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Talk by Dr. Michaela Musilova, astrobiologist and analog astronaut

Missions to Mars and the Moon are becoming more tangible every day – with progress in both science and technology. However, an important part of those missions will be the human element. If the crew won’t be chosen and prepared carefully enough, the first long duration space missions may not turn out well. For those reasons, simulated space missions take place in different environments and so-called analog lunar or Martian stations all around the world. The research station HI-SEAS is located on the volcano Mauna Loa in Hawaii at approximately 2,500 meters in elevation. Simulated missions to the Moon and Mars take place at HI-SEAS for crews of 6 people. They are several weeks to several months in duration – up to a year. Crewmembers live and work as if they were on another planet, which includes eating freeze-dried astronaut-like food, doing space related research and wearing analog space suits when they venture outside of the simulated space station. The problems that trouble these analog astronauts and the best ways to resolve different types of conflict are some of the psychological studies that are conducted at HI-SEAS.

Dr. Michaela Musilova is an astrobiologist, speaker, analog astronaut and author. Michaela has been conducting space-related research at institutions around the world, which include: CalTech, University College London, University of Bristol, Chiba University and others. Additionally, she has been working with NASA, ESA and international observatories, such as the University of London and Canada-France-Hawaii telescopes.

Michaela is a former Director of HI-SEAS and Commander of over 30 simulated missions to the Moon and Mars, in collaboration with NASA, ESA and many international organizations. She is currently a visiting Professor at the Slovak University of Technology, Global Faculty at the International Space University and Head of Research of the space technology company NEEDRONIX.

Furthermore, Michaela has received numerous prizes and grants, including the Emerging Space Leaders Grant; Women in Aerospace – Europe Young Professional Award; and she was selected as one of the most promising 30 under 30 by Forbes Slovakia. Michaela’s new project, Seven Summits, is focused on performing research, educational and outreach activities with partners around the world. Michaela regularly teaches; gives lectures and keynote presentations to a range of audiences worldwide; and works with international media. Moreover, she writes articles for Space.com and co-authored her biography, A Woman from Mars.

Image credit: Dr Michaela Musilova