Life on Mars: Carmel Johnston
‘You can fake your personality for a couple of weeks, at most ... But over the long term, your true personality will come out.’
Carmel Johnston, an environmental scientist, was the crew commander of NASA’s most recent Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project. As part of this mission, she spent an entire year living with five other scientists in an 11-metre-wide geodesic dome on the Mars-like slopes of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii.
The focus of the study, which concluded in August last year, was psychological. NASA wanted to learn individual stress reactions and group cohesion in an intensely cramped, isolated environment comparable to life in a space vessel on Mars. The researchers had to wear full space suits any time they left the dome, and resources were painstakingly rationed and recycled.
In conversation with astronomer Alan Duffy, Johnston talks about group dynamics, freeze-dried scrambled eggs and social survival in a space dome.
Presented in partnership with WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks Programme.
This video includes Auslan interpretation.
Carmel Johnston recently finished serving as Commander of the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, where she and five other people lived in complete isolation for an entire year.
Alan is a research fellow at Swinburne University, creating model universes within supercomputers to study the growth of galaxies, from the Big Bang to the present day. As well as learning how galaxies form, these simulations let him uncover the nature of the invisible Universe; made up of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. He then tries to explain these discoveries and more on TV with ABC Breakfast News and Ten's The Project as well as live to all ages from year 2 primary school classes all the way to general audiences.