I was the space doc for HI-SEAS IV, a one-year mission to simulated Mars. We went, we scienced, and we returned to Earth. Now I’m the scientist in residence at the St. Louis Science Center. I still work to promote space, science, and healthy life on Earth. The the tales from that journey can be found on my professional blog, livefrommars. This is my personal blog.

For media inquires, please write to:

Best, Sheyna

 November, 2015 


18 years of messing around with satellites, Mars suits, supercomputers, MRIs, social psychology experiments, writing and medicine have finally whittled themselves into a salient mission: go to Mars, grow food, do science, don’t kill each other.

Does that last issue surprise you? It turns out that people – not plants, propulsion or planetary weather, are the big X factor in space travel. In the known Universe, people are the unknown. A machine can only break in so many ways. Micrometeorites can be shielded from and solar flares forewarned. People are constantly inventing new ways to break themselves and each other. Space scientists, and scientists in general, would like to be able to predict when this is going to happen, how and why. They would like to be able to keep one step ahead of the circumstances that lead to a crew breaking down on the way to or back from a mission far, far away.

So, how do we keep them healthy, productive and NOT killing either other during long duration space missions. Short answer – and I’m not weaseling or waffling here, just specifying: by paying attention to all three aspects of health at the same time.

On Earth, physical health considered #1. In space, physical, mental and social health are of equal and paramount importance. On Earth, if you are in a bad head space, you retreat to your house, your room, your car. If you don’t feel like being social, in a funk, etc, you avoid people, or maybe just that one person who is annoying you. If you have a headache or stub your toe, you take it easy for a while. Welcome to space – there is no hiding from yourself or your crew. EVER.

How would that change your life – to have to be on your game 100% of the time for years?

That’s what we’re about to find out.

4 thoughts on “Information

  1. Aloha Sheyna! I’m a news reporter at the ABC News affiliate in Honolulu and would love to know if you have time for an interview before you head up to Mauna Loa. Please let me know if you have any windows of availability and if you have a media representative I would gladly go through them. I can be reached at:



  2. Hi Sheyna,

    I’m a producer for a morning talk program on SiriusXM. We were hoping to have you on tomorrow to discuss HI-SEAS ‘Mars’ mission.

    Would you be able to join us tomorrow (8/14) at 11am or 11:35am ET for about 20 minutes?

    You can reach me at



  3. Hi Dr. Gifford, this is Josh Nilaya from WNPR’s The Colin McEnroe Show. We’re extremely interested in an interview with you for an upcoming live radio show. As you may have guessed, it’s your experiences on Muanna Loa that we’d like to discuss.

    We have a large audience of over 240,000 NPR listeners and we’d be happy to promote any of your interests in exchange for the interview. The interview would take place Wednesday, November 30th sometime between 1pm – 2pm EST and would last about 20 minutes.

    Please let me know if this can be arranged. Thanks, and happy holidays!

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