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Scientists' Mars Year-Long Simulation In Hawaii About to End

Aug 23, 2016 03:00 AM EDT

The Journey to Mars is no easy feat, since this will be the first attempt of man to send a crew on an interplanetary mission, the safety of astronauts is of utmost importance. To prepare for this mission, scientists started a Mars simulation in Hawaii, which will end this year.


Through the help of the University of Hawaii, six scientists were included in the simulation practice, where they were isolated in a Hawaii mountain inside a dome in a NASA-funded experiment. The dome was located in the Mauna Lao. To create an effective simulation, the scientists are wearing spacesuits during the process.

Aside from the habitability factor of trying to survive on Mars, the simulation is also focused on how the scientists will perform in isolation and how they will interact with each other in such conditions to avoid conflicts. To mimic Martian conditions, the scientists performed scientific work that requires communication to base camp with a delay of 20 minutes, the time it will take messages to travel to Earth from Mars and vice versa.

"They're doing OK, as far as we can tell," Kim Binsted, principal investigator for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog Simulation (Hi-Seas) said in an interview. Another challenge is to be able to survive with very limited resources including frozen food, according to Chicago Suntimes.

Binsted added that this is not the first Mars simulation to have ever been conducted; one notable experiment was a 520-day simulation conducted in Russia.

Experts say that the soil in Mauna Lao inside the dome possesses similar attributes to the Martian terrain.  The simulation is set to end by Aug. 28 with the scientists eager to go out into the world.

In order to create a thriving team of crew, the simulation is composed of volunteers from Germany, France and the U.S; most of them bringing their own expertise to the table including a soil scientist, a physicist, an astrobiologist and an astronomer.


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