June 19, 2024

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NASA reveals the “home of Mars” | Space news

NASA reveals the “home of Mars” |  Space news

NASA has unveiled its new Mars simulated habitat, which volunteers will live in for a year at a time to test what life would be like on future missions to the Red Planet.

The facility, which was built for three planned experiments called Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA), is located at NASA’s massive research base in Houston, Texas.

Four volunteers will begin the first experiment this summer in which NASA plans to monitor their physical and mental health to better understand how humans are capable of such prolonged isolation.

With this data, NASA will better understand the “resource use” of astronauts on Mars, said Grace Douglas, principal investigator for the CHAPEA experiments.

“We can really start to understand how we support them with what we give them, and that’s going to be really important information for making critical resource decisions,” she said on a habitat press tour.

She added that such a remote mission comes with “very strict group restrictions”.

Volunteers will live in a 1,700-square-foot (160-square-meter) house dubbed Mars Dune Alpha, which includes two bathrooms, a vertical salad farm, a room designated for medical care, a relaxation area and several work stations. .

The airlock leads to an “external” reconstruction of the Martian environment – though it still exists inside the hangar.

Scattered around the red sand-covered floor are likely several pieces of equipment that the astronauts might use, including a weather station, a brick-making machine, and a small greenhouse.

There is also a treadmill on which astronauts walk suspended from belts to simulate the lower gravity of the Red Planet.

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Researchers will regularly test the crew’s response to stressful situations, such as restricted water availability or equipment failure.

The habitat has another special feature: it’s 3D printed.

“This is one of the technologies that NASA is looking at as a possibility to build a habitat on other planetary or lunar surfaces,” said Douglas.

NASA is in the early stages of preparing for a mission to Mars, though most of the agency’s focus is on the upcoming Artemis missions, which aim to return humans to the moon for the first time in half a century.