Well, here it is. I can finally make my announcement!
I have been chosen as one of 6 crew members of the HI-SEAS Mission V.
What exactly does this mean?
In about one week, I’ll be doing the exact opposite of I’d set out to do these last couple of years:
Rather than traveling to different parts of the World, I’ll be stepping outside of it entirely.
For the next 8 months, our crew will live inside a habitat without the ability to speak with or see friends and family outside of email exchanges. Mimicking Martian limitations, We will have restricted-to-no internet access and will need to monitor and manage our water and electrical usage daily. I imagine this may mean a limitation in our ability to take and share ‘selfies’, something we will learn to cope with together.
Occasionally, we’ll have the ability to leave the habitat during scheduled EVA’s (fancy acronym for going outside the spacecraft), but always in our simulation spacesuits to accomplish scientific and mission objectives given to us.
So for 8 months, I won’t feel the wind on my face, nor smell the salt-filled sea.
My crew members and I will conduct space-related research each day, but in a significant way, we are the experiment.
The study will examine several factors, including the effects of isolation and the challenges that future Mars-bound crews will face. This is all partially in an effort to gain information about team cohesion, and how to select a capable crew.
Now, I’m a big fan of Marvel movies, most of which have taught me that being the subject of a science experiment means I’ll probably get super powers, especially if something goes fantastically awry. As someone who is currently over-hydrated and sitting in the window seat of an airplane with two people, several drink-filled seat trays, and an awkward aisle-shuffle away from the bathroom, I’ve got my fingers crossed for the power of flight.
I had the luxury of announcing this to some friends in person, who, of course, were quick to offer their advice. Coming from non-space industry fields, several of them equated the experience to serving a sentence. As such, they offered advice such as “Pick the biggest guy first, swing wildly, and set the tone early”.
Of course, I corrected them and let them know that not only will my teammates and I need to work together positively, but we’ll be relying on each other for everything from cooking meals to emotional support.
My family, on the other hand, offered much more in-depth responses, such as:
Each of us, I imagine, has a different but crucial reason for taking on the challenge. Most people don’t decide to live in isolation on an active Volcano on a whim.
Personally, I hope that the experiments do as intended, and provide useful data in pushing humanity further into our solar system, and that our efforts will pay off.
The other is motivation is the challenge itself. This is easily the most difficult task I have given myself to date, outside of trying to use a semi-colon properly; so I’m sure some person growth will result.
Whatever it is that I learn on this next adventure, my promise is to share it with you as much as I can.
I’d like to invite you, in the coming months, to participate in the conversation. Comment on posts, ask questions, give your opinions. I’ll respond as much and as quickly as alienly possible.
Oh, and I take it back. I’m going with Laser eyes. Definitely Laser eyes.