The official first day of training began this morning and for the first time all six crew members were meeting face to face. After months of talking through Skype, instant messaging and on the phone we were all together and ready to tackle the first day of training. The morning began with a brief physical fitness session and some breakfast followed by a 9:00 AM briefing about the main focus of the 120 day Mars simulation study.
This study is funded by NASA and is a 1.2 million dollar study focusing on the human factors involved with crew function and performance during a long duration mission. The study has four main studies focusing on: defining the key factors of crew performance, the impact of these factors on crew performance, determine how mission duration affects these key factors, and to provide potential countermeasures for crew deteriorating crew function. More information can be found at http://hi-seas.org/?p=1644 .
Most of the researchers will remain anonymous, except for one contact researcher who has flown out to train us on the necessary procedures and data collection and he ran the morning's briefing. After briefing we began some baseline data collection for cognitive function, emotional impressions of the up coming mission, and team performance. The collection lasted into the evening hours and we were saddened to be interrupted by a very rare thunder storm knowing that this meant a delay in our training schedule and would make it very difficult for the amazing engineers finishing up last minute alterations to the HI-SEAS habitat. Even with the storm interrupting the engineers tell us the habitat will be ready for training on Monday or Tuesday and we are very excitedly waiting to learn all of the habitat's systems.
Tomorrow, Sunday, we are continuing with baseline collection, reviewing safety procedures, and familiarizing ourselves with crew supportive preferences. All in all the first day of training is proving to be busy, but have filled with much laughter and some crew great conversations. Looking forward to our upcoming training this week on the habitat systems and the geological EVA training at Hawai'i's Volcanoes National Park.