While I spent a large portion of my life attempting to live outside of my personal bubble, I now find myself living in a literal one.
More specifically, I’m inside of a 1200ft. square dome that rests on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, acting as of the the 6 crew members of Hi-SEAS mission V:
I am currently taking part in an 8-month isolation mission to study the effects of living and working in an extreme and isolated environment on team cohesion and health. This is all done to aid the push towards sending astronauts to Mars by understanding the stressors and potential issues that can arise in teams.
For the next 8 months, my world will be made up of the 5 crew members I live with, and I will see no one else in person. Communications will be delayed, which means no access to social media, web browsing, or video chatting. I’ll even need to request news articles from Mission Support if and when I want them. There won’t be any fresh food, either. Instead, we’ll cook entirely from dehydrated/freeze-dried and shelf-stable foodstuffs.
Yes, I did this voluntarily.
I’ll also be working to conduct research, film ourselves for the New York Times, and design, model, and 3D print necessary items for the crew that we can’t otherwise procure, given that we are on the side of a volcano with nothing for miles.
As with every adventure, there will be a lot to learn and discover, although this time not through an abundance of change and stimulus, but from deprivation of it. Colleagues, friends, and family will come to mean the same thing, and we’ll be wearing big funny green simulation space suits.
I’m looking forward to sharing the lessons and oddities with you.