Nasa’s year-long Mars training: work, rest and play in 11m

AFP PHOTO HANDOUT-University of Hawaii at Manoa - Neil Scheibelhut

WHAT do you get when you put four Americans, a French astrobiologist and a German physicist in a dome with a diameter of just 36 feet? A simulation of life on Mars, apparently.

Six recruits began the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (Hi-Seas) mission yesterday. They will live in the Hawaiian dome for the next 12 months, part of a Nasa-funded project to plan for a human mission to Mars, expected to take between one and three years.

AFP PHOTO HANDOUT-University of Hawaii at Manoa - Zak Wilson

The team will have to survive without fresh food, on a diet including powdered cheese and tinned tuna; for sleeping, they will have only a small cot inside their room.

The experiment aims to better understand the social and psychological effects of travelling in space for great lengths of time. But living in such close quarters would mean ''interpersonal conflicts'', Kim Binsted, a professor at the University of Hawaii, told AFP: ''It is going to happen over these long-duration missions, even with the very best people.''

Topics:  editors picks nasa

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