Scientists don spacesuits to explore Hawaiian lava tubes as if they were on Mars

Scientists don spacesuits to explore Hawaiian lava tubes as if they were on Mars
Crewmembers spend days to months within the HI-SEAS Mars/moon habitat atop Mauna Loa. Credit score: HI-SEAS

Think about attempting to choose up a pebble or scrape microbes off a cave wall in a cumbersome spacesuit with puffy gloves on, below a time constraint since you do not need to run out of oxygen. That is what the analog astronauts do every day on the HI-SEAS moonbase habitat in Hawaii as they put together for missions to the moon and Mars, says Michaela Musilova of the Worldwide MoonBase Alliance (IMA) and director of HI-SEAS, the Hawaii Area Exploration Analog and Simulation.


Musilova will present the newest on her ’s analysis on lava tubes, and the challenges of attempting to do analysis in spacesuits, this week on the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Normal Meeting 2021.

HI-SEAS is an analog lunar and Martian habitat and analysis station situated excessive on the volcano Mauna Loa, on Hawaii’s Huge Island. There, researchers reside and work for days to months at a time, solely going exterior to carry out experiments or clamber about in lava tubes, and solely of their hefty Further-Vehicular Exercise (EVA) analog spacesuits simply as they might in the event that they have been on the moon or Mars. The 110-square-meter (1,200-square-foot) habitat is the astronauts’ house, gymnasium, lab—and every thing else—whereas they’re on a “mission.”

Lava tubes, like these discovered on Mauna Loa, are essential to discover in these EVA spacesuits, as a result of lava tubes on Mars and the moon may also be essential to discover. Lava tubes on Mars are essential targets for analysis into astrobiology as they’re thought to carry biosignatures of life, very similar to caves and a few lava tubes on Earth do. In the meantime, lava tubes on the moon could function shelters for potential human settlements. However lava tubes will not be straightforward to discover—and that is particularly the case for analog astronauts in spacesuits.

Scientists don spacesuits to explore Hawaiian lava tubes as if they were on Mars
HI-SEAS crewmember exploring Mauna Loa’s lava tubes as analogs for lava tubes on Mars and the moon. Credit score: HI-SEAS

“Doing analysis in fits below EVA constraints makes every thing far more tough to do, and all of it takes thrice longer,” Musilova says. “We have to practice extensively on Earth to determine the most effective strategies and create the most effective EVA fits in order that we’ll have the ability to carry out this sort of analysis on the moon and Mars sooner or later,” she says.

The volcanic panorama of Mauna Loa is just like what we see on the moon and Mars, says Bernard Foing, government director of the Worldwide Lunar Exploration Working Group EuroMoonMars challenge. Foing can also be a part of IMA and can present analysis from the EuroMoonMars challenge explorations at HI-SEAS and a number of other different websites, together with Iceland, Chile’s Atacama Desert, and the Utah desert, on the EGU assembly in the course of the same session on Wednesday, 28 April. These analog areas permit the staff “to check applied sciences we will ship to house” and to check “coaching and capability constructing for researchers and explorers,” Foing says.

The HI-SEAS crewmembers—future astronaut candidates in coaching—are attempting to determine what works, and what does not work, right here on Earth to arrange for future house missions. A crew at HI-SEAS runs a mission identical to they might in house: crew roles embrace a commander, officer, engineer, and science communication officer, plus specialists for explicit experiments or tasks, like crew biologists to check for biofilms in lava tubes or to assist run experiments just like the latest LettuceGrow experiment, wherein the staff examined methods to develop lettuce contained in the habitat.

Crew members, together with folks from all around the world from various backgrounds and talking totally different languages, spend all their time collectively in the course of the mission, simply as they might on the moon or Mars, Musilova says. “There may be a we nonetheless must study, together with about how people work together below these difficult situations,” she says.


Many years-old images emerge of Apollo coaching (Pictures)


Extra data:
Michaela Musilova et al, Simulating lava tube exploration analysis throughout analog lunar and Martian missions at HI-SEAS in Hawaii , European Geosciences Union (EGU) Normal Meeting 2021 (2021). DOI: 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14600

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European Geosciences Union

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Scientists don spacesuits to discover Hawaiian lava tubes as in the event that they have been on Mars (2021, April 28)
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