MARS

MARS, as we all know is our neighboring planet in the Solar System. Thinking of going to a neighbor’s house is okay, thinking of going to a neighboring planet is also okay? YES, is the answer coming from the scientists of our times. They are currently rejoicing their successful completion of a simulated experiment that has potentially opened doors for a migration to MARS in the future.

Advancements in science can been felt and seen visibly in many frontiers. Be it in improving our lifestyles or innovations that change the way things are, newer researches have never failed to amuse us. The things people could only visualize are now turning out to be ground breaking reality, thanks to the scientists behind all these implementations.

Here is the report on the experiment and what actually was the plan before starting it.

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MARS Simulation team

After 365 days, the second-longest mission in project history, six crew members exited their simulation habitat on slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii on Sunday. The crew lived in isolation in a geodesic dome set in a MARS-like environment as part of the University of Hawaii at Mauna’s fourth Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and simulation, or HI-SEAS project.

MARS Simulation – The AIM

The main aim behind this simulation was to see how well a team can do consisting of strangers. On a strange planet, which could one day turn out to be our potential alternative for life. Also to familiarize with the planet and to not have it as a “strange planet” anymore.

The aim of scientists is to explore beyond the explored paths in order to design newer paths and set remarkable milestones.

At the ending of these simulation, these scientists would figure out living possibilities in planets that are around us. This could very well change the way we once considered science of migration from one habitat to another.

Migration is a process in which a group of living organisms move from one place to another. Upon depletion of the resources in the current place they migrate again. This could well be the scenario down the line when we deplete our mother earth’s natural resources.Although this isn’t the only reason for this experiment, this is one of the major motivations. Also, exploration of MARS could give us ideas to a greater extent to understand the universe on the whole.

The DOME

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The dome used for the simulation

The study designers described the small dome where the crew lived as a “habitat,” writing in a press release:

“It is an open concept design that includes common areas such as kitchen, dining, bathroom with shower, lab, exercise, and work spaces. A second floor loft spans an area of 424 square feet and includes six separate bedrooms and a half bath. In addition, a 160 square foot workshop converted from a 20 foot long steel shipping container is attached to the habitat.”

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Dome in Hawaii

Living in such close quarters is difficult. That too away from normalcy is even more harder. But the team has pulled it off and they have helped in a bigger way for the research to proceed in the right direction.

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The Kitchen inside the Dome

THE TEAM

US, French and German volunteers have been living on freeze-dried food and trying to avoid personal conflicts on the red planet-like slopes of Mauna Loa.

A committee of space experts chooses crew members they describe as “astronaut-like,” and the candidate criteria include an undergraduate degree in science or engineering, at least three years of research experience or graduate study, and mental and physical strength. The crew for this mission included a NASA physician,a german physicist, a hydrologist from Montana, an MIT-trained engineer and pilot, a French microbiologist and an architecture student from Tongji University in Shanghai.

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MARS Simulation Crew

WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE?

The crew members did have access to the Internet and email, but there was a 20-minute delay to send or receive a message, to simulate the time it takes to transmit a message between Mars and Earth. They stayed in the dome to learn about difficulties like managing resources, growing food and working out conflicts – problems that future astronauts on deep-space missions may face.

And most of the crew agreed that a year within the habitat became extremely monotonous. “More than anything it’s just kind of keeping yourself from getting bored and dealing with cabin fever,” said crew member Tristan Bassingthwaighte during an interview on Periscope. Multiple people on the team suggested future HI-SEAS crew members bring lots of books.

Although this is the second longest after a 520 day long simulation having been conducted earlier, each one is vital. The success of this experiment could be very well be seen through the future enhancements. The next set of volunteers for the experiment of an 8 month-long simulation is getting ready and will start from 2017-18.

Meanwhile, here is what the ones who took up this simulation had to say.

So it is definitely possible for these simulations and observations to lead human kind to understand and unearth centuries old mysteries. Not only that, but also to prove the extent of science’s impact! 🙂

Summary

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