NASA is hoping that the movie "The Martian" gives a boost to American interest in a human mission to Mars.
Right now the space agency and other scientists are working to figure out how we could live on the red planet.
In "The Martian," Matt Damon’s character becomes stranded on Mars and has to learn how to live on the barren planet.
Two Florida Tech professors say they’ve had surprisingly similar experiences.
No, they didn’t go to Mars. They went to the next best place: Utah.
“The goal was to live like Mars-o-nauts,” said Florida Tech Professor John Deaton.
The Mars Society, a nonprofit group, established the facility so that researchers could learn what it would be like to live on the red planet. (John Deaton)
Deaton and Ondrej Doule both spent several weeks each, working at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.
It’s located in an isolated desert in south Utah.
The Mars Society, a nonprofit group, established the facility so that researchers could learn what it would be like to live on the red planet.
“After a while you kind of lose your appetite for that kind of food. In fact, in the 2 weeks I was there, I lost about 10 pounds,” said Deaton.
Teams rationed water ate freeze dried food and lived in a confine space with other researchers from around the world.
The two Melbourne-based professors say despite the technological challenges, the real issues for astronauts who one day will live on Mars, will be the psychological impacts.
“Interaction between crew members, the stress from confinement, stress from workload, stress from being detached from home basically,” said Doule.
The professors are now back in Melbourne analyzing their research.
They say it will take a new kind of astronaut to travel on a long duration mission to Mars.
“I’m thinking the leader, the commander of the mission to Mars is going to have to have both characteristics: going to have to be logical, systematic, and he or she is going to have to have an emotional part to them as well, to come up with the best decision,” said Deaton.
NASA is also working right now on how they’ll tackle a mission to Mars.
They hope to start sending crews to the red planet, launching from the Space Coast in the 2030s.
Florida Tech Professor John Deaton working at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. (John Deaton)