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European team finishes mock moon operation on a volcano in Hawaii

A group of six scientists came back from the “lunar surface” on Saturday to complete two weeks discovering a simulated lunar setting on the volcano side of Hawaii.

The experts started their mission on January, 18 and have been operating and staying at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS, habitation as piece of the third EuroMoonMars operation (EMMIHS-111), which is a chain of analog missions operated in conjunction with the Space Agency of Europe, the HI-SEAS and the International MoonBase Alliance.

The habitation, situated on a distant Mauna Loa slope on the large Island of Hawaii, has housed crews of researchers and explorers on analog lunar and red planet missions ever since its fixing back in the year 2013. Analog missions like this place researchers in distant environments that imitate a stay on the red planet or, in this case, the lunar surface. In this environment, they could research while trying what it might feel like for people to spend time at a distant location far away from Earth.

The operation led by Michael Musilova, who is an astrobiologist and a serving commander of the operation, is the HI-SEAS director. Musilova confirmed to the Space.com in an email that the mission was immense and not pleased that it is almost over.

In addition to Musilova, the team comprised of Kyla Edison who is a resident Hawaiian coming from the Kaui Island and also is a materials science technician and a geologist, Priyanka Das Rajkakati who is the crew executive officer, an aero scope expert and Marc Heemskerk who is a visual artist, lead scientist and earth scientist specializing in in-situ resource utilization, Robert Heemskerk who is brother to Marc and also a mechanical engineer and Lucas Brasileiro who is an aerospace expert and even a doctoral student.

Apart from Musilova, who has always been part of other analog operations, this was the initial time for the rest of the crew members, who were all delighted to participate. 

Das Rajkakati confirmed before entering the habitation that he has always been zealous about space and when you are zealous about space, being an astronaut is a dream, and he is anticipating to that skill at least to find out if he is capable of an analog operation at least on the Earth surface before ascending to the space.