This is what houses on Mars will be like – 4 people will live on the planet for 1 year
Four rooms, exercise area, etc. The house presented by NASA yesterday, Tuesday, looks ordinary, but from June four people will be locked in it for more than a year to attempt a simulation of life on Mars.
The residence, named Mars Dune Alpha, is located at the US space agency's research center in Houston, Texas.
Those who will inhabit it will help prepare a future mission to the red planet. By measuring their performance and cognitive abilities, NASA will better understand the "resources" that will need to be provided during this ambitious journey, explained CHAPEA program manager Grace Douglas, who oversees this experience.
This is a critical issue, given "the very restrictive weight limits these missions can have," he added.
This 160 square meter home features a vertical vegetable growing area, a room dedicated to medical procedures, a relaxation area or even personal workspaces.
An air chamber leads to a reproduction of the Martian environment. On the red sand floor are a weather station, a brick-making device, a greenhouse and a moving walkway, on which the supposed astronauts will walk suspended from straps.
"We can't make them walk in circles for six hours," says Susan Bell, who is in charge of NASA's Behavioral Health and Performance Laboratory program, with a smile.
According to her, this corridor will serve to reproduce the effort required for physical activity on Mars, but also to collect samples, information or even for constructions.
The names of the volunteers who will live in the house are not yet known, but we already know that the team will not consist of astronauts. They will be regularly subjected to stressors, with water restrictions or material damage.
This house has another peculiarity: it is a product of a 3D printer. "It is one of the technologies that NASA is studying for the potential construction of houses on the surface of other planets or the Moon," noted Grace Douglas.
The US space agency is preparing a return trip to Mars, but departure is not immediately foreseen. That journey, which will take several decades, could take place "in the late 2030s," according to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.