Spacing Out: MBL Community Member to Simulate 45 Days in Space

Spacing Out: MBL Community Member to Simulate 45 Days in Space

Imagine spending 45 days secluded from everyone except three strangers, without access to fresh air, with nothing to eat but freeze-dried food.

Will Daniels can. Daniels, who has been part of the MBL community since 2006 when he was a student in the Semester in Environmental Science program, is part of a four-person crew that is simulating the psychological and interpersonal effects of 45 days in space. He started his mission on May 4 at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex.

“I have always had a strong interest in space exploration, and particularly human space exploration. This is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of, and contribute to, advancing human space exploration,” he said. “I’m excited to learn about how NASA works [and] to have a totally new and different kind of challenge.”

Daniels studies polar paleoclimates as a postdoctoral scientist at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. MBL Senior Scientist Anne Giblin was Daniels’ PhD advisor during his time in the Brown University-MBL joint graduate program. He studied how important features of lakes, such as their chemistry and biology, change with a changing climate. Daniels was part of Giblin’s research team at Toolik Field Station in arctic Alaska.

“I suspect that my past experiences in Alaska and Antarctica helped me get selected [by NASA],” he said. “Or will, at least, make the mission a bit more manageable for me.”

Photo caption: The module Will Daniels and his crew are living in for 45 days. Credit: William Daniels.