Year-long Mars simulation in Hawaii ends

Year-long Mars simulation in Hawaii ends

After living in near isolation for a whole year, six people who have completed a Mars simulation in Hawaii are returning home. The team had been kept inside a dome on Mauna Loa and would only go outside in space suits. They did not have access to fresh air, fresh food, or have any privacy.

This environment, designed to simulate life in Mars, will provide scientist with a better approach of what living in the red planet would be like. It is estimated that a mission to Mars will take from 1 to 3 years. 

After the simulation was completed, the members of the experiment all agreed that a mission to Mars would be successful. "I can give you my personal impression which is that a mission to Mars in the close future is realistic," said Cyprien Verseux, a crew member from France, "I think the technological and psychological obstacles can be overcome."

The scientists had to deal with the anxiety of isolation and had to learn how to live without conflict. Being roommates for a year can prove to be difficult, according to mission commander Carmel Johnston. "It is kind of like having roommates that just are always there and you can never escape them so I'm sure some people can imagine what that is like and if you can't then just imagine never being able to get away from anybody," she said.

Within the dome, each one of them only had a small cot and a desk in their rooms. Provisions were limited and included tuna and powdered cheese. There were also experiments on explorations where the members had to wear an astronaut suit to be able to go outside the dome.

The team was composed of a French astro-biologist, a German physicist, and a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist – the last four were Americans.