Space & Astronomy
One-year Mars isolation simulation has begun
August 30, 2015 | 20 comments
Concept image of a future settlement on Mars. Image Credit: NASA
Six people will spend the next year living in a dome in Hawaii to simulate a manned mission to Mars.
The first astronauts to go to Mars will be spending a long time away from home - a prospect made all the more difficult by the need to survive off limited resources in cramped conditions while living and working alongside the same people every day for years at a time.
To help prepare for such a mission, scientists at the University of Hawaii have launched a project known as HI-SEAS ( Hawaii space exploration analog and simulation ) which seeks to simulate what it would be like for a crew of six astronauts surviving within a small habitation module on the surface of the Red Planet for a period of one year.
The crew's living quarters for the next twelve months will be a two-storey dome equipped with cameras, body movement trackers and other sensors to monitor their physical and mental wellbeing.
The simulation aims to see how the team copes and works together over an extended period of time without the ability to see anyone else from the outside world or to escape back to civilization whenever things get too much for them.
Among the would-be astronauts staying at the dome are physicists, a pilot, a medical writer and a doctor who will each report based on their own expertise on what life is like on the inside.
So far the crew appears to be in good spirits however only time will tell if things will stay that way.
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