US NASA Simulated Mars Exit

A NASA crew simulating a mission to Mars has emerged from their habitat after spending a year inside. The four volunteers, Kelly Haston, Anca Selariu, Ross Brockwell, and Nathan Jones, spent 378 days inside NASA’s first simulated Mars environment at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The crew, known as CHAPEA, entered the 3D-printed habitat on June 25, 2023, as part of a mission to study the feasibility of a future Mars mission.

The team lived and worked within 17,000 square feet (1,579 square meters), simulating the conditions of a mission to the red planet. They conducted simulated spacewalks, grew their own food, and maintained the habitat, all while experiencing challenges such as limited resources, isolation, and communication delays.

The mission’s primary focus was on nutrition and its impact on crew performance, according to Steve Koerner, deputy director of Johnson Space Center. He emphasized the importance of this research as NASA prepares to send humans to Mars.

The crew’s experiences highlighted the importance of sustainable living and the potential of space exploration to bring people together. Brockwell, the crew’s flight engineer, noted the need for responsible resource utilization for the benefit of Earth. Selariu, the science officer, pointed out the uniting power of space exploration and its potential to shape the future.

Two additional CHAPEA missions are planned to continue gathering data on the physical and behavioral health of astronauts in simulated Mars environments.