A mission to the Moonor maybe Mars just wrapped up near Tucson. Its a simulated mission at the University of Arizonas Biosphere 2. A special facility near the iconic dome is a new frontier for simulating sustained life off of our Earth.
Building on history, the hatch was unsealed by a member of the Biosphere crews from about thirty years ago. Three women and one man crewed this latest six-day mission, in a smaller module near the original Biosphere.
The module called SAM is designed to be as close to a sealed Moon or Mars habitat as we can manage on Earth. The crew lived in reduced air pressure as they might on the Moon or Mars.
They washed, cooked and hydrated themselves with only about 60 gallons of water.
After six days they had about 20 gallons left. Crew members say your morning shower could easily use the forty gallons that sustained them for six days.
Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen says, One of the points we were all reminded of was living within your means and living sustainably is not suffering. Its just living, and it doesnt hurt you to turn off the water when you dont need it. It doesnt hurt you to soap your hands and then rinse them.
Dr. Wells-Jensen is blind, and a living symbol of the crew name Inclusion Onededicated to the idea that theres a future in space for people with a wide range of abilities. Crew members say to succeed, any mission has to make sure the technology works but also consider how well the people work together.
Crew commander Cassandra Klos says you might compare the human factor to the isolation many of us lived in the depths of the pandemic.
Where stakes are higher. Your air outside of the habitat is unbreathable, and your crew dynamics, whoever you are living with at the time, is center focus. These are human elements.
Crew members say six days was barely enough to get familiar with their systems and with each other. What they learned in that time will be part of the foundation for future missions to prepare us to live away from our planet.
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