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The first official week of the 4 month HI-SEAS mission occurred Saturday April 5th and was celebrated with a much needed day of half rest. Week one was filled with setting up our new home and adjusting our mind sets from instantly having knowledge only an internet search away to informational access being a full 20 minute delay one way. After the initial period of adjustment the crew busily began settling in and connected internal network servers, repaired Extra Vehicular Activity suits, catalogues and stored our 4 month stockpile of food, began the Trash to Gas experiment from KSC, performed our first few EVAs focused on repair and scientific data collection, and began to setup the lighting to grow our own food. I can’t wait for fresh lettuce, yummy!!!
The main study focuses on group cohesion and performance metrics and was funded by NASA; this 4 month study is the shortest of three isolation studies to occur here at the HI-SEAS habitat the other studies being 8 months and 12 months in duration. The crew is international and consists of one Canadian researcher, one French researcher, and 4 American researchers all from different backgrounds with a common love of space exploration.
We performed our first complex EVA consisting of two teams of two and allowed us to push the system while installing an antenna and testing out a soil sampler from KSC’s Swamp Works. Do to the nature of this EVA we were able to test one of the analog planetary exploration suits produced by the University of Maryland and began to understand some of the capabilities and limitations imposed by the planetary suits. Although the crew has had little downtime the few hours of free time we managed to sneak in were filled with the first 3 episodes of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, some original Star Trek, and a lot of good humor. Stay tuned for more information the next few weeks are sure to be packed with science experiments, the HI-SEAS Yuri’s night party, and as always lots of nerdy space references.