Training for life on Mars

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It might not be the Hawaiian vacation most people dream of, but for some this island escape will still be out of this world. On August 28, six scientists will embark on the longest space travel simulation ever conducted on US soil, by spending a full year on "Mars". well, not actually on the red planet itself, they'll really be in the middle of nowhere on Hawaii"s Big Island.

The Hawaii Space Exploration, Analog and Simulation (or HI-SEAS for short) sits atop a Hawaiian volcano at an altitude of 8,000 feet. The isolated, solar-powered, 1,000-square-foot dome habitat will house three men and three woman for a year, in the hopes of better understand how humans could one day live on Mars.

Just like real astronauts, the crew will be asked to perform experiments while living on fake-Mars. They will only be able to go outside wearing full spacesuits, and their only contact with civilization will be limited to email, which will be delayed 20 minutes to simulate space lag. No last-minute bidding on Ebay for them!

HI-SEAS has had other mock-missions to the red planet in the past, but this upcoming one will be the longest. It might be Mars or bust for this new crew, but we'll take a Hawaiian beach over this bio-dome, any day.

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