Six people will reportedly live for eight months on the face of the desolate planet of Mars in a space mission on the Red Planet, sometime in 2030. But last year six people were living tucked away from civilization on a volcano in Hawaii in a small dome to see how that would work out.
The results of the experiment helped NASA to better prepare its astronauts for a lengthy Mars mission and led to interesting findings, at the same time.
NASA called it the HI-SEAS study – short for the Hawaii Space Exploration analog and Simulation – and it involved locking six researchers in a simulated dome habitat for eight months straight to see how long it takes for them to go insane.
The most amazing finding of the study underlines the fact that anything guys can do, girls can do better. One NASA guinea pig who spent four months in a simulation that attempted to replicate life on the Red Planet says women are better suited for a mission to Mars.
Karen Greene was one of six people who lived in a simulated Mars camp on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano. Studying the eating and sleeping habits of the six participants, Greene found that the men ate more than the women, yet had a harder time maintaining their weight than the women did. Even though all crewmembers got the same amount of exercise, the men would burn about 3,000 calories a day while the women burned only about 2,000, Greene said. What’s more, at mealtime, women would opt for smaller portions while hungry men would pile their plates and often go up for seconds.
“The calorie requirements of an astronaut matter significantly when planning a mission,” Greene wrote in Slate. “The more food a person needs to maintain her weight on a long space journey, the more food should launch with her. The more food launched, the heavier the payload. The heavier the payload, the more fuel required to blast it into orbit and beyond. The more fuel required, the heavier the rocket becomes, which it in turn requires more fuel to launch.”
So thanks to their size, women are, on average, cheaper to launch and fly than men.