Scientists complete year-long Mars simulation mission in Hawaii

A group of six scientists has completed a mission in Hawaii conducted for NASA that simulated how humans would live on the surface of Mars. The mission spanned an entire year and during that time, the team had limited communication leaving them in near-isolation the entire time. During the mission, the only time the scientists were able to go outside their dome structure was if they were wearing a spacesuit.

The Hawaiian dome that the team lived in is called the Mauna Loa dome and the structure is 36-feet in diameter and 20-feet tall. The reason that Mauna Loa was chosen is because its soil is similar to what would be found on Mars and it sits at a high elevation where no plants grow. The team who have lived in the dome all these months include a French astrobiologist, German physicist, and four Americans.

Among the American crew were a pilot, an architect, doctor/journalist, and a soil scientist. The French member named Cyprien Verseux says that the simulation has proved that a mission to Mars could succeed. "I can give you my personal impression which is that a mission to Mars in the close future is realistic. I think the technological and psychological obstacles can be overcome," Verseux said.

German crewmember Christiane Heinicke noted that they were able to find their own water in the dry climate. "Showing that it works, you can actually get water from the ground that is seemingly dry. It would work on Mars and the implication is that you would be able to get water on Mars from this little greenhouse construct."

The scientists involved in the simulation were looking forward to eating fresh produce and other food that wasn't available inside the dome during their mission. Some of the team was also looking forward to getting into the ocean and all were looking forward to seeing family and friends.

SOURCE: The guardian