Six scientists isolated from the world for 365 days, sheltered in a geodesic dome half loss of Mauna Loa, one of the five volcanoes of Hawaii. With this experience, which sought to simulate the conditions of a stay on Mars, is expected to establish guidelines for future trips to the red planet.
The team consisted of experts in medicine or physics of various nationalities. The six have had to live in a small with limited resources and recognize that feigned stay on Mars has been very real space for them.
Mauna Loa was chosen because its soil is similar to that of Mars. Because of the altitude, the environment does not grow any plants. They have been living there completely isolated, within a cabin of 11 meters wide and 6 high that fed by solar energy. Possessed of a communications system that relayed messages with 20 minutes late, the same time it would take to get a communication if there was a real connection Mars-Earth. Every time they wanted to go outside, it had to do with special costumes.
Participants were able to get water in a dry climate and feed. But in addition to technical and physical issues, the mission proved the psychological capacity of individuals. They have been twelve months of isolation from the outside world and twelve months of intense coexistence in a confined space.
Simulation which have passed has been the longest second carried out by man so far. The first was a 520-day project conducted Russia. NASA will begin its next simulated mission in January next year and is expected to last eight months.
The experience leaves valuable information for future space travel, but also reveals the physical and psychological cruelty involved