Mars Simulation Experiment Ends After One Year


Six scientists who lived for a year inside a dome on a Hawaiian mountain emerged Sunday from the experiment, meant to simulate a trip to Mars.

The NASA-funded study was the second-longest of its kind, following a Russian mission that lasted 520 days.

During the simulation, run by the University of Hawaii, the scientists could go outside only while wearing spacesuits as they worked to help researchers understand how the isolation of a deep space mission would impact humans.

The mission participants — Carmel Johnston, Christiane Heinicke, Sheyna E. Gifford, Andrzej Stewart, Cyprien Verseux and Tristan Bassingthwaighte — lived together for 12 months with limited contact from friends, family and the outside world. The crew exited the habitat around 9 a.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), NBC News reported.

The experiment took place on isolated, rocky Mauna Loa, on the island of Hawaii, the state’s largest island. It was part of the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) program, the fourth and longest HI-SEAS mission to date, NBC reported. The first, in 2012, lasted just short of four months.

As the six emerged Sunday, on an overcast day, Verseux could be heard saying, “We were hoping for some sun.”

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SOURCE: USA Today, Greg Toppo