Six scientists have successfully completed a space mission without ever setting foot in a rocket.
The crew spent eight-months cooped up in a Mars-like habitat on a barren plateau just beneath a remote Hawaiian volcano.
HI_SEAS</a> simulation crew readying to exit <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaunaLoa?src=hash">#MaunaLoa</a> habitat - <a href="https://t.co/GEVvlUXLcN">https://t.co/GEVvlUXLcN</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HiSEAS?src=hash">#HiSEAS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mars?src=hash">#Mars</a> <a href="https://t.co/SdyM74Dlfs">pic.twitter.com/SdyM74Dlfs</a></p>— University of Hawaii (uhmanoa) September 15, 2017
The data produced by the HI-SEAS V project should help NASA to identify the psychological profile of the people best suited to long and isolating missions, which will come in useful by 2030, when it hopes to send humans to Mars.
The future of the species
Samuel Paylor, Science Officer on HI-SEAS V mission, said that @we need to send the humans out because it’s important for the future of the species. I think it’s actually really important to get off Earth. If you look back at the geological record, it is just full of mass extinctions.”
During the experiment, run by the University of Hawaii, team members wore space suits and travelled in teams whenever they left their base. They had to sent out robots to collect parcels of supplies dropped at a distance from their pod.
All communications with the outside world were subject to the same 20-minute delay that would affect satellite communications between the Red Planet and Earth.
Good luck to the undersea— HI-SEAS (@HI_SEAS) June 25, 2017
NASA_NEEMO</a> 22 crew from the on-volcano <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HISEAS?src=hash">#HISEAS</a> M5 crew. Stay in (delayed) touch! VEGGIE misses you, <a href="https://twitter.com/astro_kjell">astro_kjell. pic.twitter.com/rn0om8XiMM
Their base was 111 square metres, about the same size as a small two-bedroom house. It contained living quarters, a kitchen, a laboratory and a bathroom, where the team shared a single shower and two composting toilets.
They survived on freeze-dried food and a few vegetables grown by their biology specialist. Emerging from the cramped dome, the scientists were most looking forward to eating fresh fruit and eggs.