A women-only crew of six astronauts has made history today by completing an “analog” mars mission in Hawaii. on January 4, 2020, six scientists embarked on their first mission and have now ‘returned to earth’ after spending two weeks at Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) – a Mars habitat analog exclusively for researchers.

That’s right! This isn’t your regular mars mission — this is an “analog” astronaut mission, which, according to NASA, are field tests in locations that have physical similarities to the extreme space environments. Going by the definition, an “analog” astronaut is a person who conducts activities in simulated space conditions.

Backed by Analogs LLC, this analog mars mission is known as Sensoria I, which is a part of an umbrella initiative called Sensoria. Under the Sensoria project, a series of missions will be conducted and they all will be women-led or will keep women in the majority.

“While future Sensoria missions will welcome male researchers as well,  we believe that women need to be placed at the center of our shared vision for space exploration, that women need to be given a platform for professional development, opportunities for research and training,” Hastings, a bioengineer, the commander of Sensoria I and the CEO of Analogs LLC, told Space.com

Exiting the HI-SEAS habitat after two weeks on “Mars,” was “a bit surreal, actually,” Hastings told Space.com after completing the mission. “Though we’d barely gone 100 kilometers away from where we are right now, it feels like a completely different world.”

Image: Space.com