Credit: Michaela Musilova 

 

An international crew of six engaged in a Moon/Mars simulation is set to end their work on Wednesday, March 6th – a two-week mission to perform scientific experiments and test technological instruments needed for the future exploration of the Moon or Mars.

Credit: Michaela Musilova 

 

The effort began on February 20 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) habitat on the slopes of Mauna Loa on Hawaiʻi Island.

The mission is under the EuroMoonMars initiative, led by the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG) of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Credit: Michaela Musilova 

This simulation has been done in collaboration with the International Moonbase Alliance (IMA), European Space Research and Technology Centre, Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and HI-SEAS.

Prototype moonbase

It is part of a series of projects led by IMA, which is planning on building a moonbase on the Moon and a prototype moonbase on Hawaiʻi Island.

Credit: Michaela Musilova 

“These missions can be of much shorter duration than the previous missions that took place at HI-SEAS,” said University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Michaela Musilova, chief investigator for HI-SEAS and the International Moonbase Alliance. “These missions are open to researchers around the world to take part in, provided their research will help contribute to the exploration and colonization of the Moon and Mars,” Musilova said in a university press statement.

Musilova said that the crew’s research included geological and drone surveys, lava tube exploration and space technology testing.

They have also been cooking with shelf stable ingredients and passing some of their free time playing cards.

Mission control

The mission control center for these missions is based at the Blue Planet Research laboratory on the Big Island, which is owned by the IMA founder Henk Rogers.

Bernard Foing of the European Space Agency and executive director of ILEWG has been serving as the space-crew communicator at the mission control center.

Musilova, who is also serving as crew commander, previously stated that the mission was off to a “very good start,” in spite of some challenges with power cycling on and off and a temporary “disconnection from Earth.”

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