These astronauts are preparing for life on Mars by living in Hawaiian lava tubes | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

These astronauts are preparing for life on Mars by living in Hawaiian lava tubes

Somewhere along Mauna Loa in Hawai?i, there is what looks like an oversized golf ball housing the HI-SEAS facility. The dome sports six small rooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, a research lab, and relaxation area. It’s surrounded by solar panels on the ground outside and is attached to a shipping container for storage. All of this fits in a neat 1,200 square feet, just over a quarter of the size of a regulation basketball court. And within this dome, groups of six people live and train together for weeks or even months at a time—disconnected from the world outside the dome, they’re preparing to one day live on the Moon and Mars. From the volcanic surfaces of Hawai?i to the arid deserts of the Atacama, humans are finding clever ways to prepare for life beyond our blue dot.

That is what Michaela Musilova spends her days investigating. As the director of the HI-SEAS facility, the product of a research program funded by NASA , she organizes missions that simulate, to the best possible degree, what life could look like on non-terrestrial surfaces. Musilova and her teams are looking at answering several questions that will arise once we embark: What food will we eat when we don’t have soil to grow it in? Will it be safe for us to explore Mars outside of the bubble we hope to create? And how will we cope with living in close quarters with six other humans for years at a time?