Have you ever wanted to go to Mars?
Follow along with me, Space.com senior writer Chelsea Gohd, as I become an analog astronaut in a brand new documentary premiering on Space.com this Friday at noon EDT (1600 GMT). In the documentary, you will follow me from “Earth” all the way to HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation), a remote research facility on the slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii, as part of the Sensoria M2 mission.
Get a sneak peek with our new trailer, released today (May 5) for National Astronaut Day, which marks the anniversary of the first U.S. human spaceflight, which was made on May 5, 1961, by NASA astronaut Alan Shepard.
Live updates: Our mission to ‘Mars’ at the HI-SEAS habitat
This documentary, called “Space Traveler: Chelsea Goes to Mars,” shows what it really means to be an analog astronaut. During the two-week mission, I was joined by five crewmates: scientists, artists, communicators and more. We were supported on their Martian journey by Sian Proctor in mission control. Proctor, an analog astronaut many times over, will fly to space for real this fall aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft with the private Inspiration4 mission.
At HI-SEAS, our crew lived as similarly to a “real” space mission as possible for our mission that took place in November, 2020. Throughout the two weeks, they ate only easily stored “Mars food,” like dehydrated and freeze-dried options (think dehydrated potatoes that could last 25 years on a shelf); could only go outside during planned spacewalks and in a full spacesuit, and could only communicate with “Earth” through delayed email.
Analog missions like these allow scientists and researchers to conduct experiments in a unique Mars mission-esque environment and often, institutions like NASA collaborate on research done at analog facilities. At HI-SEAS, “astronauts” also study extreme microscopic life in lava tubes near the habitat, supporting the search for microscopic beyond Earth.
Email Chelsea Gohd at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.