Watch Live: ‘Mars’ Crew Emerges From Simulation After 120 Days

by Elizabeth Howell on July 25, 2014

If you spent 120 days cooped up in a small habitat with six people, what’s the first thing you’d want to do upon emerging? Celebration would likely be one of them, and you can watch the festivities as the HI-SEAS crew leaves their Mars simulation later today.

The broadcast takes place between 2 p.m. EDT and 4 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. and 8 p.m. UTC) and you can watch everything above. As with all live events, the schedule can always change at the last minute.

HI-SEAS (an acronym for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) is one of a number of simulated space missions that have taken place on Earth. The Mars Society regularly runs missions at its Mars Desert Research Station and Flashline Arctic Mars Station. There also was an effort called Mars 500, which saw a crew spend more than 500 days in a habitat to simulate the length of a Mars mission.

The goal of simulations such as these is to test out processes that could be used in space, and also to see how humans behave. There is considerable debate about how accurate these simulations are in comparison to spaceflight. There are obvious physical differences such as gravity, and some argue that the psychological aspects are different as well — in many cases, crews can easily open a door to escape others on Earth, while in space it’s not that simple.

As is the usual for space missions, though, HI-SEAS has strived to keep the public apprised of their activities through pictures and through videos. Coming up sometime afterwards will be the results of the scientific experiments.

Full disclosure: I am a classmate of HI-SEAS crew member 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.

United States members of the second HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) crew celebrate Independence Day during their simulated 120-day Mars mission. Credit: Casey Stedman/Instagram

United States members of the second HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) crew celebrate Independence Day during their simulated 120-day Mars mission, which ended in 2014. Credit: Casey Stedman/Instagram

Members of the 2nd Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) crew get dressed up for May 4, sometimes called "Star Wars day" because the date plays on a famous expression from the movie: "May the force be with you." Credit: Ross Lockwood/Instagram

Members of the 2nd Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) crew get dressed up for May 4, sometimes called “Star Wars day” because the date plays on a famous expression from the movie: “May the force be with you.” Credit: Ross Lockwood/Instagram

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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