Crew Simulates Stress of Mars Trip

Four volunteers are sealed in a structure at Johnson Space Center
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2022 7:00 PM CST
NASA Crew Has Begun Simulated Mars Trip
Mars with its two cratered moons, Phobos and Deimos.   (Getty/Elen11)

A NASA crew has begun a 45-day trip to Mars, all in a habitat on the ground at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. A volunteer crew of four launched the simulated journey Friday, CNN reports, in an effort to learn about the effects of isolation and confinement during missions. The planet's moon Phobos is the destination. NASA said the simulation is "designed to serve as an analog for the rigors of real space exploration missions." While in the Human Exploration Research Analog, for instance, the crew will cope with its communication with the outside world being delayed for up to five minutes.

"This will help ensure that our astronaut crews can work effectively through challenges unique to long-duration spaceflight, including communication delays," said Brandon Vessey, of NASA's Human Research Program. This is the second of four missions to study "behavioral and team performance," NASA said. The last one is planned for September, per CNN. The hatch will be opened on the HERA structure, ending the four volunteers' mission, on March 14. "What we learn will inform how future exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit are performed," Vessey said. (More Mars stories.)

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