Week 1 Mission Update from NASA's HERA XV Crew

I am most excited about using the simulator for the Canadarm; it is the same simulator that they use for training on the ISS.
— Megan Kane, Mission Specialist HERA XV
 Image courtesy of NASA / Megan Kane

Image courtesy of NASA / Megan Kane

Week: 1

Days Completed: 0

Days to go: 45


Hi Everyone,

As you know, last night was the first night Megan Kane spent in the hab and today is the first day of the HERA XV mission.  For the next 45 days I will be able to speak with Megan about the mission, what she is feeling and get a glimpse into what it will be like for astronauts on a mission to an asteroid, the Moon and eventually Mars. I will be calling into International Space Station (ISS) mission control in order to access Megan for only 10 minutes once a week based on a schedule set by NASA.  

A couple hours before Megan went into the hab last night, I was able to ask her a few questions about what she was feeling and what she is looking forward to the most.  Here are her responses:

LG: Are you ready for today?  

MK: I think so!

LG: Tonight are you also simulating what the ingress process is going to be like for the astronauts?  

MK: No, in a real space mission you are quarantined first for some period of time.  You are put in a suit and wear a face mask to ensure you are not exposed to any pathogens.  When family visits, they must also put on masks so the astronauts don’t get sick during long duration missions.  Back in the day you were also quarantined when you got back to Earth.  Back then they didn’t know what you would come back with!

LG: What are they having you do tonight?  Any experiments?

MK: I am not sure.  They haven’t given me my schedule yet, but I've heard about a special ingress ceremony.  I am excited about it - I will tell you more about that next week if I can.

LG: What do you think you will miss most while being in isolation?

MK: Having access to the sum of all human knowledge at our fingertips; it is going to be weird not having access to Google.  I won’t be able to Google something I have a question about, so sitting around and not knowing will be weird.

LG: What was your last meal before going into the hab?

MK: Mixed berry sorbet, caprese salad (I am obsessed with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar), salted caramel and chocolate cheesecake.  I also brought a couple snacks with me to eat right before I go in: A half of a giant Snickers, chocolate with almond pieces and one piece of Baby Bell cheese.  I am trying to eat things I am not going to have any access to.  For lunch I had a pumpkin spiced chai latte with two shots of espresso.  I have to use my Starbucks rewards before they expire.

LG: What are your potential concerns about being in the hab?  Did they discuss the possible psychological impacts of being in isolation with you?

MK: No, because that is what they are studying - they won’t discuss the subjects of the study with me.  Removing the physiological effects and danger of space, they want to look at high functioning individuals - over 30 years of age, with a masters or other advanced degree or lots of life experience - and how they deal with being thrust into a situation like this. I got a degree in physics because I knew I needed it to get into the STEM related fields I was interested in.

LG: Will NASA provide updates on your mission as well?

MK: Yes, they will have a new 360 degree hab film coming out and promote HERA XV on the HERA webpage.  

LG: We will keep everyone updated when it comes out!  Thanks Megan!  

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Don’t forget to stay updated by visiting www.megankane.com.