MAUI, HAWAII — A team of scientists have finally returned to civilization after completing a NASA-funded isolation experiment to simulate life on Mars.
NASA reports that the six-person HI-SEAS Mission V crew lived in a dome on the Mars-like landscape of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano for eight months.
The dome was equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, common area, and six individual bedrooms. Though not confined to the inside, the crew were required to don spacesuits whenever they went outside.
While in the habitat, the crew conducted scientific research, equipment testing, and resource tracking. They also had to learn to prepare food using dehydrated and shelf-stable ingredients.
Communications with the outside were subject to a delay of 20 minutes — the same amount of time it takes for signals to reach Mars from Earth.
To better understand the psychological impacts of a long-term space mission, they were fitted with sensors that gauged their moods and monitored interactions with other members.
The mission is the fifth in a series of six studies designed to help NASA select crews that can do well on an expedition to the red planet. The sixth and final HI-SEAS mission will also last for eight months and is slated to begin in January 2018.
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