Practicing life on Mars, on a Hawaiian volcano

Photo: Ross Lockwood, via Twitter.

Photo: Ross Lockwood, via Twitter.

A team of researchers has been living in a simulated Mars habitat on a Hawaiian volcano for the past four months, practicing what it would be like to live on Mars. They're "returning to earth" today.

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The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation, or HI-SEAS, is a long duration Mars exploration analog study run by the University of Hawaii.

Snip from a Reuters profile:

For the most part, expedition leader Casey Stedman and his five crewmates have stayed inside their 1,000-square foot (93-square meter) solar-powered dome, venturing out only for simulated spacewalks and doing so only when fully attired in mock spacesuits.

"I haven’t seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months,” Stedman wrote in a blog on Instagram. Stedman is a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer, graduate student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide. “We are simulating a long-duration mission on Mars, with a focus on crew psychology in isolation,” the crew said during an online interview with Reddit on Sunday.

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

You can read that Reddit AMA here.

Ross Lockwood has been documenting the mission in photos, and you can browse his images here.

HI-SEAS participants Casey Stedman, Tiffany Swarmer, and Lucie Poulet. Photo by Ross Lockwood.


HI-SEAS participants Casey Stedman, Tiffany Swarmer, and Lucie Poulet. Photo by Ross Lockwood.

Tiffany Swarmer. Photo by Ross Lockwood.


Tiffany Swarmer. Photo by Ross Lockwood.

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[All photos by Ross Lockwood]