The simulated Mars mission organized by the University of Hawaii and NASA ended much earlier than the expected simulation. The planned simulation of the Mars mission is intended to last for eight months. The sixth simulated mission started last February which is done at the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii with an altitude of 2,500 meters. Michaela Musilova, Slovak scientists, was one of the five-member crew.
Michaela is currently working on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Musilova left the mission because her visa would be forfeited and she would not be allowed to go back in the next two years, according to the press release sent to media.
The said mission was headed by a 15-month selection procedure that took place for several rounds until the final testing crew was selected. Aside from the Slovak scientist, there was also one Korean, two Australians and one British. The said mission started as what planned, and the test crew needs to undergo training for nine days beforehand.
“The mission organizers prepared many training activities for us; I had sleepless nights before the mission started,” Musilova said. She also added that she even had a chance of saying goodbye to her closest friends. “As soon as we enter the habitat, we hugged one another and had faith in what was waiting for us for the following eight months.”
The crew had a lot of hard work but nearly no time to relax. Moreover, the problem started happening. The toilet broke, and since there was a storm, they were unable to charge their solar panels batteries and could not communicate to Earth for 20 hours. As a result of the several situations, one of the crew members got injured and needed to be taken to the hospital. Consequently, the mission was then suspended. At the time, the University of Hawaii and NASA tossed an investigation to determine what had happened.
After the release of the crew member from the hospital, the preparations of restoring the mission started. However, for the meantime, one of the crew members decided to leave the team. Musilova was selected to be the leader in the geological and biological research. To better help her do the research, she was given a new rover which is designed by the Robotech Vision. The rover is expected to collect data and save them from the various cameras and sensors that could also use the company and a tool for students.
It is also expected that the crew will face various problems that could also happen during the actual Mars mission which includes the loss of communication to Earth.