CHICAGO -- Before NASA can send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s, the space agency has created a simulated Mars habitat.
NASA wants to observe the effects of a four-person crew living in the space for about a year.
The habitat, called the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog or CHAPEA, was 3D printed and built in Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. It has four small bedrooms, two bathrooms, a work area next to a robot station, an exercise room, a medical room, and an exterior area designed to mimic the surface of mars, including a sandy surface scattered with various instruments.
Among the restrictions the crew will have to endure is limited water. There is even an area designated for crops, where the crew will grow leafy greens and vegetables for food, NASA said.
The four-person crew will begin their one-year stay starting this summer. The mental health and social dynamics of the crew are of particular interest to the scientists.