Mars simulation volunteers re-emerge from year-long mission

Mars simulation volunteers re-emerge from year-long mission

/ 09:53 AM July 10, 2024

The four members of a year-long Mars simulation emerged from their craft last week. Nathan Jones, Anca Selariu, Ross Brockwell, and Kelly Haston began the study on June 25, 2023.

Their mission was to prepare for a future Mars expedition. Consequently, the simulation required them to grow and harvest vegetables and maintain their habitat as if on the Red Planet.  

READ: NASA asks volunteers to live like a Martian in CHAPEA 2

“CHAPEA-1 has been a unique experience, with great challenges, joys and sorrows, and a lot of hard work, with a fair bit of fun thrown in as well,” said Kelly Haston who commanded the mission. 

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What was the Mars simulation like?

The official NASA website calls the Mars simulation CHAPEA or the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog. It lasted 300 days, where the crew participated in multiple “Marswalks.” 

The latter involves growing and harvesting salad crops to supplement their shelf-stable food and maintaining their habitat and equipment.

This Inquirer Tech article reported their daily routine also involved robotic operations and physical exercise. Moreover, they had to deal with the psychological and social issues of living with select individuals for an extended period. 

The Mars simulation was a 3D-printed environment at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It spanned 1,700 square feet and contained these facilities:

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  • Common lounge areas
  • Dedicated medical station
  • Dedicated workstations
  • Four private crew quarters 
  • Galley and food growing stations

NASA celebrated the end of CHAPEA-1 with a “welcome home” ceremony on July 6, 2024. The space agency livestreamed the event.

“I am humbled that being away on a one-year Mars analog brought me closer to those I was with and those I left back at home,” simulation leader Kelly Haston said.

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Ross Brockwell emphasized the importance of sustainability for the mission: 

 “I’m very grateful to have had this incredible opportunity to live for a year within the spirit of planetary adventure towards an exciting future.”

“I’m grateful for the chance to live the idea that we must utilize resources no faster than they can be replenished and produce waste no faster than they can be processed back into resources.”

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TOPICS: Mars, technology
TAGS: Mars, technology

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