Dr. Michaela Musilova is the director of Hawaii Area Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, which conducts analog missions to the moon and Mars for scientific analysis at a habitat on the volcano Mauna Loa. At the moment, she is accountable for the two-week Valoria 2 mission and contributed this report back to Area.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Commander’s report for the Valoria 2 Mars mission at HI-SEAS
Sol 6 (Feb. 9, 2021)
Being caught in my methods — that is not one thing I believed I’d be responsible of anytime quickly. I believed I used to be a reasonably adaptable and versatile kind of individual, however it’s beginning to daybreak on me that main mission after mission has left a mark on me. The Valoria 2 analog Mars mission at HI-SEAS is across the 27th mission that I’ve led as a commander. Truthfully, at this level, all my earlier missions are beginning to develop into a blur. I communicate with my ex-crewmembers, however the mission particulars all merge into one lengthy story. Nonetheless, what I am now beginning to see are patterns in my habits and my management.
Throughout a typical lunar or martian mission at HI-SEAS, I spend the primary few days coaching my new crewmembers. I attempt to use solely an empowerment management type, permitting my crewmembers to embrace being analog astronauts with out micromanagement. So long as the crew respects a number of vital guidelines throughout our mission, I nearly by no means have to implement any type of authority on the crew. As a substitute, we often get alongside very effectively and everybody respects the rules that I put in place for each mission.
It is common for the crew to make errors in the course of the first three days or so of the mission. There’s a lot to study residing and dealing on the moon or Mars, so I’ve a number of persistence with them. One in all my important guidelines is for them to ask me as many questions as they want. I’d somewhat they double-check sure issues with me than to do one thing incorrectly. With each mission, I’ve developed checklists that I am going by way of when coaching the crew. Solely when they’re effectively versed in working and surviving on the moon or Mars, then I may give attention to my analysis and solely verify in with them when obligatory.
This appeared to be the easiest way to do issues — till not too long ago. A brand new realization hit me: altering issues up wouldn’t solely profit me to escape from my “Groundhog Day” cycle, but additionally the crew. I am not an enormous fan of repeating actions again and again, so sticking to a sure routine to assist the brand new crew break into the HI-SEAS habitat has drained a number of pleasure out of me. I strive my greatest to not lose enthusiasm when coaching the crewmembers, as I really like instructing and sharing my otherworldly experiences with others. Nevertheless, this takes a toll on my power ranges.
Then, one thing modified that fully opened my eyes to a brand new world of potentialities. My routine had been damaged. We needed to undergo by way of quite a few dust storms on Mars (aka rainstorms on the Huge Island of Hawaii) throughout my earlier Valoria 1 mission a few weeks in the past. I couldn’t prepare the crew in the identical manner and in the identical order of actions as I usually would. All of the sudden, I used to be compelled to assume out of the field and improvise. Summary drawback fixing and improvisation are very important within the house sector, so this was a welcome change for me.
Area.com Assortment: $26.99 at Magazines Direct
Get able to discover the wonders of our unbelievable universe! The “Area.com Assortment” is filled with wonderful astronomy, unbelievable discoveries and the most recent missions from house companies world wide. From distant galaxies to the planets, moons and asteroids of our personal photo voltaic system, you’ll uncover a wealth of details concerning the cosmos, and be taught concerning the new applied sciences, telescopes and rockets in growth that can reveal much more of its secrets and techniques. View Deal
It was like a very new world of potentialities opened up for me. I modified the best way through which I did our-in-the-field geology coaching in the course of the Valoria 2’s first Marswalks, limiting them to the environment of the habitat due to dangerous climate. The earlier Valoria 1 crew even hid the well-known HI-SEAS “Easter egg” of crew treasures in a unique location than it had been hidden in over the previous three years. My analog house missions did not need to be as repetitive as I believed that they have been doomed to be. I discovered a brand new hope and power in me to energy by way of the three lunar missions that await me after Valoria 2.
Now, the Valoria 2 crew is setting extra precedents. A few of them should not so nice, like the truth that they have been the primary crew to set off our habitat’s fireplace alarm. That was throughout their try at making pancakes firstly of the mission, so no hurt was finished, however many classes have been realized. The crewmembers then determined to attempt to develop into the crew of many firsts, so this development continued. They’ve since made the primary butter and first very fluffy scrambled eggs on Mars. I’m wanting ahead to what they’ll give you subsequent.
As a crew, now we have undoubtedly now develop into an area household, and on daily basis I spend with them is a pleasure. Every one among them is progressing rapidly with their particular person analysis tasks as effectively. Operations Officer Rilee Kaliher has collected ten samples of volcanic rocks near HI-SEAS, together with cinder, pahoehoe and ‘a’a, for her in-situ useful resource utilization analysis. Comparable sorts of rocks are prone to be present in some components of the moon and Mars. Rilee started characterizing and analyzing the samples so as to decide their potential use as constructing blocks for the primary sustainable human settlements on Mars.
Plant Biology Officer Paul Tomko has efficiently sprouted his first batch of natural broccoli, crimson clover and radish sprouts for the crew, whereas he continues to work on his batch of legume sprouts. Paul is experimenting with numerous progress and harvesting methods to maximise produce yield and provides a lift of diet to the crew, which incorporates utilizing the LettuceGrow system to develop new lettuce seedlings.
Science Communications Officer Lain Velasco’s hand-balancing coaching program is progressing with nice outcomes. The crew has solely been engaged on their program for a couple of days they usually have already began to develop increased physique consciousness in inverted positions.
They’re additionally reporting a lower in vertigo, confusion and fearfulness when being the wrong way up. Their suggestions is usually constructive they usually appear to be feeling motivated to proceed their coaching even post-mission.
Lastly, Crew Engineer Chris Jackson has found that the crew actually enjoys monitoring and understanding their exercise, sleep and tone utilizing the Amazon Halo health tracker. His observations are that the crew attempt to at all times put on their particular person units somewhat than resent them. Chris reviews that the crew is willingly sharing updates from the machine when the crew congregates.
Commander Musilova signing off feeling each refreshed and motivated. The Valoria 2 crew has introduced a breath of contemporary air into my life on Mars and I can not watch for what new “firsts” they’ve but to carry to HI-SEAS.
Observe Michaela Musilova on Twitter @astro_Michaela. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.