One year and counting: Mars isolation experiment begins

The obsession with colonizing Mars continues in the media, so much so that I’m starting to wonder how much the movie studio releasing The Martian is paying for it. AFP via Yahoo News reports from Hawaii on a year-long lock-in meant to replicate conditions on Mars:

Six people shut themselves inside a dome for a year in Hawaii, in the longest US isolation experiment aimed at helping NASA prepare for a pioneering journey to Mars.

Photo: Univ. of Hawaii

Photo: Univ. of Hawaii

 

The crew includes a French astrobiologist, a German physicist and four Americans — a pilot, an architect, a doctor/journalist and a soil scientist.

They are based on a barren, northern slope of Mauna Loa, living inside a dome that is 36 feet (11 meters) in diameter and 20 feet tall.

In a place with no animals and little vegetation around, they closed themselves in at 3:00 pm Hawaii time (0100 GMT Saturday), marking the official start to the 12-month mission.

The men and women have their own small rooms, with space for a sleeping cot and desk, and will spend their days eating food like powdered cheese and canned tuna, only going outside if dressed in a spacesuit, and having limited access to the Internet.

So what kind of person wants to spend a year this way?

Crew member Sheyna Gifford described the team as “six people who want to change the world by making it possible for people to leave it at will,” she wrote on her blog, LivefromMars.life…

[continues at AFP via Yahoo News]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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