62 years ago, on July 4, 1960, the fiftieth star appeared on the US flag – in honor of the new state – Hawaii.

The Territory of Hawaii, by the way, was created after the annexation of the US islands on June 7, 1898, and became a full-fledged state on August 21, 1959, after a general referendum, which was held after US President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Admission Act. But since 1818, the stars on the US flag have been added only on Independence Day, i.e. July 4, so we had to wait.

Interestingly, the flag of the state of Hawaii itself has preserved…the British Union Jack!

Over the past 100 years, the Hawaiian Islands have played the role of a sugar cane plantation, a naval base, and a tropical resort. In the 21st century, the role of the NASA laboratory was added to this.

In Hawaii, on the northern slope of the Mauna Loa volcano (by the way, the largest volcano on Earth), in an abandoned quarry at an altitude of 2500 m above sea level, there is a HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) dome.

HI-SEAS is a series of NASA isolation experiments that simulate flight and life on Mars. The almost completely dead volcanic terrain is very similar to Mars, and the remoteness from the tourist routes allows the test participants to be truly isolated.

Фото з архіву NASA: купол HI-SEAS та один з його мешканців на фоні вулкана Мауна-Лоа під час місії HI-SEAS III, березень 2015 р.

NASA archive photo: The HI-SEAS dome and one of its inhabitants against the backdrop of the Mauna Loa volcano during the HI-SEAS III mission, March 2015

The first 4-month HI-SEAS I mission started on November 13, 2013, and focused on… the culinary and psychological aspects of the long-term isolation of a team of 8 people. Then there were five more HI-SEAS missions, the longest being HI-SEAS IV, which lasted 366 days, from August 28, 2015, to August 28, 2016. Then there were four joint EMMIHS missions (EuroMoonMars + International MoonBase Alliance + HI- SEAS). And since 2020, the HI-SEAS dome has been conducting short-term (14-day) missions to simulate flight and stay on the Moon. The last such mission, Selene IV, ended in March 2021.

P.S. We almost forgot. Happy Independence Day USA!