> > > 8-month mission on "Mars": October 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dawn or Doom?

Is technology awakening the light of day or bringing on unintended dark consequences? The Dawn or Doom conference at Purdue hinges upon this theme, here's the link to my talk

Imagine the fragility of living in the harsh environment of another planet, in a habitat or spacecraft, confined to a small space with five others, far away from Earth’s protective atmosphere and the familiarities of home. That will be the reality for the first human mission to Mars, which is projected for the 2030s. 

This will require a concerted effort in sustainability, lifestyle adaptation, health monitoring and advanced medical interventions. The advances that are required for mission success are convergent with the technical and cultural developments that we need to meet our Earthly challenges today as well.. by promoting sustainable resource usage, human health and relationships, adaptive and resilient systems.. the list goes on.. But really, I want to hear from you!

What orders of living would be acceptable "house rules" for a Mars crew?  I asked this question to a class of about 100 students enrolled in psychology at University of Hawaii.  I received some intriguing ideas, but before I reveal their answers, I'd like to hear from you! 

Think about principles / rules / orders of living that you believe would help guide the success of a Mars crew. Please comment on my blog or even better, record your responses at this survey link: https://purdue.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_24c7IinnR9l40U5

Monday, October 19, 2015


I’ve wanted to talk about my spiritual life in the dome, but I've been hesitant. Now I feel it’s finally the right time to converse about the saving grace of my faith. It helped carry me through the long-duration of our 8-month mission. I'd also like to share that this past weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had since returning to Earthly life. I went to St. Mary-of-the-Woods near Terre Haute, Indiana for a discernment retreat weekend. As a cradle Catholic, I tend to take for granted some of the deep theological concepts that I’ve been exposed to throughout my life that are seldom used outside of religious contexts. Discernment is a rich process that Catholics are taught to engage in throughout life in times of decision-making. Naturally, as I’m writing my dissertation and seeking job opportunities, it is decision time!

I’ve been attending a myriad of seminars and courses available at Purdue to assist in job searching  / professional development. The advice is helpful at building a portfolio and finding opportunities that are posted online, etc. However, I have been feeling that the advice is missing the sense of “providence” or the randomness that has often been a decisive force in my path. Life is not a deterministic process. I feel fortunate that I ended up at Purdue and on the HI-SEAS mission, but I feel it's more than luck that has guided my education and experiences. There's a definition of luck as the convergence of preparation and hard work with the fortune of running into opportunities, but I think there’s something deeper, beyond my understanding. I believe that there truly is a guiding force that puts the pieces of my life together in an unpredictable manner.

As the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods know and teach, the mechanism of this synchronicity that we experience in life is truly a mystery, indeterminant, providential. Over years of reflection, challenge, and growth, I’ve come to trust in this mysterious guiding force in my life. Being at HI-SEAS, in the limited, observable environment of the dome, truly helped me to grow in my faith and confirmed to me that coincidences are much more than an oddity. I fully trust and believe in God’s providential care for us. I am so grateful for the blessings in my life. And hallelujah my second niece was born today at 7:57am! Momma and baby Olivia Lee Eiland (21 inches long, almost 8lbs) are in good health. Thanks be to God.

“Our hope is in the Providence of God which has protected us until present, and which will provide, somehow, for our future needs,” as Saint Mother Theodore, founder of St. Mary-of-the-Woods speaks, “You ought not give way to uneasiness about the future. Put yourself gently into the hands of Providence.” In my job search, I trust that I will know what I need to know, when I need to know it, or at least, I will have the opportunity to learn what I need to know when it's decision time! Back to PhDing and interviewing for now.. and enjoying the beauty of life as much as possible too!