NASA's simulated Mars mission ends today

Four volunteers have spent the last 378 days in Mars Dune Alpha, a 1700-square-foot 3D-printed simulated Mars habitat. CHAPEA-1 is the first of three planned CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog) missions designed to replicate a Mars habitat as closely as possible in an Earth-bound installation.

The analog missions will provide valuable insights and information to assess NASA's space food system as well as physical and behavioral health and performance outcomes for future space missions. Research from Mars Dune Alpha habitat will be used by NASA to inform risk and resource trades to support crew health and performance while living on Mars during an extended duration mission.


I have never outgrown my childhood love of space and space travel. This guided tour of the facility makes me wonder if there are any three people in the world I could possibly share 1700 square feet without going insane.   

There is also a simulated outdoor area for mock EVAs, which seem like they would be an absolute necessity for mental health reasons.  The crew looks very happy in their mission photo. I'm looking forward to seeing how they all fared. Three hundred seventy-eight days is a long time. The crew's egress will stream live on NASA TV at 5 pm Eastern.

Previously: Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars — still amazing 30 years later