scientists have completed a yearlong Mars simulation in Hawaii, where
they lived in a dome in near isolation.
For the past year, the group in the dome on a Mauna Loa mountain could
go outside only while wearing spacesuits.
On Sunday, the simulation ended, and the scientists emerged.
Cyprien Verseux, a crew member from France, said the simulation shows a
mission to Mars can succeed. "I can give you my personal impression
which is that a mission to Mars in the close future is realistic. I
think the technological and psychological obstacles can be overcome,’’
Christiane Heinicke, a crew member from Germany, said the scientists
succeeded in finding their own water in a dry climate. "Showing that it
works, you can actually get water from the ground that is seemingly dry.
It would work on Mars and the implication is that you would be able to
get water on Mars from this little greenhouse construct,’’ she said.
Tristan Bassingthwaighte, a doctor of architecture candidate at
University of Hawaii, served as the crew’s architect.
"The UH research going on up here is just super vital when it comes to
picking crews, figuring out how people are going to actually work on
different kinds of missions, and sort of the human factors element of
space travel, colonization, whatever it is you are actually looking
at,’’ Bassingthwaighte said.
Kim Binsted, principal investigator for the Hawaii Space Exploration
Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), said the researchers are looking
forward to getting in the ocean and eating fresh produce and other foods
that weren’t available in the dome.
"HI-SEAS is an example of international collaborative research hosted
and run by the University of Hawaii. So it’s really exciting to be able
to welcome the crew back to earth and back to Hawaii after a year on
Mars,’’ Binsted said.