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A Mock Journey To Mars May Be The Key To The Upcoming Planned Journey To Mars In The 2030s

First Posted: Jan 23, 2017 05:13 AM EST

NASA has initiated an experiment to understand the psychology and human behavior of astronauts who will be undertaking long-term space travel and exploration programs soon. The outcomes of the experiment will directly impact the journey to Mars, which is planned for the 2030s.

The experiment involves sending six scientists inside a geodesic dome, which has been set up in a remote location near the Big Island's Mauna Loa volcano, Hawaii. The participants of the experiment must spend eight months inside the containment during which they will be remotely monitored by NASA scientists.

The experimental setup is all set and the participants will enter the dome, this coming Thursday. During their stay, the participants will not be allowed to have any physical connection with the outside world, and communication network of the containment will have a 20-minute delay, which is the time delay between Mars and Earth, Vox reported.

Kim Binstead, Professor at the University of Hawaii and the principal investigator of the project, said, "We're hoping to figure out how best to select individual astronauts, how to compose a crew and how to support that crew on long-duration space missions."

Binstead informed that the date and time of the experiment is all fixed. But the professor expressed the uncertainty if the Trump administration interferes and imposes any change in the plans. Until now, NASA has confirmed to have not received any form of e-mail or communication from the President's office regarding the same.

The Crew Is All Geared Up

The six-membered team was finalized after careful screening of 700 applications received from across the world. The team will be led by mission commander James Bevington, who is well-known as a freelance space scientist and as a visiting researcher at the International Space University. The rest of the team encompasses a computer scientist, a biomedical researcher, a doctoral candidate and two engineers, CBC News reported.

NASA, the participants of the experiment and the rest of the world are eagerly waiting to see whether the team is able to complete the scheduled eight months or will the mock journey to Mars be called off just like the Biosphere 2 program.

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