With the Mars simulation, Haney suggests that NASA should monitor crew members for risk factors, such as signs of stress, irritability, and mood swings, as well as changes in sleep and eating habits. And for the staff, they encourage creating systems, including cultural traditions, and trying to reach out to the outside world, not just managing the NASA mission, to reduce isolation.
For his part, Haston plans to bring videos of familiar places as well as audio recordings of words and music that are meaningful to him, anticipating the lack of sound in similar environments on Mars. He also plans to use meditation to deal with stress.
Chapea builds on previous Mars-like experiments, including simulations supported by NASA and Hi-SEAS on the northern slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Hi-SEAS conducted six tests between 2013 and 2018, and the last one was aborted just four days after the worker was taken to hospital after being electrocuted.
Kate Greene, author Once upon a time I lived on Mars, they were part of the first group of Hi-SEAS, who live in the shelter for four months. (One of the crew members was Sian Proctor, a geoscientist and artist who later flew into orbit on SpaceX’s Inspiration4.) Greene thinks the programs are useful. He said: “What makes them profitable is the intelligent design of experiments. “I think it’s very important to think about the people involved in a long-term space mission. As Kim Binsted, director of Hi-SEAS, used to say, ‘If something goes wrong in the mind or the behavior of the people involved , it can be as dangerous as a rocket exploding.’”
Ashley Kowalski, who worked on the eight-month mission to Mars called SIRIUS-21 managed by NASA and the Russian, French, and German agencies, says they are also good for helping future humans prepare mentally. He said: “Until you live in such a place, you don’t really know how to deal with issues and situations that may arise.
In the end, the real mission of Mars will be more difficult than any simulation on Earth. Those who travel to space have to worry about risks such as atmospheric radiation, the health effects of microgravity, and the lack of water, food, energy, and breathing air. And unlike Chapea’s volunteers, if they get sick of their co-workers, they can’t just quit.
But Haston also shows the positive side of this unique situation. “There are critics who say: ‘You will be four angry people.’ “But we’re also going to be a big team that can do things and understand each other in a way that most people don’t,” he says.