Sunday, March 18, 2012

Holidays on "Mars"

NOTE: Sorry for the long delay since the last post. Had some problems with Blogger that were causing my posts to bounce! 


Enjoy your St Patrick's Day?

One fun aspect of long duration isolation missions is holidays. Be it birthdays, national holidays, religious, or cultural ones, crews usually find some way to celebrate.

ISS crew celebrating Halloween. Source: NASA
Celebrations help break up the monotony of everyday life. While living in a hostile environment seems glamorous from the comfort of your living room, the same routine and scenery every day quickly gets tedious.

Both crews and Mission Control/Support try to help the crew enjoy themselves on significant occasions. Frequently astronauts will find "surprise" holiday gifts and treats hidden among their supplies such as presents, photos and greetings from families, special meals, and more.

Mars500 Christmas. Source: Pop Sci.
Even when Mission Control isn't involved, the crews frequently prepare celebrations of their own.

Perhaps one of my favorite holiday memories was New Years Eve spent in the MDRS habitat. Everyone was feeling fairly sad about missing out on the holidays with their friends and family. The crew commander took me aside early in the day and said: "Josh, we need a New Years ball drop. Get to it."

Two ceramic bowls, 3 feet of duct tape, some string, and leftover Christmas tree lights later and we had our New Years Ball! Of course since alcohol is strictly banned in all habitats and simulations, I will not go into detail regarding our festivities or some of the contraband that may have been present (we needed to get rid of the evidence!), but it was one of my best New Years Eve memories.

As the Hi-SEAS missions is scheduled for the Spring of 2013 the crew will have many holidays to celebrate in the habitat. St Patrick's Day, Easter, Cinco De Mayo, and more!

Some pre-planning, a few surprises from Mission Control, and a little bit of ingenuity are all it take to have a great holiday on "Mars"!

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! I haa similar posting troubles yesterday but I thinks it's been sorted. Was trying to edit on too many devices and they weren't updating the content.

    I'm very excited about holidays and birthdays in the habitat. Don't forget Yuri's night in April. From what I am hearing, that's a real hurrah. It would be fun to see if there are any local Hawaiian holidays. Also, the spring equinox and possibly the winter solstice.

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