According to science experts, life on Mars can become a reality, provided we come up with realistic and viable solutions to make it possible. NASA has already launched a worldwide challenge, asking people to design a plan by which life on the red planet can be supported for 500 days straight, without help from Mother Earth.
A group of six people has already embarked on a new Mission on Mars on Friday, to begin their year-long stay in a cramped dome on the planet’s Hawaii Mauna Loa volcano. The team is composed of a French astrobiologist, a German physicist and an American pilot, together with three other science professionals. They went on a voluntary isolation program to realistically simulate a human mission on Mars, which could last from one to three years.
Conditions are pretty harsh, as the team will be somewhat forced to endure living together in a 36 foot wide, 20 foot tall “igloo”, called “Hi-Seas”. Each person has a tiny space of their own, with just enough space for a desk and a sleeping area. Going outside is impossible, unless the missioners wear a spacesuit. Comfort food is inaccessible if they feel stressed out from their living situation. The only “dishes” of food available are canned tuna and powdered cheese. Well, it sounds pretty much like a concentration camp, which is, but at a voluntary degree. These six people will make history if they will be able to endure all the hard times this mission gives them.
This year long isolation project is NASA’s fourth mission in the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation research project and the longest US isolation experiment up to this point. HI-SEAS is also the second Mars project in the world, surpassed solely by the third mission of the Mars500 project, conducted by Russia, the European Space Agency and China, during which six individuals have lived for 520 days in a 12 by 66 foot capsule.
In order to simulate all needed protection from solar radiation, the HI-SEAS dome has a single one porthole. Factors such as weightlessness cannot be simulated and the dome regulates electricity use, which relies only on solar power and has a strictly limited water supply.
The mission on Mars is one of the most important scientific experiments up to this date, opening new paths of discovery and extension of human existence on outer space territories. As NASA simulates life on Mars, new hope for the future arises.
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