathe to our house mission-related MEMEs to movies that seize the essence of every mission at HI-SEAS. Some folders on the SD card additionally comprise secret bonus movies of me laughing. Let’s simply say that I’ve a reasonably distinct and loud snicker that a number of crews determined to seize secretly. Generally crewmembers would sneakily movie me laughing whereas they might present me their humorous MEMEs. Different instances, they might present me movies of me laughing and movie me laughing at me laughing. There are at present a few dozen “laughception” movies of me laughing at me laughing at me laughing, and so forth.
The mission-specific movies are my favourite elements of the Easter egg SD card. Most crews select a popular culture theme for his or her video based mostly on motion pictures that we watched and music that we listened to throughout our mission. Examples of such themes embrace movies impressed by “The Matrix,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Workplace.” Many crews additionally coated songs, rewriting them into songs based mostly on our mission experiences, comparable to “Dancing within the Moon Hab” (from “Dancing within the Moonlight” by Toploader), “A Complete New Crew” (from “A Complete New World” in Disney’s “Aladdin” film) and “Swiss Miss … The Anthem” (from “Good Riddance” by Inexperienced Day). The entire crew would then sing and file these Martian and lunar analog tune covers.
Presently, the Easter egg could be very a lot a treasure trove of recollections, helpful recommendation, challenges for every crew and limitless leisure for anybody who’s capable of finding it. The crews steadily upgraded what the Easter egg was in itself. It went from being a USB to an SD card in a small Tupperware field (to guard it) all the best way to being an enormous white container with a “coconut milk powder?” label and numerous mysterious gadgets inside it. The crews add LEGO rovers to the package, in addition to undesirable beauty merchandise, further freeze-dried treats that they had left over and clues to seek out extra Easter eggs hidden across the HI-SEAS habitat.
Over the previous few days, the Valoria 2 crew has each discovered this well-known Easter egg and devoted their free private time on mission to making ready slightly epic contents for the egg’s SD card. With out giving an excessive amount of away for future crews, the principle characteristic of their contribution to the Easter egg is the aforementioned mockumentary. The crew selected to tease me in regards to the totally different guidelines that I’ve put in place at HI-SEAS for the analog lunar and Martian missions that I run right here. They thus filmed basically a horror film centered on what I’d do if crews did not observe my pointers and directions.
This is the reason a crewmember ended up faking their loss of life within the airlock, whereas others met their simulated demise in all kinds of ugly methods on analog Mars. Future crews aren’t solely going to must attempt exhausting to seek out the Easter egg, but in addition to “up the ante” of the Valoria 2 crew. Filming the mockumentary was lots of enjoyable for all of us, although I warned them that they’re forcing me to unleash the worst in me to go absolutely into character. With a menacing snicker, I joked that I could not be capable of change again to my regular self, and that the movie might not be a mockumentary in any case.
Commander Musilova signing off making an attempt to not succumb to the darkish aspect. The crew gave me an excessive amount of inspiration for a way gratifying it will be for an evil model of me to show HI-SEAS into Horror-SEAS ;).
Comply with Michaela Musilova on Twitter @astro_Michaela. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Faceboo