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Tags: nasa | mars | human | testing

NASA's Human Guinea Pigs Test Martian Living

By    |   Tuesday, 12 March 2024 10:58 AM EDT

Given that sending humans to live on Mars is a when-not-if proposition, NASA has begun experimenting on people — four of them, to be exact — on the affects of the red planet.

Four volunteer crew members are months into a yearlong simulated mission called Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA), tucked away in a 1,700-square-foot habitat at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA is scheduled to hold the second of three such missions in spring of 2025.

Behavioral ecologist and author Kelly Weinersmith gave a preview of what humans would endure on Mars, telling NPR’s "All Things Considered" that the planet "has some really unique challenges." Needing a spacesuit on Mars is common knowledge, but Weinersmith highlighted two major unknowns about potential life on Mars.

The first: radiation.

"So we actually don't know, for example, how much cancer risk would be increased in a place like Mars, which doesn't have a strong magnetosphere like we have on Earth and doesn't have a thick atmosphere to protect you," Weinersmith told NPR.

The second: Sand.

"That sand on the surface of Mars, it's actually called regolith. It's sharp and jagged and sort of laden with endocrine-disrupting hormones, which will mess up your blood pressure and your heart rates. So you're going to want to make sure that you don't grow your plants directly in that or let that get into your habitat," Weinersmith said.

Weinersmith understands the arguments for the desire to reach and maintain life on Mars, saving the Earth and a backup plan for humans chief among them, in addition to the "epic" novelty of "waking up on the surface of Mars and seeing a Martian sunrise."

However, she sees a community that has resolved to go to Mars regardless of the data collected from the three CHAPEAs or anything else.

"If at the very end they said, 'OK, we know that humans can't survive isolated and confined environments for nine months because they end up hating each other, so we're not going to go.' That would be a concrete thing. That's not going to happen here," Weinersmith told NPR.

"And as far as I can tell, there's no specific piece of information they're going to get at the end of this one year or at the end of the three one-year stints, that's going to specifically change something about a plan for going to Mars."

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Given that sending humans to live on Mars is a when-not-if proposition, NASA has begun experimenting on people on the affects of the red planet.
nasa, mars, human, testing
397
2024-58-12
Tuesday, 12 March 2024 10:58 AM
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