back to article NASA Earthonauts emerge from eight-month isolation in simulated Mars visit

Six would-be Mars colonists have emerged from eight months of isolation on top of a Hawaiian volcano as part of preparations for an eventual manned mission to the Red Planet. The six members of the fifth Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) experiment were sealed in a solar-powered geodesic dome with …

  1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge


    I'm reminded of the plot of the film "Moon". Did those guys really get to come home at the end or spoilers

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Reminder that GERTY was the evil AI that Musk/Hawking are warning about.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge


        That will only give Musk and the SpaceX welcoming party half a dozen years to prepare for the arriving NASA folks.

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      I was thinking Ascension.

  2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

    Red shirts, really!?

    Talk about tempting fate . . . hopefully the actual Mars mission won't use those.

  3. Christoph Silver badge


    They had their own greengrocer aboard?

    1. Clive Harris

      Re: They had their own greengrocer aboard?

      They probably had several greengrocer's (sic)

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: "potato's"?

      They had their own greengrocer aboard?

      Perhaps it was added by a spelling pedant to stand for the missing E

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes a note ... new business idea

    Mars doughnut delivery service...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Makes a note ... new business idea

      Sorry, you will be too late to Mars.

      Amazon will be there first, followed by Uber and Deliveroo (the ones making all the noise)

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Makes a note ... new business idea

        I was hoping for planet express myself.

      2. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: Makes a note ... new business idea

        Amazon's Mars delivery will be hampered by the thin atmosphere, so their drones won't fly.

  5. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    But did they grow their produce in their own feces?

    If not, they failed the "science the shit out of Mars" test.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    Can we have some information about sexual release during the stay?

    I see this team is not well-balanced (nor very diverse actually, quick, someone get me an aggrieved well-financed organization not named after a Dead White Male on the phone)

    'Hang on, Trump has done what??!?'

    SFA, why do you ask?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm...

      Why, marsturbation of course!

  7. streaky Silver badge


    Did they also irradiate them to mars or bust equivalent dose? Guessing not but it'd be the best way to bring an end to the "lets go to mars" insanity.

    'bout we go back to the moon first and get some off-world habitation tech going?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Mars

      Going to the moon is almost as hard as going to mars. It's just that going to mars takes a lot longer. The moon presents it's own and very different set of challenges to overcome compared to mars (ultra clingy, super sharp dust for one). There is not much of interest on the moon, so going there would only be half baked dry run for going to mars at best.

    2. Brangdon

      Re: Mars

      Mars has an atmosphere which blocks most of the radiation. It's not as good as Earth but it's comparable to being on the ISS. The Moon has no atmosphere and no magnetic field, so it has no protection from radiation at all, and so is far worse to colonise from that point of view. (And from most other points of view, too). Either way colonists will want to spend most of their time in shielded habitats, eg sited in lava tubes.

      1. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Mars

        Difference is between the moon and mars is that it's not so close that there isn't actual immediate danger when something goes wrong (most things that could go wrong short of explosive decompression) like ISS but it's not so far away that if something goes wrong the only point in sending a vehicle for them would be to collect the bodies.

        The other thing about the moon v mars is that you'd have to get the radiation issue sorted, in again a relatively controlled environment. When mars is colonised in the same sort of way that antarctica is *then* we can talk about manned mars missions, right now they're a one-way trip.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Mars

      This team aren't working on the "space is really radioactive" problem. Instead, they're working on the "how do we keep people cooped up for years without them killing each other" problem.

      Both* need to be solved for humans to go to Mars or the moon, and it makes sense to study them in parallel.

      (* and a bunch of other problems)

    4. IT Poser

      Re: Mars

      Before we consider going to the Moon we need to look to see if we can find carbon and nitrogen hiding somewhere. After we find possible resources, we then have to figure out if they are extractable.

      We've already figured out how to extract the carbon and nitrogen we'll need on Mars. We've found carbon and nitrogen on Ceres. Either of these are currently better options than the Moon.

  8. ps2os2

    The real question is when Trump blows the planet up and there is nothing to come back to, what do the astronauts do?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Er.... Better go watch

      Space 1999

      Coat with a copy of 'On the Beach' in the pocket

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      "The real question is when Trump blows the planet up and there is nothing to come back to, what do the astronauts do?"

      Well, I'm guessing that if there are three of them, one will be killed soon after they get back by a group of survivors. Another will be captured by them, and the third will somehow evade capture by remaining in the return capsule, but will be later captured by a more powerful group who is actually in control.

      Bonus points if they happen to have some kind of nuclear weapon on board the capsule.

  9. Chris Hance

    Was there a shed in their habitat?

    I'm trying to figure out why else they'd need a "British science" officer.

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      I'm trying to figure out why else they'd need a "British science" officer.

      He's the one that turns evil - the accent is the clue.

      <spoiler> Also is a robot.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: I'm trying to figure out why else they'd need a "British science" officer.

        Only if he's blonde. We've got standards to keep after all.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: I'm trying to figure out why else they'd need a "British science" officer.

          Its not clear to me if its the officer or the science thats British.

          1. Paul_Murphy

            Re: I'm trying to figure out why else they'd need a "British science" officer.

            Since in Trumps Amerika science is a four-letter word I suspect that British science might be the better idea.

    2. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: "British science" officer.......

      Because there was not a convenient, suitably qualified Vulcan available natch....PP

    3. RealBigAl

      someone has to be able to make proper tea

  10. Named coward

    Just saying

    Being locked with a bunch of people for a long time, knowing that, push comes to shove, you can get out of it any time, is not the same as being locked with a bunch of people for a long time, knowing that whatever happens, you have no way out until the mission is over

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Just saying

      I read an article about the 'Biosphere 2' mission recently, and they had a fair few disagreements during their mission. Again they had the escape option (although in both cases everyone has stuck it out). I guess the test will be added stress and increased duration. Biosphere 2 was pretty big, and quite idyllic (they had their own waterfall), I imagine a Mars colony being a series of connected boxes initially, so very different environments.

      1. Yesnomaybe

        Re: Just saying

        Having worked on a couple of yachts, you find out fairly quickly if a crew-member can hack it or will succumb to "cabin-fever". And I think I could probably weed out most of the people that couldn't handle it after a half-hour interview. On a yacht, you do not have the option to walk out if you are on a long crossing. Some people are OK with it, some crack up. (It could also be to do with sleep-deprivation and long shifts with hard/dangerous work, but hey.)

        1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

          Re: Just saying

          It wouldn't take you half an hour in my case, I'm about as people friendly as smallpox and as tolerant as a Bond villain. Unless there's beer, then I can chat away for days...

    2. ianmcca

      Re: Just saying

      "Being locked with a bunch of people for a long time, knowing that, push comes to shove, you can get out of it any time, is not the same as being locked with a bunch of people for a long time, knowing that whatever happens, you have no way out until the mission is over"

      Foolish comment. Suspending disbelief is a natural human capacity and a huge amount can be learnt from simulating something. It does not have to be "the same"

  11. tiggity Silver badge


    An odd thing about tracking to stop those who wanted to isolate themselves, fail to see the issue if "crew members" want to spend time alone: Presumably there will be plenty of social interaction doing tasks, communal meals etc. but someone who is happy in their own company and does not need to seek out intearction from others does not equate to someone isolating themselves because they fear they may have a big argument with someone else: If I was given a choice between an hour of inconsequential chit chat with someone I already saw plenty of & chatted to in course of work, or an hour with one of the many great works of literature still on my "to read" list, I would take the book every time.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Tracking

      To be fair - I'd probably take my own company with or without a book...

  12. wessexchap

    Have they asked submariners?

    I still think the Air Forces are the wrong choice as space mission leaders for long term missions... You want submariners (like my uncle) who know all about long durations alone, in cramped conditions, surrounded by crushing (or explodey-vacuum) death and other people's farts.

  13. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    8 months?

    I'd imagine the participants of the Volvo Ocean Race could tell you what thats like , more isolated in a smaller space , for longer.

  14. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    "It's really important to get off Earth – if you look back at the geological records it is just full of mass extinctions."

    Hopefully , we're a bit smarter than a Woolly Mammoth or a dinosaur and therefore wouldnt be totally surprised by an ice age or even a massive impact. I'd rather take my chances here than move to a small rock a billion miles away with no air, water , plants , animals , fuel .

    Hell you'd be just as well off staying in the space ship.

    Whats Mars got to offer apart from somewhere to stand on? and it dosent even do that properly cos the gravitys not been turned up enough.

    1. lglethal Silver badge


      Because we did such a good Job of spotting the Chelyabinsk Meteorite recently. And it's still pretty certain that if a Tunguska size Meteorite came along we would still have to be very lucky and looking directly at it to be able to spot it. And even if we do spot it, there's bugger all we can do to stop it. If something bigger comes along, frankly we will go extinct, nothing to do with being smarter than the dinosaurs, but when an extinction event comes along and wipes out 80% of life on Earth, we WILL be part of that 80%.

      The Point of starting other colonies is the same reason you create new Habitats for endangered animals. If something happens to one Habitat and wipes out the animals there, you can use the other Habitat to keep the animals alive and prehaps repopulate that original area if/when it becomes habitable again.

      When an extinction Event occurs on Earth, it would be nice to think that the human population on Mars would be OK and can eventually repopulate the Earth or move on to the rest of the glaaxy.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Righhhtttt....

        I see . Offsite backups.

        I'm not clear on a whole load of other survival necessities - but at least we know these red shirts can go 8 months without killing each other.

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Re: Righhhtttt....

          Hey even Apple started with just a couple of guys in a shed...

          You gotta start somewhere.

        2. IT Poser

          Re: Righhhtttt....


          We know where to find water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen on Mars. We'll need to take the tools necessary to collect these. We'll also need a bubble in which we can grow crops. From here it is relatively straight forward. Step one, grow grains and hops. Step two, brew beer. Survival necessities solved.

          Obviously this is an over-simplification. So far I haven't found any product that can't be made on Mars.

  15. Jame_s

    news from the outside world was limited


    if they can send/receive messages, they could get news no problem.

    seems like they are artificially making it more isolated than need be.

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