seasonal geysers photos
Robotics engineer Simon Engler has survived the rigors of a Mars mission without ever setting his space boots down on the Red Planet.
As part of a NASA funded simulation, Engler hunkered down in nike air max side a two storey dome on the northern slope of the Mauna Loa volcano. There, he and his fellow guinea pigs encountered “red flag problems” related to inter planetary exploration.
The HI SEAS crew battled bouts of separation anxiety, yucky pre packaged diets and stinky feet during the four month social experiment staged on a barren lava field.
“It’s not a normal environment for a human to live in for a long period of time,” Engler told Metro. “The reality is that you can take the best people in the world and after a long period of time things will start to slowly break down because people are unhappy with the environment.
“NASA really needs to know how to mitigate it before they actually take this mission.”
Life on Hawaii’s Big Island may sound like reality TV But don’t tell that to Engler who sloughs off the much publicized Mars One project for its “questionable financial responsibilities.”
Engler, a University of Calgary PhD student, says he was picked for the exploratory project because of his experience in robotics, military service and passion for astronomy.
He describes his colleagues as brainy “astronaut like” folks who specialize in fields such as nanotechnology, geology and physics. They were a mixed bag of type A an nike air max d yype B personalities, which was supposedly the right mix during the dress rehearsal.
“If you have a balance between personality types then things will work out in the long run,” said Engler, who is now helping out with Round 2 of the Mars simulation.
People problems aside, human settlers will also need to contend with supremely harsh environmental conditions on the freeze dried planet. Hyper arid soil, wicked dust storms and seasonal geysers provide formidable challenges.
The average temperature hangs around 53 C, although lows can be twice as chilly, according to the Canadian Space Agency, meaning spacesuits are needed to prevent the astronauts’ skin and lungs from exploding due to low air pressure.
Finding water remains another massive hurdle for many researchers as it’s deemed a key indicator to whether the planet is hospitable to life.
“You’re unlikely to find flowing water on the surface unless it was salt rich. But even then nike air max it would be incredibly rare,” said Chris Hugenholtz from the U of C. “That water’s going to have to come from underground.”
He noted there’s plenty of evidence of “water ice” in the polar caps.
But thirsty space explorers will also have to keep an eye out for spectacular geysers, which stem from a build up of carbon dioxide gas below the south polar ice sheet. The jet like eruptions are known to spew sand and dust hundreds of feet into the air.
Dust devils are known to blanket the entire planet over days, which Hugenholtz noted could impede space crews’ solar powered gear.
“There are some nike air max bizarre things occurring on the surface that they’re going to have to deal with if they’re in those more polar regions of Mars looking for water,” he said.