The upcoming Mars mission involves a lot of challenges that need to be overcome, from both a technological and scientific aspect as well as related to the human resources of the mission. Astronauts undergo prolonged training just to travel to the ISS, but Mars will require an even higher training period.
The astronauts who are very likely to be part of the upcoming Mars Mission have already begun training for the several aspects of their lives, experiences and daily activities on the Red Planet. NASA has started a series of programs in various regions of the world which can best simulate certain conditions on Mars.
The latest training exercise comes in the form of a study of human behavior in an environment and living conditions similar to what the astronauts can expect on Mars. The study will take place in remote geodesic dome placed near a volcano in Hawaii. The study will begin on Thursday when six future astronauts will call the dome their home for a period of eight months. The surrounding region of the Mauna Loa volcano will serve to simulate the lifeless environment of Mars.
To recreate the conditions on Mars as realistically as possible, the crew members will not have any contact with the outside world for the entire duration, except in cases of utmost urgency. Furthermore, there will also be a 20-minute communications delay, as that it is the time required for any messages to reach Earth. If any of the crew members decide to leave the dome, they will be required to wear their space suit.
Besides simulating the environment and living conditions of the upcoming Mars mission, the purpose of the study is to evaluate the psychological strains of isolation in remote locations. NASA developed the study in collaboration with the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation facility of the University of Hawaii.
The leader of the research team analyzing the behavior of the crew is Kim Binstead, a science professor at the University of Hawaii. The study will provide NASA with a better understanding of human behavior in conditions of Mars, and the best ways to select the appropriate astronauts.
What do you think about the study in Hawaii in preparation for the Mars mission?
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