The Mars One mission is now just a year away. In preparation for this the crew of 6 have begun isolation training that will take place over the next year in Hawaii. On Friday, the 29th of August the crew locked themselves into their new home. The crew is comprised of an astrobiologist, physicist, a pilot, doctor/journalist and a soil scientist. Many of these skills will come in useful on the red planet as the crew attempts to settle on the barren landscape.
The Need For Isolation Training
The isolation training will take place on the northern slopes of Mauna Loa. This Hawaiian mountain was chosen for it’s barren landscape. It is intended to mimic the landscapes that the crew will encounter while living on Mars. Any venture outside of their new home will require them to wear a spacesuit.
The Mars One crew will be living in a dome. It is 11 metres in diameter and 6 metres high. Each crew member will have their own small room with a cot and a desk. They will have limited access to internet (oh the horror) and be eating dehydrated and canned food.
The technical aspects of the mission are still being worked out. While that is underway the crew needs to learn to tackle the human aspect. They are going to be confined to close quarters and conflict is bound to arise. This isolation experiment will give the crew the opportunity to learn how to deal with these problems as they arise.
Mars One Shortcomings
The Mars One mission has not been without it’s setbacks. In a debate titled, “Is Mars One Feasible”, MIT scientists Sydney Do and Andrew Owens tore the plan to ribbons. They had previously published a study that showed the crew would die in 68 days. The Mars One CEO and key technical strategist accepted the invitation to a debate, hoping to recover from the scathing study. It did not go well. They conceded to most of the points against them and even acknowledged to a key piece of the mission being fiction. If you would like to view the debate, the slides have been made freely available here.
Future Plans for Mars
Mars has always captured the imagination of the public and scientific community alike. Because of it’s close proximity we have always wondered if life could have or still can exist on it. Entrepreneur Elon Musk has his eyes set on Mars as well. He believes it can be terraformed into a more hospitable planet. You can read more of our coverage on this topic here.