LECTURE: Learning to Live on Mars… on Mauna Loa, March 17

Brian Shiro will discuss the quest to make human life possible on the Red Planet.

Poster of event with information found in this post. Shows two students dressed as astronauts exploring the landscape of Mauanloa.

TITLE:  Learning to Live on Mars… on Mauna Loa.
SPEAKER: Brian Shrio, Geology Lead at HI-SEAS (Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation program).
DATE: Friday, March 7, 2017.
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE:  ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (campus map).


Tucked away on the northern flank of Mauna Loa overlooking Maunakea is a white domed structure, where NASA is studying what it takes to live on Mars. This is the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, which is aimed at researching issues related to how crews will function on long-duration missions to Mars. HI-SEAS creates missions and recruits crew members who live in the Mars-like habitat for periods ranging from four to twelve months, in order to better understand the planet’s living conditions.

Brian Shiro will discuss this quest to make human life possible on the Red Planet.

During HI-SEAS missions, some of the crew’s activities require them to leave the habitat and conduct Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs) while wearing simulated space suits to approximate the encumbrances astronauts would face while exploring the surface of Mars. This helps to identify and test best practices for future field explorations on the surface of Mars. Funded by NASA, these missions also include supervision by a remote support team via an imposed 40-minute round trip communications delay, replicating real-life Mars-like communication conditions.

Shiro will take you through the day-to-day life of a HI-SEAS mission and what it’s like learning to live on Mars.


As a collaborator on this project since 2012, Shiro leads the development, assignment and evaluation of geological field tasks given to the HI-SEAS crews to gauge their team performance under realistic mission constraints. He has experience in over a dozen field expeditions from the Arctic to the Antarctic and many tropical destinations in-between. He spent over 60 days aboard research vessels mapping the seafloor and served on two simulated Mars mission crews in Canada and Utah.

He received his bachelor of arts in integrated science, geology and physics from Northwestern University, a master of arts in Earth and planetary sciences from Washington University and a master of science in space studies from the University of North Dakota. He is currently a doctor of philosophy candidate at UH Mānoa, where he applies geophysical exploration techniques to study lava tubes, seamounts and subsurface resources that could support life on other planets.


General admission tickets are $10, $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 808-932-8901.