> > > 8-month mission on "Mars": Final Countdown

Monday, May 11, 2015

Final Countdown

With only ONE month left to go, our theme song is finally singing true.. "It’s the FINAL countdown! Doo do doo doo, do do doo do doo!” The theme song for our mission, “Final Countdown” by Europe, first caught on during our halloween costume party / finally-able-to-watch-the-world-series party. Our mission support team was kind enough to record the final game of the World Series for us. However, for several days, there were problems with uploading such a large file, so we finally were able to watch the game on Halloween, which was the first holiday that we celebrated together in the dome.

As we were waiting for the file to download, I started playing the “Final Countdown” song, which is part of the movie Hot Rod’s soundtrack. The file took longer than expected to download, and we ended up listening to the song over and over; when the song restarted each time is was an ironic act of hilarity, so rather than waiting impatiently, we were all happily singing “doo do doo” until at last, the game successfully downloaded!

Since then, our theme song has debuted quite often. It's sometimes blasted on the speakers when it’s time to begin our NASA behavioral tasks in the afternoons, or to gather up the troops for dinner. Of course, we also played this song as part of our countdown for ringing in the new year. However, in one month, we will sing "do do doo do doo" together with more meaning than ever, as it will truly be the final countdown to our mission end.

On June 13th, we will exit the HI-SEAS habitat, affectionally called the “dome” and rejoin our Earthling friends and colleagues. After eight months of dome life, we will collide with our loved ones and stuff our faces with fresh fruits. I’m feeling peachy, and other crew members are craving fresh pineapple, watermelon, and raspberries. We are anxious to reunite with our friends and favorite foods. But that’s not all… 

The US Army Golden Knights jump team is planning to take us tandem skydiving as a simulated re-entry back to Earth! What an extreme transition, from being confined to this 1000-square-foot dome to free falling into a vast landscape!!! And if that’s not exciting enough, our 7th crew member who motivates us to workout everyday, Tony Horton, founder of P90X fitness program and his fiancé Shawna will also be jumping back to Earth with us! We feel beyond amazed that this is happening and are so incredibly grateful for this opportunity. As Tony would say, this is the countdown to epic sky-diving X!!

Ironically, the first time I watched the Hot Rod movie, which made the “Final Countdown” song into a favorite of mine, I was with some of my Army friends from the ROTC program at Embry-Riddle. One of these friends from college, Capt. Darren Ekey, came up with the idea for this simulated re-entry back to Earth. The crew and I were so enthusiastic about the idea, but remained in disbelief about such an amazing prospect. Well now the plans have come together, and it’s starting to sink in. 

For our 1-month countdown to mission end, the dramatic nature of Europe’s “Final Countdown” song actually seems more appropriate than ironic for once. 

"We're leaving together,
But still it's farewell.
And maybe we'll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We're leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?

It's the final countdown.
The final countdown" - Europe

We owe a big thanks to Ekey and mission support for planning this epic celebration of HI-SEAS mission III completion. June 13th will truly be making dreams come true, as we jump from the sky together as a crew, along with some of our amazing colleagues on mission support, Tony Horton, who we consider as our 7th crewmember, and of course, the Army paratroopers who have made this all possible. Hooah!


  1. "Mars" your Mom can hardly wait for the biggest hug ever!

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