mars long

The NASA Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate has identified a number of risks associated with long-term human space exploration. Many of these can be fruitfully investigated in an Earth-bound analog environment – that is, somewhere on Earth that is similar to the target space environment in relevant ways. HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) is a planetary surface exploration analog site at ~8500 feet on the Mauna Loa side of the saddle area on the Big Island of Hawaii. HI-SEAS is funded for its first season of operation by a grant from the NASA Human Research Program, for research focusing on new forms of food and new food preparation strategies for long-term space exploration. This first mission will involve six astronaut-like (in terms of education, experience, and attitude) crewmembers living in the habitat for 120 days under Mars-exploration conditions (e.g. with communication latencies and blackouts, in close quarters, under strict water-use rules etc.). The crew has been selected from over 700 applicants, and the 120-day simulated mission is scheduled to begin in early 2013.