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HI-SEAS to Host New NASA Studies on Mauna Loa

Posted October 7, 2013, 10:56 AM HST Updated October 7, 2013, 11:40 AM HST

Sian Proctor, a geology professor from Arizona, took this picture of the HIS-SEAS habitat and a participant in a NASA food study completed this year on Mauna Loa. Courtesy photo.

Think you’re a team player?

Have a scientific, academic or artistic project underway that can be done in confined quarters?

And finally, are you able to get away for a period ranging from four months to a year?

Then you may be a candidate for a new series of space exploration analog studies being conducted by researchers from the University of Hawaii.

The simulated missions will be conducted at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation site, also known as HI-SEAS, which is located at the 8,200-foot elevation on the Big Island volcano Mauna Loa.

Crewmembers selected will stay in the same geodesic dome in which a NASA-funded study analyzing new types of food and food preparation strategies to keep astronauts well-nourished for space exploration was completed in August.

The goals of the studies are to:

  • Test a hypothesis that group cohesion over the short term predicts team performance over the long term.
  • Observe how technical, social and task roles evolve over long-duration missions.
  • Establish baselines for a wide range of human cognitive, social and emotional factors over missions of varying durations.

“These types of studies are essential for NASA to understand how teams of astronauts will perform on long-duration space exploration missions, such as those that will be required for human travel to Mars,” UH officials said in a press release. “The studies will also allow researchers to recommend strategies for crew composition for such missions, and to determine how best to support such crews while they are working in space.”

The first mission will last four months and run from February 2014 through June 2014, the eight-month mission will run from August 2014 to April 2015, and the final, year-long study will begin in June 2015 and end May 2016.

Applicants must be between 21 and 65 years of age, tobacco-free, and able to pass a Class 2 flight physical examination. They must also meet the basic requirements of the NASA astronaut program which includes an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering discipline and three years of experience or graduate study.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 1. Instructions for applicants are posted here.


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