August 29, 2016

HAWAII, THE FINAL FRONTIER: Mock Mars Explorers Emerge from Habitat to End Year of Isolation in Hawaii.

The crew exited the domed habitat for the first time in 12 months without wearing space suits, and were greeted by family, friends, the mission scientists and team members who supported them through the year, and members of the media.

“There’s no place like Earth. It is a little bit like the tornado returning to Kansas,” said Sheyna E. Gifford, chief medical and safety office and crew journalist. “All of a sudden I click my heels three times and stepped several inches, and 100 million miles later [I’m back on Earth].”

Andrzej Stewart, chief engineering officer, said he felt “mixed emotions” about leaving the habitat.

“I’m a military brat, I grew up with my dad in the Air Force, and where you live becomes home after a while and I’m going to miss the place,” he said.

I’d be interviewing future candidates from the Navy’s submarine force. They’re trained to work complex equipment under adverse conditions in close quarters for months at a time.

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