Speed Reads

The final frontier

NASA unveils 3D-printed Mars habitat where 4 people will live for a year

NASA on Tuesday showed a group of reporters a 3D-printed Martian habitat installed at Johnson Space Center to study how people will respond to life on Mars, as early as the 2030s. Four volunteers with science backgrounds will live in the CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog) habitat for a year, starting in June. For those 12 months, they will conduct different types of missions they would face on Mars, like growing leafy greens, simulated spacewalks, personal hygiene, and robotics operations. 

The four volunteers will also face hardships they would encounter on Mars, like limited water and other resources, environmental stressors, isolation, and equipment failure, BBC News reports

"Besides the isolation, confinement, and the sheer distance, would be things like being able to get along," said Suzanne Bell, the lead researcher at NASA's Behavioral Health and Performance Laboratory. "So, when you're in a small habitat with, you know, three other people, that can wear on you over time." She said people will be allowed to communicate with their loved ones, but on a delay, as would happen on Mars. This will be the first of three planned missions in the CHAPEA complex.