NASA’s space agency, Mars Dune Alpha, has provided the building in which four volunteers will pretend to live on Mars for a year. The 160-square-meter house has separate bedrooms, a shared workstation, a medical department, a gym and a “cottage”, giving the impression that it was used as a balloon in a previous life. At NASA they are known for their impressive technical prowess, but to design that cottage, some life-size pictures of rock walls were put up on a wall and a load of red sand was poured on the floor. It’s good to know that not all NASA applications are infinitely complex.
The purpose of the whole thing is, of course, to simulate future missions to Mars, the Red Planet where our future seems to lie as soon as possible. Thanks to these first four volunteers, it is possible to determine what is needed for such a remarkable expedition, which should take place early in the next decade.
Very noble, of course—these four are perhaps the first historical link in the migration of mankind—though I especially wonder who was weary of life to subscribe to this. I got the answer faster than expected. My husband thinks it’s cool and would love to throw himself into such an adventure. Fortunately, you don’t have to forbid him anything, because he’s completely unsuitable for an expedition to Mars – the guy is already getting seasick from a big movie screen and doesn’t cross the IJsselmeer.
The four volunteers found suitable will be announced in June. They have a bad job ahead of them, because living conditions on the Red Planet are not comfortable at all. This gives them a limited amount of water. For food, they have to rely on a “vertical farm”, which is a rack on which they have to grow their own vegetables. NASA says it has very strict weight limits during the mission, but given the diet of the participants, no one will be overweight. The condition of the participants must be well preserved anyway, since medical facilities are also scarce; That gym is not optional.
The building itself was created by a 3D printer using lava cream, a material that had to be made on Mars itself. It is not financially viable to fly large quantities of wood and bricks out of the ground; Local raw materials must be used.
In addition to the many technical and practical challenges, NASA is concerned with the mental and social component of the mission. How do people react when faced with scarcity? And what happens if things also go wrong or disappoint, causing her stress? Emergencies will be simulated during the trial to see what the response is. The four participants depend on each other and must have the ability to work together in all circumstances.
Basically, simulation means that a group of people must learn to live with a scarce amount of utilities and raw materials, without crushing each other’s brains in the process. Apparently, four NASA volunteers are willing to accept the uncomfortable conditions for this. In short, these four would do what we need to do now to save her on our current planet. They are heroes.
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