For the previous 5 years, small teams of strangers have been cramming themselves into a small white dome on a volcano in Hawaii for months at a time. Their mission is to conduct experiments on a essential piece of apparatus for future journeys to Mars. The gear? The astronauts themselves. After all, people can malfunction and fail, simply as expertise does. These stimulated astronauts act precisely as actual astronauts would: that features consuming freeze-dried meals, preserving water, and sleeping in cramped quarters. In the newest rendition of the experiment, issues went severely incorrect.
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In February this yr, 4 aspiring astronauts trekked up the Mauna Loa volcano to start their eight-month keep. Four days later, and for the primary time within the experiment’s historical past, astronauts finish the stimulation. It was, maybe, the climate’s fault. Four days of cloudy skies meant the crew drained the reserve battery energy that gives backup to the dome’s photo voltaic panels. When the crew tried to reset the battery system, one of many crew members sustained an electrical shock from touching a dwell wire.
Previously, essentially the most grave harm any crew member suffered had been scratches and bruises from hikes. The crew knew that asking for emergency responders would imply ending the simulation. The crew members made severe sacrifices for the experiment, so earlier than they known as for an ambulance, they first known as 911 to ask for recommendation. But because the crew debated their choices, the injured crew member turned more and more sick. They may now not stall and known as for an ambulance. At final, first responders got here and eliminated the injured crew member.
After the incident, Lisa Stojanovski, a crew member, compiled security issues in regards to the habitat and despatched them to Kim Binsted, the HI-SEAS Principal investigator. When Binsted couldn’t promise rapid actions to handle her issues, Stojanovski determined to withdraw from the mission, ending it for the entire workforce. It was an unprecedented transfer that left the entire challenge in limbo. NASA and the University of Hawaii are separate critiques of the incident, and whether or not HI-SEAS challenge can proceed in any respect. An accident on HI-SEAS maybe is not such a far cry from what would possibly occur in Mars. If and when accidents do happen, the precise Mars crew shall be even farther from help. Check out the detailed story of what occurred here.
(by way of The Atlantic)