Mission accomplished: Women complete Mars simulation mission

At midday on January 4 of this year, six women set off on a journey -- a Mars simulation mission -- at the renowned Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation Habitat.

"You drive up on Slope Monaloau to 8,200 feet and there's this beautiful white geodesic dome -- it's only about 900 square feet in size -- but then you walk in.. it's really cool," Dr. Sian Proctor said. "It's very spacey -- you have an upstairs with six bedrooms, so you have your own bedroom, which is very important when living in a 900 square-foot dome with six other people."

Dr. Proctor, a geoscientist and professor at South Mountain College, acted as the communication officer and Tempe resident, Erin Bonilla, held the title of vice commander and medical officer.

"One of the studies Dr. Sian Proctor and I were working on is a crew cohesion study," Bonilla said. "It was a pre-training study to basically work with the crew to make sure that they did get along well throughout the mission through learning about each other and strengths and how to work with each other."

Six women in total lived in the dome, a HI-SEAS habitat situated on the big island of Hawaii. The Sensoria Program is the first privately-funded program of its kind.

This was the first female crew.

The women completed their mission on January 18 and describe the experience as very successful.