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

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.

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

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

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