Sunday, March 29, 2015

Make-believe Mission #2

Going up that ladder, right in front of you is the kitchen/galley, where we will prepare our meals, which will be provided by the food lab that feeds the real crews on the U.S. side of the ISS.

 Left of that is a table where we can eat and plug in whatever electrical/electronic devices that are allowed to be used during the study.  There are a lot of restrictions, since the investigators want to ensure we don't have unauthorized communications channels, which I can totally understand.  The two silver (roughly) cylindrical objects flanking the table are cameras, which will be used to analyze our moods/frames of mind.  There are others located throughout the modules.
Right of the galley area is the exercise bike, which is complemented by a little open area with some hand weights (where I was standing to take the photo), which we will use to maintain some level of fitness during the study.
 Finally, ladders in two of the corners of the upper level lead to the personal bunk quarters at the top of the center module stack.  I don't know how much room for storage we'll have up here, but this is our solo territory for the mission.  I'm certainly looking forward to the mattresses, which I imagine are a lot better than the air mattress I still sleep on.  ;)

I'll see what official photos I can get after this wraps up.  Personal cameras are not allowed.  I will be out of the loop for the duration, but given how infrequently I update this blog, I don't think anybody will notice.

Since I last posted in 2014 I have started working some with the future commercial crew vehicles, which has been interesting.  I think it is going to be quite an educational several years getting those to their first flights.  In general, I feel extremely fortunate to have the chance to participate in these activities involved with the species' gradual process of becoming multi-planetary.
“If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture-that is immortality enough for me.  And as much as anyone deserves.”
~Edward Abbey, “A Voice Crying in the Wilderness”

Make-believe Mission #1

I've been selected to be a crew person on a 2-week HERA isolation study about how a long duration space mission would affect the people living in close confines far away from home.  The next two weeks we will receive training and provide initial data for the researchers.  Then we will be sequestered in the HERA modules for 2 weeks, and that's that.  After we get out we do some debriefing, and presumably some more data gathering.  It should be an interesting challenge, to say the least, right here in my backyard.  Does this count as a "staycation" for me?

Some external views of my future 2-week home:

 Immediately right of the main entrance is a workstation for the environmental systems and such.

Just left of that is the hygiene module, with the bathroom facilities.  It will be interesting to see how communal use of this co-ed facility will work out.

Left of the hygiene module entrance is the simulator workstation for orbiters/rovers (?), I believe.

Left of that is the area where some of the biological sampling will be done.  There is a tube here to send out saliva swabs to be flash-frozen, as well as the pass-through to dispose of our trash.
Left of the previous workspace is the med table, and left of that is the entrance to the "airlock" module.  It is in here that we will put our arms through a curtain for a phlebotomist to take blood samples from time to time during the study.  This is so we won't see them, and we won't be talking, but communicating via hand signals.  I did say this was an isolation study, as you recall.  This photo is taken through the central lift/ladder that is used to move between the first and second levels of the core module.

More to come