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6 Scientists Just Emerged from a Dome After Simulating a Year-Long Stay on Mars

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Six young scientists just emerged after a year of isolation in a small dome (and its surrounding area) on a mountain in Mauna Loa, Hawaii. NASA helped to fund this HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) project that simulated a stay on Mars. The goal was to see how productively a group of humans could live and work together for a year while only seeing five other people in a tight space.

The scientists had to completely immerse themselves in the experience. Every time they went outside, they had to put on spacesuits and follow protocol. The only way they communicated with the outside world was through a blog. There, they could discuss the vivid dreams of their faraway “life on Earth,” and confront the fact they simply couldn’t get away from each other.

If the experiment sounds familiar, it might be because a Russian team of scientists underwent a very similar experience. Theirs lasted an incredibly long 520 days. This would more closely resemble the amount of time it would take a crew to reach Mars and return. Increased stress and fatigue was observed during the final third of the mission.

HI-SEAS will continue their mock missions to Mars, and those qualified can apply to be considered for the crew. Check out their website for more information.