Life on Mars to begin June this year
This summer, four brave pioneers will embark on the journey of a lifetime, becoming the first humans to live on Mars—albeit, on Earth.
The ambitious mission, dubbed the CHAPEA (Crew Habitat for the Exploration of Mars Analogs) project initiated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is part of a year-long effort to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
The American space agency is planning three such analog missions to better understand the requirements for a habitat on our next-door cosmic neighbor.
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While analog mission one commences this year, the second mission will be conducted in 2025 and the third mission will be followed up in 2026.
The project will involve a team of four astronauts living in a 3D-printed habitat that simulates conditions on Mars.
The habitat includes private crew quarters, a kitchen, dedicated areas for medical, recreational, fitness and work activities, as well as two bathrooms and a technical work area. The team will face environmental stressors such as resource limitations, isolation, equipment failure and significant workloads.
The crew will carry out different types of mission activities, including simulated spacewalks, robotic operations, habitat maintenance, personal hygiene, exercise, crop growth, meal preparation and consumption, exercise, hygiene activities, maintenance work, personal time, science work, and sleep.
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They will also be responsible for controlling a helicopter-like drone and a roving robot, which will extend their exploration capabilities.
Furthermore, the team will be monitored to determine the impact of resource limitations and isolation.
“We’re really looking at how the crew performance and health changes based on realistic Mars restrictions and the lifestyle of the crew members. So, the lifestyle is what we’re trying to simulate by setting up a realistic environment and workload for the CHAPEA crew,” Raina MacLeod, CHAPEA deputy project manager said.