When a Mars Simulation Goes Wrong

Article from the Atlantic by Marina Koren

I read an article about a Mars Mission simulation that has been going on on the slope of the Mauna Loa Volcano in Hawaii. It is done there because, not only is the volcano huge, but there is a lot of red and black rocks and can be rather isolated. The habitat holds up to six people and the “astronauts’ do an 8-month stint. Everything is set up to completely simulate being millions of miles from the earth. Even the phone calls they make and replies are delayed by the 20 minutes it would take if they were really on Mars.
The biggest problem it turns out though is that something goes wrong, the “Astronauts” are aware of and able to call for help. The article describes a participant who electrocuted themselves and needed medical evacuation. That required all of them to go because, by design, many of the systems in the habitat require at least four hands to operate. So they all had to go which heralded the death of the experiment.

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Herbert Heinsche / Gilles Baechler / Shutterstock / University of Hawaii / AP / Katie Martin / The Atlantic