Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Danger! This Mission to Mars Could Bore You to Death!


Right now, six people are living in a nearly windowless, white geodesic dome on the slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano. They sleep in tiny rooms, use no more than eight minutes of shower time a week and subsist on a diet of freeze-dried, canned or preserved food. When they go outside, they exit through a mock air lock, clad head to toe in simulated spacesuits. The dome’s occupants are playing a serious version of the game of pretend — what if we lived on Mars?  

Research at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project, funded in part by NASA, is a continuation of a long history of attempts to understand what will happen to people who travel through outer space for long periods of time. It’s more than a technical problem. Besides multistage rockets to propel a spacecraft out of Earth’s atmosphere, years of planning and precise calculations and massive amounts of fuel, traveling the tens of millions of miles to Mars will take a tremendous amount of time. With current technology, the journey takes more than eight months each way.

For the rest of the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/magazine/danger-this-mission-to-mars-could-bore-you-to-death.html?_r=0

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