Biggest HiSeas 'Mars Mission' Problem? No Internet

The Hi-Seas (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) experiment is a simulated Mars mission in which six "astronauts" are confined in a simulated base. How did it go?

The Hi-Seas (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) mission was the fifth in a series of similar experiments funded by Nasa. The missions have studied the food that explorers would eat away from Earth, the social interaction of crew members in a claustrophobic environment, and the psychological and biological impact.

Speaking from Hawaii, where the four men and two women had lived in a 1,200 sq ft dome situated on a barren active volcano, Payler told the Press Association: “I was very lucky to have a great crew. No isolated group can be immune to any arguments, but everyone did an amazing job of working through any issues we had...

Browsing the internet was impossible because of a 20-minute communication delay intended to mimic the time it takes for radio signals to travel between Earth and Mars. This departure from modern life on Earth proved to be one of the crew’s greatest challenges, said Payler.

“The lack of internet and long delay meant problem solving was often very difficult, with issues that might normally take five minutes to solve taking two to three days,” he said.

Science fiction writers have pondered these problems, lighting the way for us if only we read more science fiction! Take a look at what sf writers have had to say about The Interplanetary Internet as well as NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN. In the area of astronaut psychology, see Married Couples! Want To Go To Mars?. For closed habitat isolation, I loved David Keller's 1932 short story about a pent house which was designed to isolate a couple to save them from environmental catastrophe.

Via The Guardian and NASA.

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