Life on Mars may sound glamorous, but in reality it’s going to mean a lot of time crammed in a small bubble with a few other humans. This could end very badly. So to practice, NASA has taken to sticking people in domes and keeping them isolated for months on end.


The latest isolation experiment started yesterday. Six willing humans — an astrobiologist, a physicist, a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist — entered this lovely 36 by 20 foot dome, located near a barren volcano in Hawaii, at 3pm local time on Friday. They’ll remain in the dome for a year, eating powdered cheese, smelling each others’ BO, and slowly abandoning any sense of personal space. If we’re lucky, they’ll all emerge unscathed, perhaps even friends.

Not too shabby on the inside! Image via Getty

The happy crew. Image via Getty


There’s good reason to be optimistic. The last time NASA tried this experiment, everyone seemed to get on just fine, with no attempted space-murders or breakouts. And let’s not forget the Mars 500 project, in which six-person crews were locked inside terrifying steel tubes for 18 months. Confinement may be uncomfortable, but when the ultimate goal is intergalactic domination, humans seem willing to endure a lot.


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Top image: The dome, via Getty