On the side of a dormant volcano in Hawaii, a 20-foot tall by 36-foot wide dome will be home to six brave recruits, who will have no access to fresh food or air for the 365-day duration of the experiment. A journey outside the dome will require donning a spacesuit.
A team of six NASA recruits began a 365-day experiment designed to investigate how long-term isolation could affect humans on a potential manned mission to the red planet, which could take anywhere from one to three years. As part of the experiment, recruits will live inside a 20-foot tall dome on a dormant volcano in Hawaii to simulate such a mission.
The team is made up of a German physicist, a French astrobiologist, and four Americans, including a soil scientist, a pilot, an architect, and a doctor.
The close living quarters of the dome – which measures only 36 ft in diameter and is 20 ft tall – means very little privacy for team members, who include a German physicist, a French astrobiologist, and four Americans – a soil scientist, a pilot, an architect, and a doctor. The men and women each have a small sleeping cot and a desk inside their rooms.
Additionally, the team will have no access to fresh food or air. Provisions include powdered cheese and canned tuna, and a journey outside the dome will require a spacesuit.
NASA estimates that a human mission to the Red Planet would take one to three years, so the space agency is trying to getting a better grasp on the human element of space exploration and issues that arise living in under such conditions.
The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation project, or HI-SEAS, is the NASA agency responsible for this project. HI-SEAS first long term co-habitation experiment was for four months, followed by an eight-month mission that ended in June.