We spent our first night in our new home last night.
The habitat is 36′ in diameter and about 20′ tall. The habitat seams generally well laid out, about half the square footage is in the form of a large multi-use room with full 20′ ceilings so it doesn’t feel claustrophobic or anything (yet anyway). The kitchen is well equipped. It has a couple of induction hot plates, a electric wok, a rice cooker, a bread maker, a toaster, a toaster over, a dishwasher and a little fridge.
We each have our own bedroom, it’s got enough room for a single bed and a little storage. It’s about 44 sq ft total and just long enough so that my feet don’t touch the wall when I’m in bed. The room slopes down at the end over the bed and I’m sure it is just a matter of time until I wang myself on it.
Numerous people commented to me expressing their skepticism about Hawaii as a good simulated location for a Mars habitat. I didn’t share these opinions but I am totally convinced now. It absolutely looks like another planet when you look out the porthole or walk outside. You can see a couple small sections of road, a couple military buildings and the observatories on Mauna Kea and that is all in terms of any sign of life. The terrain is incredibly rough and is going to be difficult to navigate in our suits.
The habitat is a huge step up from the Mars Desert Resarch Station where I did my previous analog Mars mission. The systems at MDRS were pretty simple, there was a generator with batteries, and a water systems that involved pumping water to a tank in the attic and then using gravity fed system to distribute it. The HI-SEAS habitat is complex and all compter controlled. It has a 10 kW solar array, Hydrogen fuel cell system with battery storage and a backup generator. Everything is computer contolled and monitored. We can watch our power and water usage in real time.
We are still scrambling to get things set up (so more pictures to come later once I have more time and everything is organized and put away). The internet and delayed internet in general have been pretty troublesome. We head out for a few days of geology field training in the morning and won’t be back until our mission start on Wednesday.