Six scientists have come to the end of the year-long simulation of life on Mars, carried out in Hawaii with a dome as habitat, in almost total isolation.
For the past year, the group whose dome was installed on Mauna Loa mountain, could only go outside while wearing space suits. This Sunday, the simulation came to an end and the scientists emerged. According to Cyprien Verseux, a French member of the crew, the simulation proved that a mission to Mars could succeed.
“I can give you my personal impression, which is that carrying out a mission to Mars in the near future is realistic. I think the technological and psychological barriers can be overcome”said Cyprien Verseux.
Christiane Heinicke, a German crew member, further stated that the scientists managed to find their own water in a dry climate.
“It works, you can actually get water from seemingly dry soil. It would work on Mars, we would be able to get water through this little greenhouse construct”she says.
Tristan Bassingthwaighte, doctoral candidate in architecture at the University of Hawaii, and architect of the crew specifies that “The research done here is simply vital in choosing crews, understanding how people will actually work on different types of missions, and understanding the human factor for space travel. »
The various members of the crew each had a small sleeping area with a camp bed and a desk to work or have fun thanks to limited internet access.
According to Kim Binsted, principal investigator of this project, the researchers are eager to go into the ocean and finally be able to eat fresh produce and the many foods that were not available in the dome. “HI-SEAS is an example of international collaborative research organized and led by the University of Hawaii. It’s really exciting to welcome the crew back to ‘earth’. »
NASA funded the study at the University of Hawaii. This simulation is the second longest of its kind after a mission that lasted 520 days in Russia. Hawaii simulation scientists had to organize with limited resources, while conducting research and working to avoid personal conflict.