29 Aug 2016

Scientists end 'year on Mars' mission

12:00 pm on 29 August 2016

A team of six people have completed a Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in near isolation for a year.

The team has almost no privacy, living in this small domed structure for a year.

The team has almost no privacy, living in this small domed structure for a year. Photo: AFP / Handout / University of Hawaii at Manoa / Sian Proctor

Since 29 August 2015, the group lived in close quarters in a dome, without fresh air, fresh food or privacy.

Experts estimate a human mission to the Red Planet could take between one and three years.

The Nasa-funded study run by the University of Hawaii was the longest of its kind, after a Russian mission that lasted 520 days.

"The researchers are looking forward to getting in the ocean and eating fresh produce and other foods that weren't available in the dome", said Kim Binsted, principal investigator for the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation.

The team consisted of a French astro-biologist, a German physicist and four Americans - a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist.

Inside the dome which housed the six researchers for a year.

Inside the dome which housed the six researchers for a year. Photo: AFP / Handout / University of Hawaii at Manoa / Sian Proctor

The experiment dealt with the human element of exploration.

While conducting research, the six had to live with limited resources, wear a space-suit when outside the dome, and work to avoid personal conflicts.

They each had a small sleeping cot and a desk inside their rooms. Provisions included powdered cheese and canned tuna.

Missions to the International Space Station normally only last six months.

The scientists in August last year just before the experiment began.

The scientists in August last year just before the experiment began. Photo: AFP / Handout / University of Hawaii at Manoa / Pete Roma

- BBC

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