After spending 365 days cooped up in a habitat and mock spacesuits in Hawaii, six volunteers say astronauts can cope with an even longer, real-life mission to Mars and back.
“A mission to Mars in the close future is realistic,” said Cyprien Verseux, a French biology student who was part of the HI-SEAS simulation crew. “I think the technological and psychological obstacles can be overcome.”
Verseux and his crewmates were held in isolation for an entire year inside the 1,200-square-foot habitat on the slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano. They were allowed to venture outside only for scientific expeditions while wearing simulation spacesuits.
The experiment is part of a NASA-funded program aimed at identifying psychological, technological and logistical factors that might pose challenges for a long-term mission to Mars. This was the fourth and longest simulation managed by HI-SEAS at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.