Briton emerges from isolation after 8 months of ‘Martian’ life
A BRITISH man will today emerge from eight months living in a dome in Hawaii with just five other people as part of a Nasa-backed study into surviving on Mars.
Samuel Payler, a doctoral candidate at the UK Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, became the first Briton to participate in the research when he entered the dome in January, on the fifth such mission. The HI-SEAS team (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation), from the University of Hawaii, began sending people into isolation in 2012, in a bid to assess how humans react to it. Nasa hopes to be able to send humans to Mars by the 2030s.
“This is our fifth mission, and we have learned a lot over those five missions,” said Kim Binsted, from the University of Hawaii.
“So the previous three missions, the four-, eight- and 12-month missions, those were primarily looking at crew cohesion and performance.
“On this mission and going forward we are looking at crew selection and composition.”
Four men and two women entered the 1,200 sq ft dome that they would call home in January. Mr Payler was the only non-American.
His two female colleagues were a former software engineer at Google, Laura Lark; and Ansley Barnard, an engineer from Nevada who has designed aerodynamic bodywork for cars racing in the 100th Indy 500.
Ms Barnard hopes to become an astronaut, but prior to entering the dome worked in engineering optimisation at Ford Motor Company seeking to reduce vehicle weight, cost and engineering time.
Surviving on canned and freezedried food, they were allowed outside – but only in space suits.
They were able to communicate with the outside world – but only with a 20-minute delay, to mimic the time lag for communications from Mars.
Briton Samuel Payler has completed an eight-month study into living on Mars