Henk Rogers, Commander of the HI-SEA EMMIHS 2023 Mission, in a photo edited collage created and shooted by Serena Crotti (EMM Outreach)
Celia Avila Rauch, Mission Psychologist of the HI-SEA EMMIHS 2023 Mission, in a photo edited collage created and shooted by Serena Crotti (EMM Outreach)
The EMMIHS 2023 Campaign took place in March at the HI-SEAS base, Hawaii. The campaign is a collaboration between the International MoonBase Alliance. (IMA) and Lunex EuroMoonMars, with support of the EuroSpaceHub Academy. We have already described the roles and crew extensively in our previous newsletter issues, but here we want to share with you the first results of the campaign and an account of our days on the Moon! It was an intense few days, spent exploring the HI-SEAS base's surroundings: an extreme volcanic landscape with numerous similarities to Lunar and Martian terrain. The crew simulated IVA (intravehicular) activities and numerous EVAs (with an average of two explorations per day). So, here is a short day-by-day review of the mission for you, we hope you enjoy it! It was written buy our on site outreach correspondent, Serena Crotti, during the mission!
Mission Day 1: Landing on the Moon!
“The first day of the Hana Hou mission ended successfully! The crew’s day was very busy and full of activities in preparation for their landing on the…Moon! The day started on schedule: the astronauts gathered for the last “terrestrial” breakfast. After that, packing procedures began to prepare for departure. Each astronaut was given a limited volume to carry their personal belongings. The crew was also responsible for preparing food supplies for transport. As this is a pilot mission lasting a few days, the crew is fortunate and will have not only dehydrated food but will also have fresh food available. After the final preparations, the astronauts proceeded to load the shuttle that would take them to the HI-SEAS habitat with everything they needed. With only half an hour delay on the schedule, they then set off for the base. The route between the Blue Planet Energy Lab and the HI-SEAS base is about an hour and thirty, during which the crew was able to appreciate the wonder of the local landscape. Then, as they approached the Base, the landscape became more and more rocky and the ‘terrestrial’ scenery gave way to a desolate ‘Lunar’ landscape. The irregularities of the ground became more and more prominent, and the shuttle’s tires began to struggle to proceed on the way to Lunar Base. The HI-SEAS habitat then appeared far away, a white dot surrounded only by the volcanic rocky landscape. After packing food supplies, personal belongings and instruments inside the base, the crew familiarized with the systems on board. Following a quick meal and social time with the group, the astronauts prepared for their first EVA”.
Hana Hou Mission, shots from Mission Day 1
Mission Day 2: Getting to the heart of the Mission, exploring the Lunar surface
“The astronauts faced their first night inside the HI-SEAS habitat. Each astronaut has their own individual crew quarters for sleeping and leisure. The first night at the base went smoothly and the astronauts woke up refreshed, ready to face the second day of the mission. The day’s schedule was intense, in fact planning an extravehicular activity to observe the surface surrounding the habitat. The volcanic zone is indeed full of lava tubes of different sizes and characteristics. Some of them require crawling in order to be explored, while others are larger in size and allow astronauts to venture inside in a standing position. The existence of lava tubes in the terrain surrounding the habitat makes the area an accurate analog, which recreates lunar and Martian conditions. Descending into the lava tubes with EVA suits allows for testing operations, procedures, and instruments in a realistic environment. However, because of the recent lava flows the crew did not descend into the lava tubes but limited their exploration to observing their entrances from the outside. After social moments over breakfast, the crew prepared for the EVA. Today’s EVA took place in the surface area closed to a place called “Skylight #6.” The astronauts donned the necessary equipment to venture outside the base safely: gloves, helmets, suit and boots. The exploration lasted for about two hours. Five crew members ventured outside, while one of them remained inside the base, according to protocol, serving as Cap Com. There was no shortage of time to document the steps taken through photographs and videos, which fed into the mission database. Once back close to the base, the astronauts took the chance to take some short tests with one of the two drones they brought for the mission. The test was limited to verifying the operation of the drone and learning how to fly it efficiently for future analysis. In the afternoon, the crew devoted themselves to intravehicular activities. Different work was done individually by each crew member. Brent Reymen and Celia Avila Rauch were in charge of monitoring the psychological testing of the crew, Serena Crotti and Bernard Foing were in charge of reviewing the outreach database, Kato Clayes worked on preparing for the upcoming missions, and Commander Henk Rogers experimented by building an experiment that he will conduct tomorrow in the next EVA."
Hana Hou Mission, shots from Mission Day 2
Mission Day 3: The mission goes on: experiments and exploratory EVAs on this third day on the Moon.
“Mission Day 3 also comes to an end with the crew in excellent health and lots of news to share with you. Throughout the day, astronauts were involved in several EVAs on the lunar surface: three in total for some crew members! The day began with an exploratory EVA, during which the crew approached the skylights overlooking a lava tube about a 20-minute walk from the base. Crew dynamics are positive and astronauts cooperate spontaneously, helping each other during EVAs but also in daily activities. A good team attitude characterizes the crew, with positive mood tones and enthusiasm for the activities carried out, despite the hard life as astronauts, without showers and surrounded by nothing but the lunar rocks. During the afternoon, the crew was busy with an experiment proposed and developed by Commander Henk Rogers. Henk has been planning and working on this experiment since he arrived at the lunar base, and during the course of today the crew supported him in performing a first test, during a dedicated EVA. The experiment aimed to photograph the inside of a very deep pit located near the HI-SEAS base, which cannot be explored by astronauts themselves, given the depth of the cavity. The goal of the experiment was to film with a video camera the inside of the cavity down to the bottom, in great depth, obviously without venturing in person. Henk therefore devised and built a system of ropes, with which he was able to lower a video camera inside the pit. The camera was attached to balancing mechanism, to avoid it from spinning too fast while descending the pit. With this solution, he was able to get a 360-degree video recording of the inside of the pit. To install the experiment, an initial EVA was organized with Henk and two other crew members, the Executive Officer Kato Claeys, as support for the installation of the equipment, and the Outreach Officer Serena Crotti, to document the various phases of the test. Afterwards, an additional EVA with the rest of the crew was organized to lower the mechanism into the cavity. The experiment was successful! The equipment worked as expected, and once they returned in the evening, the astronauts were able to watch again the recording obtained on the camera, thus visualizing the inside the pit. Commander said he was satisfied with the success of the experiment. The visualization obtained is in fact of good quality, and thanks to the lighting solutions that were specially adopted, the footage is clear and displays the inside of the rock cavity clearly. The rest of the afternoon saw the astronauts busy with psychological tests by Mission Psychologists Celia Avila-Rauch and Brent Reymen, and with some nice social time, which culminated with a delicious dinner of tortillas de patata!"
Hou Mission, shots from Mission Day 3
Mission Day 4: Outreach events with the Earth and the last exploratory EVAs on the Moon surface.
“And here we are, with the latest updates from the EMMIHS 2023 Hana Hou mission! Our brave astronauts were busy today with two more exploratory EVAs on lunar soil. Today, the crew was very busy: the astronauts not only had to deal with daily activities inside the base and extravehicular operations, but they were also engaged in communication events with the terrestrial public. In fact, during the course of the morning, the crew was starring in two live connections with the Earth. The first event took place at 8:30 a.m. local Hawaiian time. The connection had been organized by the crew, in collaboration with several partner institutions, including colleagues from Lunex EuroMoonMars, the IPSA engineering school - thanks to our collaborator Prof. Roxana Perrier - friends and collaborators from the EuroSpaceHub consortium. The event was streamed live on Youtube, on the official EuroMoonMars channel. The streaming was a unique chance to connect two lunar bases with Earth: the EMMIHS 2023 crew, connected from the HI-SEAS base, and the EMMPOL 15 crew, connected from the lunar habitat of the Analog Astronaut Training Center, in Poland. The event was an interesting opportunity for interaction, during which the ground audience asked the astronauts questions about life on analog missions. Several IPSA students were connected to the event were curious to know more about the crew, being inspired by the mission experience. If you are curious to watch the live event again, check it out here! Later in the morning, the crew was also involved in a second educational outreach with the public, in particular with the University of Hawaii, UH, with a number of engineering students connected. During the event, the astronauts took the audience on a full tour of the lunar base, responded to their curiosities, and showed an experiment that has kept the crew busy over the past few days, designed by Mission Commander Henk Rogers. Between the two events, the crew also got to practice an EVA near the habitat, around a cavity that was funnily named “The Mordor,” as a tribute to Lord of the Rings. The cavity is a very deep pit that the astronauts were curious to explore. During today’s extravehicular activity, the Commander led the rest of the crew close to “Mordor” to replicate a test carried out yesterday, but with a few adjustments. In fact, during the previous day the crew had lowered a camera into the depth, while this time they wanted to repeat the test with some improvements to the unwinding system and with a different camera mounted on the descent device. During the afternoon EVA, the astronauts ventured to the lunar surface reaching what they named Skylight 1. The path to reach the designated destination was a difficult one: in fact, the astronauts had to study the best route, on the surface, to reach the target location, while minimizing the paths through the most difficult lava to cross. In fact, during EVAs, astronauts often find themselves traversing different types of lava and they constantly search for pāhoehoe lava, which is easier to traverse due to its homogeneous texture. The day for the crew ended with the usual debriefing, reporting activities and individual work. The astronauts are sorry to leave the Moon tomorrow, but at the same time they are also happy to return to their beloved Planet Earth!"
Hana Hou Mission, shots from Mission Day 4
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