Scientists practice living on Mars – but they’ve been camped much closer to home

Six scientists have simulated living on Mars in a four-day long experiment.

The participants – dubbed Ramonauts – simulated living conditions on the Red Planet with a mock-up built in the Negev desert in Israel.

The project named D-MARS – Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station – ended on Sunday according to Israel’s Science and Technology Ministry.

The experiment was held near the isolated Israeli township of Mitzpe Ramon, whose surroundings resemble the Martian environment in its geology, aridity, appearance and desolation, the ministry said.

The researchers were investigating various fields relevant to a future Mars mission, including satellite communications, the psychological effects of isolation, radiation measurements and searching for life signs in soil.

While in the simulation, the Ramonauts ate food from capsules, lived in confined quarters, and wore spacesuits whenever they had to leave their pod to conduct experiments.

Participant Guy Ron, a nuclear physicist professor from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the project was not only intended to look for new approaches in designing a future mission to the Red Planet but to increase public interest.

He said: "D-Mars is half about the research, and the other half is about the outreach.

"A major part of this project is getting public interest and getting students interested in space."

The D-Mars project was being held in Israel for the first time in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency.

It is one of a number of Mars simulation projects taking place worldwide.

Dr Hillel Rubinstein, the field commander and head of the Israeli mission, described D-Mars as “a special and exciting experience” adding that “even adults can continue to dream of distant stars”.


News Reporter

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