Amazing Photos From Hawaii Reveal What It’s Like On A Simulated Mars Mission

It’s basically Bio-dome without Pauly Shore… thankfully.

1. On Hawaii’s volcanic terrain at an elevation of 8,000 feet, a crew of six people live in a small dome for four-months.

2. Funded by NASA, the University of Hawaii is conducting a series of these missions to study what challenges people would expect to face living with a small group of people and what foods to eat, all in preparation for future manned missions to Mars.

Hawaii is ideal for the mission because the temperate weather and Mauna Loa’s geological features, with no visible plant or animal life, resemble Mars.

3. The second HI-SEAS mission is currently taking place and the six crew members have been living together in the dome on Hawaii since March 28th.

This picture captures the first meeting of the crew members: Ross Lockwood, Dr. Ronald Williams, Casey Stedman, Tiffany Swarmer, Lucie Poulet, and Anne Caraccio.

4. Chief Technologist Ross Lockwood and US Air Force Major Casey Stedman have been documenting their time in the dome on Instagram, giving us a glimpse into life on a simulated Mars mission:

Ross Lockwood

Casey Stedman


5. Here’s Lockwood packing for the four-month mission:

6. Lockwood depicted his “lasts” before entering the dome:

“Last walk in the river valley.”

“Last wakeup kisses.”

“Last double double. @TimHortons”


7. The crew also got to briefly explore Hawaii, during a geology lesson, before entering the dome and beginning their mission:

“The Kilauea Caldera”

“The west coast of #Hawaii, where balsaltic lava flows”

“skylight vent in a lava tube on Kilauea- not unlike those seen on #Mars”


8. “HI-SEAS liftoff!”

9. “Doooome, dome on the range…”

10. The two-story dome is where the crew eats and sleeps for four months…

11. It includes an exercise room, a kitchen, and small sleeping quarters.

“Crew quarters inside the #HISEAS habitat module,” Stedman writes in the caption for this photo.

12. The sleeping quarters of Lockwood, the proud Canadian:

“Mom suggested my bedroom need a little more Red and White,” this photo is captioned.

13. Throughout the four months, Lockwood has posted many pictures of the view of the dome:

“Miserable weather on sMars.”

Storm’s a-brewin’… *sluuuuurp*

“The rare Martian sunset.”


14. “Perhaps our view on Mars is directed towards Ascraeus Mons.”

15. “Sunset on Mars”

16. Much of the HI-SEAS crew’s mission revolves around food, as they experiment with what astronauts might eat during deep-space missions and when they arrive on Mars.

“Sorting food for month 2!” Lockwood writes with this photo.

17. The crew eats pre-prepared foods, which are like what astronauts currently eat in space, and concocted new meals in an attempt to combat malnourishment and general food boredom.

“Commander makes bruschetta.”

18. Throughout the mission, the food seemed to get progressively more delicious:

“Best. Mars food. Ever.”

“Making a family favourite for breakfast: saddle blankets (aka crepes)!”

“Fresh lettuce on sMars courtesy of Lucie Poulet”


“I’m never leaving”


“Chicken tortilla soup with freshly baked corn bread.”


20. The crew also experiments with growing vegetables under electrical lightning:

21. The crew managed to successfully grow lettuces, radishes, peas, and even cherry tomatoes.

22. The crew does other work inside the dome. Here Lockwood is working on a podcast:

“It’s a good day to record sMars’ first podcast,” Lockwood writes.

23. “Designing and printing some useful tools for sMartians on EVA.”

24. The crew also does work out in the field:


Crew members are required to wear their space suits each time they leave their dome and venture onto the northern slope of Mauna Loa — an active volcano that last erupted in 1984.

25. “Beautiful day for a GigaPan survey mission on sMars.”

26. Despite their intimate quarters, the crew definitely seems to be enjoying themselves:

“May the Fourth Be With You - From your #HISEAS crew.”

27. Lockwood making jokes:

“We are doing fine out here,” this photo is captioned.

28. “The 3 Americans of the 2nd #HISEAS crew celebrate #IndependenceDay”

29. Lockwood also sent messages to those he missed, including his partner and kitten:


30. While Stedman displayed his “motivation.”

“Humans to Mars Patch on the wall - motivation #HISEAS #Mars #Space #Hawaii #NASA,” this photo is captioned.

31. And always talk of food:

“Last month’s rations.”

32. “Burgers by Tiffany”

33. The crew found many different ways to entertain themselves, including karaoke…

“So this is happening…”

34. And pulling a few pranks:

“The things I put up while while out on EVA.”

35. The crew “returns to earth” on July 25. They may be disoriented after their trip and will spend time debriefing.

If you’re interested, check out the call for research applications for the next HI-SEAS mission, which is set to start in October 2014 and will run for eight months.

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