Welcome to the HI-SEAS habitat!
I’d like to show you around. Think of it like a blog version of MTV cribs, but with compost toilets instead of Ferraris modified for Shaq’s height.
We’ll start at our only entrance in, which leads directly inside the airlock. Here is where most of our suits and EVA tools are stored, including radios, flashlights, and helmets. When we need to go outside to do some research, personal project work, or repairs, it’s here that we suit up and ‘decompress’.
Sea Can – Food Storage, Power Storage, and Workshop
Ahead of that is the sea can. It’s a cold, multipurpose canister of joy. To the left are shelves lined with dehydrated and shelf-stable food stuff. This comprises our entire food stock between resupplies.
To the right is our workshop, complete with tools for building, checking electrical systems, and of course, my wonderful 3D printer. I’m up for naming suggestions, but for now let’s call him Carl.
Astronauts on future planetary missions (and future settlers) will need to be self-sufficient. With no fast track back to Earth, or even immediate communication with support on Earth , they will need to be autonomous during times of medical emergencies, technical repairs, and other contingencies. In some cased, they may need to manufacture their own parts. Carl here can take a model that I create or mission support acquires for me, and make it in real life.
Good work, Carl!
Behind the workshop bench are three very large batteries and power monitoring systems. These keep our power running throughout our day. If we are lucky and have a clear day with good sunlight, our solar panels charge these to full power during the day when our usage is highest. They will provide us the energy to cook and run our electronics for the afternoon and night.
If it’s been a cloudy day and we don’t get enough charge, we run a risk of losing power. When this happens or if we can forecast it happening, we restrict our power usage to just the essentials, like video games and Dr. Who-themed lights (kidding).
In reality, we unplug all unessential items and change our dinner plans require little to no appliance usage. In some cases, we need to use our outside backup systems. One is the generator whose power can be routed to charge the batteries some. The other emergency system is a Hydrogen fuel cell system that will kick in when the batteries reach a certain critical percentage.
Main Work Area
To your right is the work area in the Hab. This is where us nerds spend most of our day on laptops, doing work for the mission. This includes fulfilling mission objectives and projects, working on personal research, exercising our rock hard abs, or hosting special events.
Around the corner, “UILA”, the watcher, can be found. She shows us all kinds of information about our habitat, including water, power, and temperature levels.
Dining Room and Kitchen
Connected to this area is our Dining Room and Kitchen Area. The dining room is where we sit down for a meal at the end of the day and shut off our work brains, where we have team meetings, and where rare movie nights are screened.
Naturally, our dining room also includes a treadmill, stationary bike, and workout equipment storage.
It also holds one of our only two windows in the whole habitat. On a clear day, you can see Mauna Kea in the distance. This is the only place I’ve lived where if I wanted to see clouds, I look forward.
The kitchen looks pretty standard, complete with a pantry and cooking utensils. The biggest difference is in the food ingredients. Chicken and eggs, for example, look a bit more like this:
You’d be surprised what you could cook in here!
Behind the dining area is a skinny space. At one end is a laundry machine which doesn’t get much use due to their high water needs. At the other is a system of integrated sensors which monitor the habitat. Our crew has re-purposed the center section to be our “Garden”, complete with fresh growing veggies and spices.
On the other side of the main area is our bathroom and lab, and yes, I did include a picture of the toilet.
No hab bathroom is complete without a compost toilet. This lovely machine, I can only imagine, is state of the art, complete with a poop-removal drawer that I must empty out in about an hour with a fellow crew member.
General use is standard, except for needing to throw in a mixture of peat moss and sawdust after every use.
This bathroom also has a shower. We’ve decided as a crew we can take 8 minutes of showering. (Per week!) It’s plenty, believe it or not.
Right next to the bathroom is the other potentially -but-not-yet-stinky room: the lab. This room serves as both the lab for research as well as the area that I’m responsible for – all the medical supplies!
Now we head upstairs to the crew quarters to find two things:
Another bathroom and of course, our bedrooms.
The rooms are shaped in a way that only two bed configurations are possible (I tested this theory). You’ll see the slanted ceiling over my bed. Though not confirmed, I imagine this is an ingenious test space researchers are working on. It makes it so that when you wake up, you smack your head or elbows directly into the ceiling, jolting you into a state of alertness, and thus, preparing you for the day.
Clothes are stored in drawers and multi-purpose furniture. It’s also a good idea to use wall space here.
AAAAnd that’s it for the hab tour! You’ll need to leave quietly (We’re supposed to be isolated, remember?!)
This is our home.
I’ll walk you guys out now. You’ll just need to head out that door.
First you’ll need to seal yourself in a suit, check your radio is working properly, and wait for decompression time and permission to exit the airlock.
Welcome to Mars!