This experiment will simulate the life of four people in a small enclosed space, who will be cut off from the usual amenities of earthly life, such as smartphones, the Internet, TV, and so on.
This particular experiment is the first of three planned missions that will be implemented in phases under the CHAPEA project (similar to the crew health and performance study).
Participants in the experiment, including research scientist Kelly Huston, civil engineer Ross Brockwell, emergency physician Nathan Jones and US Navy microbiologist Anka Celariu, will spend 378 days on an isolated 3D-printed “Martian base”.
The purpose of the experiment is to test the impact of such isolated and cramped spaces on the human body and mind.
Study participants will do everything possible to maintain their physical and mental health at an optimal level, and the results that will be received at the end of the experiment will help NASA understand how a long stay, for example, on Mars, can affect astronauts in the future .
An accurate understanding of how a simulated Martian base will affect humans is essential to shaping an effective NASA approach to mental and physical health issues in future deep space missions, including the Artemis program, during which astronauts will temporarily reside on Moon.
NASA says the simulated base includes private crew quarters, a kitchen, areas for medical care, recreation, fitness, work and crops. There are also technical areas and two bathrooms.
During the entire experiment, participants will have to independently cope with equipment failures, stresses and optimally allocate a limited amount of resources.
In addition, participants will perform simulated walks on the Martian surface, as well as grow some crops, using the same approach that NASA hopes will be used during a real flight to Mars.
Humanity is still a long way from colonizing another planet like the heroes of science fiction books and films do. But we hope that this experiment and subsequent ones will lay the foundation for future manned missions to other worlds.