Kiwis experience life on (almost) Mars
Wed, 18 Jul 2012 10:45p.m.
By Laura Frykberg
A group of Kiwis has just returned from an out of this world experience, without even leaving the planet.
For two weeks they lived at the Mars Desert Research Station in the US where they experienced what it would be like, if humans ever reached Mars.
Mike Bodnar was one of four New Zealanders who for two weeks called the tiny dwelling home
“The living conditions were cramped, you've got six people living in a tube about 10m across and two-storey’s high, the bedrooms are about this big and you have to share this confined space,” says Mr Bodnar.
The mission simulated what real space explorers would do when they reached Mars, and not only by wearing spacesuits and only eating dehydrated food, but even searching for signs of life.
“Wwhere we stayed is as close as you can get to the Martian environment, apart from the fact that you have gravity and you can breathe the atmosphere,” says Mr Bodnar.
The mock Mars experience costs around $3000 but mission leader Haritina Mogosanu loved it so much this was her second trip.
She says the only challenge was compromising personal hygiene.
“We had a very limited amount of water supplies so we had to use that for drinking and for washing dishes rather than washing clothes and everything else that we needed,” says Ms Mogosanu.
Using webcams the pseudo space travellers shared their experiences with visitors to Wellington’s Carter Observatory.
They hope their trip will inspire other New Zealanders to become more interested in space exploration.
Only 25 years ago we had no concept of the internet, I believe there is something around the corner that will get us to Mars, with a lot less time and a lot less money,” says Mr Bodnar.
And even if it doesn't happen in his lifetime, he says at least he'll have almost experienced life on Mars.
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