Those of you who know me or have worked with me know that I have a life goal outside of being an awesome designer -- I want to be an astronaut!
Well, I'm not an astronaut yet, but I get to play one for the next 45 days, as part of NASA's Human Exploration Research Analog, or HERA! I'll be isolated from the outside world inside a 636 sq. ft facility, along with 3 crew mates. We'll be on a mission to an asteroid, where we'll perform EVAs and tons of interesting science (in reality, we'll be in a warehouse at Johnson Space Center, but we're encouraged to get fully immersed in the mission!). We'll be simulating a lot of the conditions that astronauts really see in space (lack of sleep, rehydrated food, lots of knobs and switches to control our systems!), but unfortunately, we'll still have gravity. :)
In reality, we're test subjects for all kinds of interesting science projects. Knowing the effects of isolation, sleep deprivation (only 5 hours of sleep per night!!), lighting conditions, stress, and team dynamics on performance (like how quickly we react to situations or how well we can steer a spacecraft!) is essential for spaceflight, especially long duration missions. I'm really looking forward to the experience! It'll be tough, but also a lot of fun.
As part of the mission, isolation means very little contact with the outside world -- no e-mail, no Instagram, no Facebook! So you won't hear from me until the end of March, but I'll be back in business then. Feel free to contact me via the normal channels, just don't expect a quick answer!