Tomorrow we all get on a plane to head to Hawaii and begin our research project. Our current schedule is:
Nov 28: In transit
Nov 29 to 30: Crew training
Dec 1 to Dec 8: In the HISEAS Habitat for our mission
Dec 9: Debrief
We are all excited and ready to go! I think every child dreams of being an astronaut. I know this is now quite the same, but it is good enough for me. To see tech that we developed deployed in the HISEAS Habitat will be a career high for me.
I got asked about what we had to do to get ready to go.
Physically, we have all been exercising more as the "mars walks" in a space suit are apparently quite physically demanding. I think we have all been watching our diets a bit more closely as well.
On the science side, we have been testing and retesting the hardware and software to make sure that is all good to go. This is literally a once in a lifetime chance for us so we definitely do not want to have equipment failure.
Mentally, it will be hard to be locked away. The simulation is realistic - no live communication of any kind. Our only communication with the outside world will be via email that is deliberately delayed 20 minutes to simulate the communication time from Mars. So... no FaceTime to loved ones, no quick Google searches to see what is going on. We will literally be in isolation. I am sure when this is over we will all have a newfound respect for the people that do the long duration one year simulations. Of course, I have always had respect for the people that do this for real in outer space.
One more day.
Dr. Olav Krigolson is the Associate Director for the Centre for Biomedical Research, an Associate Professor in Neuroscience, and the Principle Investigator of the Theoretical and Applied Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Victoria.