CHAPEA Mission: Scientists locked for a year in a house simulating Martian conditions are finally out!

CHAPEA Mission: Scientists locked for a year in a house simulating Martian conditions are finally out!
CHAPEA Mission: Scientists locked for a year in a house simulating Martian conditions are finally out!

Since June 25, 2023, NASA scientists have been locked in a 3D-printed habitat simulating the extreme conditions of the planet Mars. Confined for a year, they finally came out this Saturday, July 6, 2024.

In June 2023, four NASA scientists were selected to participate in the CHAPEA mission. The goal? To embark for a year in a habitat, called “Mars Dune Alpha”, which simulates the conditions of life on Mars. The volunteers left this Saturday, July 6, 2024.

Locked in the same conditions as on Mars

In a statementNASA announced the creation of a 3D-printed structure in which scientists would live for a year in order to measure “the physical and behavioral health outcomes and performance for future space missions.” So, on June 25, 2023, Kelly Haston, Anca Selariu, Ross Brockwell and Nathan Jones boarded the Mars Dune Alpha, based at NASA’s research center in Houstonin Texas, for exactly 378 days.
Inside this 160m2 habitat, the scientists had four bedrooms, a gym, a vertical farm for growing lettucea room dedicated to medical procedures and workstations. “I am very proud and honored to be part of this crew and this project, and to participate in a small part of the work being done here on Earth that will one day allow humans to explore and live on Mars,” “We’re delighted,” said Kelly Haston, the mission’s commander, as it emerged from the habitat.

Research conducted on the Mars Dune Alpha habitat will be used by NASA to inform risk and resource tradeoffs to support crew health and performance during life on Mars on a long-duration mission. NASA

A future CHAPEA mission planned for 2025

The adventure doesn’t end there for the scientists. Next spring, the volunteers will carry out new, more advanced simulations. This time, they will have to do physical activity, growing crops or even doing spacewalk simulationsdetails the Huffpost media informed by AFP. In addition to this, the participants will be subjected to certain conditions: stress, restrictions on their resources, equipment failures, for example. All this with the aim of better preparing astronauts for living conditions outside of Earth, when they set foot on the Moon again in 2026 and on Mars in 2030, or even 2040, thanks to the Artemis missions.

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