Living on 'Mars': 8-Month HI-SEAS Mock Space Mission in Photos

Milky Way Over 'Mars'

Neil Scheibelhut

Six people spent two-thirds of a year in the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) analog pretending to be Martian astronauts. Here's a look inside the science, work and fun they had during their time on "Mars." HERE: The Milky Way shines above the HI-SEAS habitat in Hawaii.

Rocks and Plants

Neil Scheibelhut

Martha Lenio collects lava rocks for an indoor gardening research project that harvested the crew's only source of fresh foods.

Apollo 14-Like Golf Shot

Zak Wilson

Jocelyn Dunn, who played golf for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, fires the “first golf shot on Mars”. This included testing 3-D printed golf balls designed and printed by Zak Wilson. In 1970, NASA Apollo 14 astronaut Al Shepard played a few golf balls on the moon.

Working Out on the Red Planet

Zak Wilson

Martha Lenio, Sophie Milam, and Jocelyn Dunn posing in Hexoskin shirts after doing a “P90X”-style workout. Hexoskin is a garment designed to measure and collect biometric data during exercise.

Spacewalking on 'Mars'

Zak Wilson

Zak Wilson out on a spacewalk in the MX-C mock spacesuit developed by the University of Maryland, with a view of Mauna Kea in the background.

'Pi Day' on Mars

Jocelyn Dunn

Neil Scheibelhut poses with one of two pies the HI-SEAS crew made to celebrate “Pi Day” (March 14, or 3/14). The flavors included apple pecan and French silk.

Red Planet Hallowe'en


The crew celebrated Hallowe'en with costumes they brought from home, as well as some 3-D printed accessories created on site (such as a martini glass.) Back row, left to right: Neil Scheibelhut (Doctor Who companion), Sophie Milam (Doctor Who), Martha Lenio (Ramona from “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”) and Zak Wilson (Hawaiian tourist). Front row, left to right: Allen Mirkadyrov (The Joker from “Batman”) and Jocelyn Dunn (a super-girl.)

Looking Inside HI-SEAS

Zak Wilson

Panoramic photo of the interior of the HI-SEAS habitat. The main floor is a mulitpurpose area used for research, exercise, and social activities. The dining area on the right side of the photo can be converted into a living room, with a foldable couch and a projector for watching movies and shows. Crew bedrooms are on the second floor.

Planetary Cooking

Sophie Milam

Jocelyn Dunn and Martha Lenio making Vietnamese spring rolls, including fresh cilantro from Lenio's indoor garden.

Playing 'The Game That Ends Friendships'

Sophie Milam

From left: Neil Scheibelhut, Jocelyn Dunn, Martha Lenio, Zak Wilson, Allen Mirkadyrov. The crew are playing the “Citadel” card game, which Lenio's friends have called “the game that ends friendships.” According to Dunn, the crew managed to stay civil in the heat of competition.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: