Two men and two women, all researchers, not professional astronauts, will live for a year as if they were on Mars, inside a 3D-printed base: a simulation of the Mars mission organized by NASA has begun. In the 158-square-meter structure called Mars Dune Alpha, in the Johnson Space Center area, medical expert Kelly Haston, engineer Ross Brockwell, emergency medicine expert Nathan Jones, and microbiologist Anca Selariu will work for a year. For a year, the “analog astronauts,” as NASA defines them, will be continuously monitored on Chapaia’s first mission, which stands for crew health and analog exploration performance. In this way, they will provide useful information for planning the first real mission of astronauts to Mars. Only the four of them will be able to leave their new 3D-printed home to simulate spacewalks on Mars, in a 111-square-meter space that simulates Martian soil. Compared to other NASA simulations to date, this experiment provides a longer isolation period of 378 days versus 45 days for previous missions. The European Space Agency holds the record for duration of Mars mission simulations to date, with 520 days of the Mars 500 program, conducted between 2007 and 2011.
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