Ham Radio Will Play a Role In 'Hi-Seas' Simulated Mars Mission

edited March 2014 in Technology News
Ham Radio Will Play a Role In 'Hi-Seas' Simulated Mars Mission: When Ron Williams, N9UIK, and his fellow "astronauts" head to "Mars" this spring, they'll have Amateur Radio along, just as NASA space travelers do. Williams is part of Mission 2 (of four) in the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation or HI-SEAS http://hi-seas.org/, in which participants will simulate living and working for 4 months within a Martian outpost -- actually a solar-powered dome at a remote site some 8000 feet up on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Conducted by the University of Hawaii and Cornell University, the project has partial funding from NASA. "I am confident that when we eventually go to Mars, there will be some type of involvement with the Amateur Radio community," Williams said, noting Amateur Radio's long-standing role in space missions, including aboard the International Space Station. "We would like to simulate this on this mission." Part of that will mean integrating a 20 minute signal delay into all communications, whether via Amateur Radio or the Internet. "This will simulate the distance, when greatest, between Earth and Mars," explained Williams, a clinical neuropsychologist from Indiana. At 60, he's the oldest member of the team; the youngest is 26. Williams is one of two hams on this crew increment. The other is Ross Lockwood, VA6RLW, of Alberta, Canada. "Our proposed outreach simulation to the Amateur Radio community will also involve this signal delay," Williams continued. "To the best of our knowledge, this will be unique to any Amateur Radio special event ever conducted." HI-SEAS also was able to obtain the special event call sign K6B for the project for nearly the entire length of the mission, instead of the typical 15 days. "Learning how to deal with signal delay is something that NASA is very interested in as a part of our project," Williams told ARRL. "This is a chance to experiment with this unique little barrier to communication. When we humans finally get our 'stuff' together again and resume space exploration, we will need to deal with this." Read more http://www.arrl.org/news/ham-radio-will-play-a-role-in-hi-seas-simulated-mars-mission
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