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Astronauts Take a Mock Mission to Mars

By: Emma Xing

Astronauts are wanting to go to our neighbor planet–Mars! But they need to train first.

On June 25, four Americans started their 378-day training, staying in a simulated version of Mars at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The mission is one of the three planned by NASA. They are made to test the mental and social challenges astronauts will face if they ever go to Mars.

The four volunteers that are going on this mission were selected from a pile of 4,000 and more applicants. They will spend an entire year inside an isolated 1,700 square foot (158 sq. meter) 3D-printed habitat. That’s a really long amount of time!

The experience includes private crew quarters, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. The structure also has recreation and fitness areas.

Just like a real mission, each person has a specific job. Kelly Haston is the mission commander. Ross Brockwell is the flight engineer. Nathan Jones is the medical officer. And Anca Selariu will be the science officer.

And they will even perform various tasks during their very long mission. They will take virtual reality spacewalks. They will learn to do science experiments and vegetable gardening. They will also be tested to fix unexpected challenges, for example failed equipment.

And to make sure each volunteer is doing their job, they monitor them 24/7 for their entire mission.

But going to Mars can be scary and difficult to complete even if they trained for it. Other than being stuck in rocket for 162 days, astronauts have a high risk of diseases and death!

Safety is prime reason no space trip has been to Mars yet.

But do you think they will succeed in the training?

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