Crew to spend 8 months living in remote Mars simulation dome

The University of Hawaii has announced that half a dozen "astronaut-like crewmembers" have entered into a geodesic dome located on Mauna Loa in Hawaii as part of a study on Mars habitability. In this case, the crew will live in the dome for eight months, providing vital data on both performance and human behavior that'll help NASA prepare for future missions to the Red Planet. NASA funded the project.

The work is being done as part of the HI-SEAS Mission V, and seeks to understand how humans may react to prolonged isolation in a similar living dome on Mars. The crew will be tasked with projects akin to fieldwork and managing life systems. Though they'll be monitored carefully, the team will be partly self-sufficient and will experience a 20-minute delay when communicating with the outside world to simulate a Mars living experience.

The crew will have to exercise according to task in addition to conducting their research, and will have to survive off of shelf-stable food ingredients. A total of three "opportunistic" and eight primary research studies will be performed with the crew, with scientists from both the United States and Europe participating.

The idea here is that any mission to Mars will be very isolating and restricting to the humans who participate, and will likely involve living in a relatively cramped dome or habitat of some sort. The individuals will have to perform a variety of tasks outside of their research work to maintain their home and life systems, all while being isolated from friends, family, and their own planet.

SOURCE: University of Hawai'i