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Volunteers ready for 180-day simulation on Mars

Reporter: Wu Haojun 丨 CCTV.com

06-17-2016 03:51 BJT

There's a lot of speculation and debate about whether there's potentially a way of life on the planet Mars. But before that can be established, we need to know if we could survive the enduring trip there. And this is exactly what some scientists and researchers in the city of Shenzhen, South China are trying to find out. 

Is life possible on the Red Planet? In six months, this quartet may have, at least, part of the answer. Starting Friday, the volunteers will live in a simulated space capsule to mock a journey from Earth to Mars and back. Completely closed off from outside. And completely dependant on the inside man-made ecological system that will give them their life support.

"To finally settle in a new place, we have to first answer the following questions: where to live, how to breathe, what to eat, and how to keep a healthy lifestyle. And that's what our experiment hopes to answer," said Li Yinghui, program director of Southern Research Institute of Space Technology.

Li said that the experiment will examine the man-made circulatory system that provides food, water and air. So besides the quartet's compact living quarters, the mock capsule will also house their waterworks, oxygen maker, recycler and their plot of land -- lit by artificial light -- which takes up most space in the capsule.

Volunteers will have a wide choice of staple foods and vegetables, from wheat and green onions to cherry tomatoes, so they will not gripe about the menu. But the program designers are also trying to make sure the volunteers enjoy the experience.

"We will be watching their state-of-mind during the mock flight. With tests, biochemical measurements, and other monitoring, we want to make sure they are sound in body and mind," said Li.

So, to Mars and back in 180 days. We wish the volunteers the best of luck.

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