Mars crew emerges from desert dome
Six scientists have emerged from a special dome on a mountain in Hawaii after spending eight months in near-total isolation. The scientists were testing what it would be like to live on Mars.
The group lived in a dome on Mauna Loa, which is one of five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaii. The soil near Mauna Loa is so dry, it is similar to the soil on Mars. The dome is also really high up, which means almost no plant life can grow there.
In the dome, the scientists had to carry out research and track how much food, water and power they used. They were only allowed to eat freeze-dried food, and had to wear spacesuits to go outside. They also had a 20-minute delay when communicating with the outside world. This is how long it would take for a message to be sent from Earth to Mars.
The dome included space for the crew to sleep, plus a kitchen, laboratory, bathroom and simulated airlock system for getting outside.
The biggest problem that can arise during a long mission like this is making sure the crew members don’t have too many arguments. British participant Sam Payler said that losing internet access was a bigger problem than arguments in the dome. “I was very lucky to have a great crew. No isolated group can be immune to any arguments, but everyone did an amazing job of working through any issues we had,” he said.
When the crew members emerged from the dome, they feasted on fresh fruit and got to see their families. Cyprien Verseux, a scientist from France, said missions like this prove that humans could go to Mars.
“I can give you my personal impression, which is that a mission to
Mars in the close future is realistic. I think the technological and psychological obstacles can be overcome,” she said.
This is the fifth simulated mission in the dome. The next is scheduled to begin next year, and will also last eight months.
The crew emerged after eight months. The Mauna Loa dome is 2,500 metres above sea level in Hawaii, US.
Six scientists took part in the
The scientists could only eat freeze-dried food.