Dr. Michaela Musilova is the director of Hawaii Space 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. Currently, she is accountable for the two-week Selene III lunar mission and contributed this report back to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Commander’s report for the Selene III moon mission at HI-SEAS
Lunar Day 3 (Feb. 24, 2021)
“We won’t let you die!” the crew stated to me. Skeptical and amused, I responded: “I’ve heard that before.” Fortunately, we had been solely speaking a couple of simulated dying situation. More exactly, we had been enjoying a recreation of “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes,” which is a pc recreation by which a staff has to work collectively to disarm a bomb. The Selene III crew determined to tackle this recreation as a part of our first analog lunar mission bonding actions within the HI-SEAS habitat.
During the sport, one staff member has to carry out numerous duties to disarm a digital bomb on their pc. Other gamers have entry to a handbook that comprises directions on how one can disarm the bomb, however they can not see the bomb itself. In this manner, the sport may be very a lot about good communication expertise and staying calm below stress. If you make any errors, the timer to set off the bomb will pace up. You can solely make two errors earlier than the bomb will explode. It may also explode in the event you do not disarm it earlier than the timer goes off. The entire recreation is accompanied by very irritating music that’s meant to make you extra anxious as you get nearer to the bomb exploding.
It’s undoubtedly 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 had been all bundled up in blankets and heat garments earlier than Crew Engineer Oscar Ojeda advised we play this recreation. Every crewmember took turns sitting within the “hot seat” behind the pc with the bomb, whereas the remainder of the crew sat reverse them with the bomb instruction handbook. Everyone that left the recent seat immediately exclaimed that it actually grew to become a sizzling seat. They had been not chilly, regardless of the temperatures being round 61 levels Fahrenheit (16 levels Celsius) within the habitat, resulting from all the stress of enjoying the sport.
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I admit that I used to be very entertained after I watched the crew try to disarm increasingly complicated bombs, regardless of “killing each other” time and time once more. As the crew’s commander, I made a decision to hitch within the enjoyable and I additionally braved the recent seat. Sadly, the crew by accident (perhaps on objective?) blew me up throughout the first spherical. That’s why I used to be not very satisfied after they tried to reassure me that they would not let me die throughout the second attempt. Alas, their efforts had 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 recreation so addicting. I personally do not want extra stress in my life when main simulated house missions, however the crew appeared 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 constructive final result. It solely took one other half-hour and their communication modified. They grew to become extra environment friendly at explaining issues and getting sure duties carried out rapidly. Their transformation was virtually tangible and I felt very happy with their fast progress.
I assume I can add this recreation to a listing of profitable bonding actions at HI-SEAS. They have ranged from “fiber pong” (a model of beer pong utilizing fiber dietary dietary supplements) to within-crew competitions and making horror films. Every crew is completely different, so I’ve to adapt what we do as a staff primarily based on the crew composition and everybody’s personalities. Most of the time I allow them to resolve as a crew what they need to do throughout our free time, although generally they want me to nudge them a bit to get the ball rolling. Once 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 can be joyful to take the initiative and tackle new duties throughout the mission. These duties do not simply relate to crew bonding, but in addition to cooking, baking, cleansing, beginning new analysis initiatives and perfecting the habitat’s present programs. All crewmembers preserve themselves busy always with helpful and useful actions, which make me so grateful to have them on mission with me. At this fee, I’ve a sense that we’ll full numerous nice initiatives by the tip of the mission.
Our crew operations officer is Eboni Brown, who on Earth is a challenge 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 University of Virginia. During her time at HI-SEAS, Eboni will give attention to persistent stress, notably the way it pertains to human connectivity and emotional responses.
All of our crewmembers are multitaskers, for example Crew Engineer Oscar I. Ojeda from Bogotá, Colombia, is ending his grasp’s within the Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in West Lafayette, Indiana, and his non-public pilot’s license. He is keen about human spaceflight and his analysis is concentrated on the significance of analog house missions for advancing the longer term human exploration past Earth.
Zoe Maxwell is the crew’s bioengineer and she or he’s an lively responsibility airman on the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with aspirations to turn out to be an astronaut. During the mission, she’ll be engaged on testing the expansion of perchlorate-eating micro organism in an aquaponic system with fish, below unstable circumstances, to see if it is viable for the sustainable filtration of perchlorate current on Mars. Perchlorates are reactive compounds within the Red Planet’s soil (and likewise discovered on Earth) which can be poisonous to people. Radiation from the solar can set off a chemical response in perchlorates that causes natural molecules to combust, making them poisonous to some microbes, however perchlorates can present an vitality supply for microbes as effectively.
We have 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 initiatives starting from house crop manufacturing to the results of simulated microgravity and house radiation on plant seeds. At HI-SEAS, he shall be investigating bio-regenerative life assist programs for rising microgreens on the moon or Mars.
The Selene III mission’s Science Communication Officer Brooke Edwards is a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and an area columnist for Freshwater Reporter. Throughout the Selene III mission, she shall be recording her expertise as an analog astronaut to create additional content material for outreach actions.
As for me, my identify 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. Instead, because the Director of HI-SEAS, I prepare the crew whereas on mission. When I’m not operating mission operations, I carry out analysis initiatives in astrobiology, in collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and Honeybee Robotics in New York City.
Commander Musilova signing off to check whether or not the crew can preserve me alive throughout the bomb exploding recreation. The results of this bonding exercise could effectively have an effect on how our crew relationships will evolve throughout this mission.
Follow Michaela Musilova on Twitter @astro_Michaela. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.