This NASA crew has survived Mars for six months — sort of

Halfway into a simulated Mars expedition, two men and two women living together in isolation have lost a crucial piece of equipment. “I may have accidentally murdered one of our robots,” said Dr. Nathan Jones, the medical officer for the crew, who described the incident as a “traumatic death.” Anca Selariu, the science officer, joked they would need Operation Phoenix to bring their rover back from the ashes. Ross Brockwell, the flight engineer, assured Jones they’d be able to fix it. “We’ve got plenty of duct tape,” Brockwell said.The conversation came amid a recorded update from NASA’s Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog study, or CHAPEA. Four ordinary individuals volunteered to live in a 3D-printed Mars habitat for a year as a dress rehearsal for life on the Red Planet. Rather than reporting to Earth from 140 million miles away in space, though, the crew is actually much closer, in a 1,700 square-foot home at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Outside the habitat, dubbed Mars Dune Alpha, is a domed facility designed to look like the surface of Mars, replete with red dirt and craggy vistas. They call this area where they conduct mock Marswalks the “sandbox.” As people around the world prepare to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the CHAPEA crew — Jones, Selariu, Brockwell, and Commander Kelly Haston — will also celebrate the halfway point in their 378-day isolation, which began on June 25, 2023. They’re the first of at least three groups that will participate in Mars-like isolation studies for human research.

Does space romance make NASA cringe? It’s complicated.


Original Source: Mashable >>