Mars true-color globe showing Terra Meridiani. Credits: NASA/Greg Shirah

Mars true-color globe showing Terra Meridiani.
Credits: NASA/Greg Shirah

A crew of Chinese volunteers will take part in a 180-day isolation study to mimic a human mission to Mars.

According to a January 21 report by the state-run People’s Daily, the four volunteers will be confined within a space capsule consisting of six giant “boxes” constructed by China’s Southern Research Institute of Space Technology.

The six giant boxes involve a low pressure tank, two plant tanks, a resources tank, a life support cabin and a crew cabin.

Capsule details

The crew cabin is 8.2 meters, or three stories high, and the minimum height of all the boxes is some 12 feet (3.6 meters).

The 180 cubic meters provided for the volunteers in the crew cabin is divided into nine parts, including a sleeping area, working and reading areas, cafeteria, gym and medical monitoring area, explains the People’s Daily.

Vegetables, fruits, staple crops and oil plants are cultivated within the 674 cubic meters of the plant tank.

In the resources tank, recycling and purification systems will deal with waste, including human waste, plant debris, waste water and exhaust gas.

Within in the life support area, food is to be stored and processed, and there is a water supply system and air purification system.

China flag

High-level experiments

The volunteers are to start the experiment after Spring Festival, with no specific time identified. Chinese New Year — also called Spring Festival — falls on February 8 this year.

The three men and one woman will experience 180 days of isolated life together and conduct more than 20 high-level experiments, including simulation of a journey to Mars, and the establishment of a base station on Mars, according to the People’s Daily report.

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