Insta-Mars: Crew Wraps Up Mock Mission With Pictures Of Their Hawaiian Adventure

by Elizabeth Howell on July 21, 2014

Casey Stedman, commander of the 2014 HI-SEAS mission, points towards its habitat module and Maunea Kea during the Hawaiian mission. Credit: Casey Stedman/Instagram

Casey Stedman, commander of the 2014 HI-SEAS mission, points towards its habitat module and Maunea Kea during the Hawaiian mission. Credit: Casey Stedman/Instagram

It’s the final countdown for a hardy group of people who have been on “Mars” for the past four months. On Friday (July 25), the HI-SEAS crew will make their return after simulating Red Planet exploration in Hawaii. And you can bet there are certain things they are missing about the outside world, or “Earth”.

“I haven’t seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months,” said Casey Stedman, the commander of the latest Hawai’i-Space Exploration and Analog Simulation, said in a statement on Instagram’s blog yesterday (July 20). Added chief technologist Ross Lockwood, “We’ve basically been subsisting on mush. Flavorful mush, but mush nonetheless.”

Despite the sacrifices, there’s a certain excitement to doing four solid months of experiments and “spacewalks” and other Martian activities. Luckily for us, the crew has been liveblogging their adventures on social media! Below the jump is some of their best Instagram photos from the trip.

HI-SEAS aims to closely simulate Mars exploration. The University of Hawaii runs the site, and every field season volunteers apply to participate in the missions. The first mission took place in 2012 and lasted 118 days. This mission is taking place in the same location, high on the slope of the Mauna Loa volcano.

Besides Instagram, some of the crew members are also accessible on Twitter. You can follow them at @rosslockwood, @Space_Chicken_, @TSwarmer and @casey_stedman. You can also read more about HI-SEAS on its official site.

Edit, July 24: Angelo Vermeulen (the commander of the first HI-SEAS mission last year) has just opened an Instagram account of his own where he is uploading pictures of the mission.

Full disclosure: I am a classmate of Tiffany Swarmer’s in the Space Studies department at the University of North Dakota. She and the department have not asked me to write this article, nor were they aware of its publication before it went online.

Sunset over Maui from Mauna Loa, as seen from the #HISEAS habitat #Mars #Space #Hawaii #NASA #NoFilter

Chicken tortilla soup with freshly baked corn bread. #HISEAS

The #HISEAS crew learns about Hawaiian vulcanism during their geology field lessons

May the Fourth Be With You – From your #HISEAS crew.

The 3 Americans of the 2nd #HISEAS crew celebrate #IndependenceDay #Mars #Hawaii #Space #NASA

Commander @casey_stedman and I are heading out on a sample collecting EVA. #HISEAS

Volcanic tephra from Kilauea Iki eruption- could similar deposits be found on #Mars? #HISEAS #Planetary

Just a little reading to learn about the responsibilities of commanding a space mission #HISEAS #Spaceflight #Astronaut #Science #ISS #NASA

Fresh lettuce on sMars courtesy of Lucie Poulet (@Space_Chicken_)! #HISEAS

It’s a good day to record sMars’ first podcast. #HISEAS

Crew quarters inside of the#HISEAS habitat module

Multitasking at its finest. #HISEAS

Simulating an EVA during the #HISEAS analog mission #Mars #Hawaii #Space #NASA

sTent accomplished. #HISEAS

The things I put up while while out on EVA. #HISEAS

The Kilauea Caldera as seen by the #HISEAS crew during their geology field lessons in Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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