NASA aims to send the first humans to Mars sometime during the 2030s. But before that can be achieved, certain key challenges, besides the obvious technological hurdles, need to be overcome.
Among other things, astronauts who take the humankind’s first steps on the red planet have to learn to deal with the psychological impact of long-term isolation, the time-delay in communications between Earth and Mars, and the inhospitable and rugged terrain that makes exploration of its surface extremely difficult.
To understand how humans, when they eventually land on the surface of Mars, would overcome these obstacles, scientists create simulated environments where at least a few of the conditions astronauts are likely to face on Mars can be replicated.
One such project is currently taking place inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where, over the next two weeks, researchers will hike around Mauna Ulu and collect rock samples to practice and perfect protocols that would need to be used during sample collection missions on Mars.
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SOURCE: International Business Times, Avaneesh Pandey