About The Martians

The crew of HI-SEAS IV (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation mission #4) consisted of six people who wanted to change the world by making it possible for people to leave it at will. The group contained a field biologist, a fluid physicist (water is life!), an astrobiologist, a space craft engineer, a medical doctor/journalist/neuroscientist and a space architect. We lived together in a 1,200 square foot dome at 8,200 feet above sea level on the barren slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano from August 28th, 2015 to August 28th, 2016.

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About our mission in brief:

  • It was the longest space simulation of any kind in NASA’s history.
  • There were 3 studies prior to ours in the same space, so to speak: Mission I was a 4-month food study. Missions II and III were 4 and 8-month psychological studies of crew cohesion.
  • It was an analog in the sense that we lived in the dome with only each other, seeing no other humans in person for a year; ate shelf-stable foods; only left the dome in space suits; and experienced a 20-minute communication delay. This precluded making phone calls, skype calls, and surfing the internet.
  • The crew was still able to receive and send data in a delayed fashion, as a real Mars crew would via the deep space network.
  • The study was funded by NASA, but run by the University of Hawai’i.
  • While we were supported by dozens of volunteers stationed in various place on Earth, mission control, as such, has no central location.
  • We had air pressure consistent with living at 8,200 feet about sea level (think airplane cabin) and full gravity (9.8 m/s^2).
  • Owing to the fact that no such list exists, none of us are “on the list” to go to Mars. The first NASA Mars expeditions are anticipated to take place in the 2030’s.
  • Two kinds of research took place. NASA’s funded research was psychological. The crew were subjects in that research, and, as such, is not privy to the results. The crew themselves studied many things, from sleep to caffeine consumption to plant growth to spacesuit design. Feel free to ask us all about it!

63 thoughts on “About The Martians

    1. I am so surprised by this, but in a good way! I would like to keep up with you guys on your journey!! I don’t use the computer all that often, but now will have a reason to check it out.. I know that this has to be difficult being away from family and friends! I hope to get to know all of you!!

    2. Fantastic Work Scientists! One day you will be studied in books like those who pushed along the Oregon Trail! Please give us updates in Honolulu….can you call Radio Hawaii , Am 1080 KWAI Mond. Thru Friday 7am to 9am at 524-1080? Nothing like a good connection to Mars! Can martians call radio stations? Mahalo & Aloha!

      1. Shey, I see you’ve met Dave! Just so you know, he’s the person who passed on to me the request for HERA crewmembers he’d seen on LinkedIn…in other words, he’s the first link in the chain that ultimately led me to HI-SEAS IV. I’m very thankful for that.

  1. I just wanted to wish you all the very best of luckluckand to thank you for giving up all that you’ve left on pause to participate this very important research. You’re remarkable.

  2. I am an 8th grade science teacher in northern Virginia. This year we are doing a project on going to Mars. Everything we study will be tied into the question: “what do we need to land safely and survive on Mars?” I plan on using this experiment and your blog as expert sources and data. Thank you for documenting your experience!

    1. Of course! We’re very happy that you are following us. Thank you for being a teacher – one of the most important jobs in any society – and for sharing the joys of space and science with the kids. Let us know how you are getting along.

  3. Hi, could you make a twitter account so that we can follow on twitter? Or maybe on YouTube, it could be great.


  4. I am excited to share this site with my 16 year old daughter who loves science and history, And you are doing both!!!Pictures would be great!!! Go Martians Go

  5. It’s wonderful to see you guys take such initiatives for the betterment of humanity, me being a teenager, I can assure you that you guys are inspiration for many of us, keep us updated on your journey, wish you best of luck!

    1. Thanks so much! We’re happy to do it, and hope that it gives the people of Earth the ability to choose to go wherever we wish, in this solar system and, someday, beyond it.

  6. We’ll do our best to make this world a better place upon your return.

    Best of luck to you all. Looking forward to your updates.

  7. Good Luck! From the UK……

    Pioneers like you are what makes Mankind different from the rest of the species on Earth.

    Consciously putting yourself into discomfort in order to achieve a greater prize for the rest of us. I will be watching with interest.

  8. To bad you dont have a chef on the crew huh?!?! Lol Also a hacky sack and some cards would be nice hopefully there was room for something like that huh…

  9. Holy Moly! I am so psyched to have found this website/blogs. I will definitely be keeping tabs on your mission. I wish each of you well. Have fun; behave (as much as you can); and find out lots of important stuff for the rest of us. God bless.

  10. This thought is directed to the geologist/ soils expert. As I have studied the environment of Mars
    I was struck by how much radiation from the sun gets through the Mars atmosphere with Alpha particles
    and other rays bombard Mars daily. It was said that the only way to circumvent these particles is to
    be underground and in a cave. Would a simulation such as yours be closer to reality if you resided in
    a cave for a year and not a surface habitat? Being realistic the solar wind would decimate a crew before
    even reaching the surface of Mars and then residing in bath of heavy particle bombardment. I applaud
    your efforts but I would want some answers before I board a craft headed to Mars.
    Thank you for any thoughts about these issues. I look forward to following your progress.
    Larry McDowell

  11. As a space enthusiast, I am seriously excited about sending humans on Mars. What you and your crew is doing will benefit the future of space travel. The people back here on Earth (with trees) pay total respect for you guys making sacrifices for the sake of science. I’m also doing a science fair project on human exploration to Mars, hopefully this mission would help my research. Keep up the good work and I look forward to future blogs!

    P.S. Have you read “The Martian” by Andy Weir? It’s a book about an astronaut being stranded on Mars by himself.


  12. I’m 92 years old and this is not science fiction any longer and I am with you if not physically at least in my mind. The future is with is with you. Make it work for all of us.

  13. Greetings from Elsah, Illinois, home of Principia College. It’s going to be in the 90’s again today. What kind of temperature will you have there? Is what I am seeing on the screen the view you have from the Dome? Candace

  14. I’ve been a fan of these long-term isolation experiments since Biosphere 2 back in the ’90s. Can you tell us how NASA is approaching this experiment to avoid the mistakes made on previous attempts?

  15. All you’re doing is simply amazing! I hope that through you research space travel will no longer science fiction. Good luck with your important mission. I’ll be happy to watch your progress from faraway Russia.

  16. Hello! I just wanted to say, even though you’re still on Earth, I wish you the best of luck and safe “travels” during your mission. Although my measly B.S. degree in business doesn’t stack up against your countless all-nighters, I’ve always been fascinated with space explorations. While the voyager missions have always caught my attention (something about interstellar space, I don’t know), what you and crew are doing is exciting. You definitely have my attention. Best of luck to you all and space-on!

    P.s. Dance parties on Mars is perfectly acceptable.

  17. What an awesome adventure y’all have embarked upon! I have the utmost respect for the sacrifices that you are all taking in the name of science and humanity. I am excited at the fact that in my lifetime I may see the first manned trip to Mars. I hope to see some videos posted of everyone’s experience as time goes on. I wish you all the best of luck with this experiment. May the time fly by quickly and everyone stays healthy.

  18. With “Gravity” coming in at what was probably a ridiculously close second two years ago and “Interstellar” being a player (at least, until it actually got seen), I’m wondering if “The Martian” can get a “science fiction in general, space exploration movies in specific are due” moment.

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