NASA Begins Year-Long Mars Isolation Experiment

Science / Tech
mars isolation test

There are days when life and work and family get so crazy that the idea of being in an isolation chamber sounds downright inviting. However, I’ve never been so bad off that I’d like to go in for a year. This past Saturday in Hawaii, six people did just that – shutting themselves in an isolation chamber for a whole year.

The experiment is part of a series of studies on isolation, in preparation for an eventual manned trip to Mars. While NASA can send an unmanned craft to Mars in approximately 8 months, a manned mission would take anywhere from one to three years. NASA is attempting to learn how to alleviate some of the effects of a lack of fresh air and space to move around.

Having grown up in a family of five, I know how many disagreements and squabbles would break out in the back of our station wagon just on a ten hour road trip. I can’t begin to imagine the disagreements and conflicts that would result from being isolated in a dome that is 36 feet in diameter and 20 feet tall.

The men and women have their own small rooms, with space for a sleeping cot and desk, and will spend their days eating food like powdered cheese and canned tuna, only going outside if dressed in a spacesuit, and having limited access to the Internet.

NASA’s Kim Binsted said that during an eight-month co-habitation mission, which ended earlier this year, conflicts did arise.

I think one of the lessons is that you really can’t prevent interpersonal conflicts. It is going to happen over these long-duration missions, even with the very best people. But what you can do is help people be resilient so they respond well to the problems and can resolve them and continue to perform well as a team.

The results from the study should be made public in about a year.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for some peace, quiet, tranquility, and powdered cheese, check with NASA. They may be hiring.

Would you be willing to spend a year in isolation? Let us know in the comments or on your favorite social media!

  Source: Yahoo News

Photo credit: NASA

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