Space

One year Mars mission simulation underway in Hawaii

One year Mars mission simulati...
The project sees a solar-powered dome 36 ft in diameter and 20 ft high uses to simulate a Mars habitat
The project sees a solar-powered dome 36 ft in diameter and 20 ft high uses to simulate a Mars habitat
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Lower level of the dome plan
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Lower level of the dome plan
Upper level of the dome plan
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Upper level of the dome plan
The project sees a solar-powered dome 36 ft in diameter and 20 ft high uses to simulate a Mars habitat
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The project sees a solar-powered dome 36 ft in diameter and 20 ft high uses to simulate a Mars habitat
The interior of the dome is spacious, but there's no privacy
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The interior of the dome is spacious, but there's no privacy
The crew will conduct "EVAs" for scientific studies
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The crew will conduct "EVAs" for scientific studies
The crew can only leave the dome in simulated space suits
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The crew can only leave the dome in simulated space suits
The dome at night
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The dome at night
The HI-SEAS 4 crew will spend a year on a simulated Mars mission
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The HI-SEAS 4 crew will spend a year on a simulated Mars mission
Plan of the dome
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Plan of the dome
Views from the dome are very limited
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Views from the dome are very limited
The crew will spend a year in a dome habitat
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The crew will spend a year in a dome habitat
Dome kitchen area
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Dome kitchen area
Dome sleeping quarters
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Dome sleeping quarters

Six people have begun a year-long mission to Mars without ever leaving Earth. Last week on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, the volunteers sealed themselves inside a dome habitat where they will live in isolation for one year on a simulated space mission. The fourth Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS 4) aims to study how deep space missions can maintain morale on prolonged voyages.

Funded by NASA and conducted by the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Cornell University, the HI-SEAS project began in 2013 as a cost-effective way of carrying out isolation experiments in the context of a simulated mission to the Red Planet. It uses a solar-powered dome 36 ft (11m) in diameter and 20 ft (6m) high designed to simulate a Mars habitat. This dome is situated 8,000 ft (2,400 m) up on the slopes of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii, which act as an analog of the Martian surface.

HI-SEAS 4 is the fourth and longest of the HI-SEAS missions , with prvious simulations only lasting four to eight months at a time. Its male/female crew consists of volunteers from France, Germany, and the United States and includes an MD, an architecture post-graduate student, a soil scientist, a space scientist, an astrobiologist, and a physicist.

The crew can only leave the dome in simulated space suits
The crew can only leave the dome in simulated space suits

Slated to last a full year, the purpose of the HI-SEAS 4 is to study how astronauts can maintain morale and continue to perform at an effective level not only in relative isolation from the rest of the human race, but also a small group in conditions of near-zero privacy. During the mission, the crew will eat freeze-dried foods to simulate astronaut diets and provide suggestions to improve menus for actual space crews, They are only allowed out of the dome while wearing simulated spacesuits for geological and microbial surveys.

"I’m looking forward to getting to act like an astronaut for a year, because I’ve wanted to be an astronaut for most of my life," says HI-SEAS crew member Andrzej Stewart. "I’m not a real astronaut yet but I’m getting closer and closer to that dream and this is a step in that direction."

Source: University of Hawaii at Manoa

4 comments
Racqia Dvorak
What a waste of time. Mar's dust is so toxic and finely grained that habitation would be impossible except if you never went outside.... which would negate the point. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23505-toxic-mars-dust-could-hamper-planned-human-missions/
Larry Butler
To make this simulation much more realistic, they need to surround the habitat with exposed depleted uranium cores from the spent fuel pool of the local nuclear power plant and lay out a pattern of spent fuel wherever the guys in the plastic, unshielded space suits are allowed to go outside to simulate the horrible cosmic, solar and secondary surface radiation the cosmic rays create from smashing into the planet surface. An unretouched photo from a Mars rover tells the real story: http://d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/0529ML2098008000E1_DXXX.jpg Those multicolored dots across the entire rover photo are NOT stars, but pixels in the CCD camera that were attacked by the very high energy radiation that made it all the way to the imager buried in the shielded camera. If you put a camera into the melted down Fukushima nuclear reactors intense internal radiation, you see the same effect: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/Y3Vdiwg6c5o/hqdefault.jpg Where this picture was taken, an many Sieverts of radiation, a man in a tyvek suit lasts about 3 minutes and had his lifetime radiation limit in 30 seconds of exposure. Nobody's gonna live on the Martian surface where the planet has no magnetic field or shielding raditation belts that field causes...like Earth has.
RelayerM31
It would totally suck to be one of those people. No glory, just tedium.
christopher
This is a psychological experiment, so they messed it up immediately. Deep down, every one of those participants knows they can bail at any point - just walk away. They should have located it somewhere different, like in the center of a vast Australian desert wasteland, or an ice pole, where there's exactly *no* doubt that any "walk away" attempt would meet certain death. There's no point at all examining people's minds, when the whole contrived situation is make-believe to start with.