Nasa starts year-long isolation to simulate life on Mars

By Updated at 2015-08-30 22:11:05 +0000

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Nasa starts year-long isolation to simulate life on Mars.
The isolation experience, which will last a year, will be the longest of its type attempted.
Experts estimate that a human mission to the Red Planet could take between one and three years.
The six-strong team will live in close quarters under the dome, without fresh air, fresh food or privacy.
They closed themselves away at 15:00 local time on Friday (01:00 GMT Saturday).
A journey outside the dome - which measures only 36ft (11m) in diameter and is 20ft (6m) tall - will require a spacesuit.

Mauna_loa_hawaii

Mission commander Martha Lenio collects a soil sample outside of the dome in which six scientists lived an isolated existence to simulate life on a mission to Mars, on the bleak slopes of dormant volcano Mauna Loa near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii on March 10. | AP


A French astrobiologist, a German physicist and four Americans - a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist - make up the Nasa team.

Crew-members

Top row, from left: Tristan Bassingthwaighte, Sheyna Gifford and Christiane Heinicke. Bottom row, from left: Carmel Johnston, Cyprien Verseux and Andrzej Stewart. (Photos: University of Hawaii)


The men and women will each have a small sleeping cot and a desk inside their rooms. Provisions include powdered cheese and canned tuna.
Missions to the International Space Station last six months. The US space agency has recently conducted four-month and eight-month-long isolation experiments.

Live_on_mars

Panoramas of the Pathfinder Landing Site on Mars


While others focus on the technical and scientific challenges of the journey, the isolation experiments address the human element of exploration and problems that arise living in tight quarters.
"I think one of the lessons is that you really can't prevent interpersonal conflicts. It is going to happen over these long-duration missions, even with the very best people," said Kim Binsted, a Nasa investigator.


By BBC News Services

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