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In this photo provided by the University of Hawaii, six scientists celebrate as they exit from their Mars simulation habitat on slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island, Hawaii, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. The scientists completed a yearlong Mars simulation in Hawaii on Sunday, where they lived in the dome in near isolation. (University of Hawaii via AP)

Mock Mars crew 'returns to Earth' after a year in isolation


A mock Mars crew just "returned to Earth" after spending a year in isolation. 

Six scientists spent 365 days in a geodesic dome on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, according to CNN. 

The dome was set 8,200 feet above sea level to simulate a Mars-like environment. 

The experiment was designed to test crew cohesion and performance in isolation, according to CNN. It was the longest mission in project history. 

Global media document historic University of Hawaiʻi Mars simulation

A real mission to Mars would last upwards of six months, so this was an important test because astronauts would have to spend long periods of time in a tight space. 

"The UH research going on up here is just super vital when it comes to picking crews, figuring out how people are going to actually work on different kinds of missions, and sort of the human factors element of space travel, colonization, whatever it is you are actually looking at," Tristan Bassingthwaighte, who served as the crew's architect, said in a statement. 

"We're proud to be helping NASA reduce or remove the barriers to long-duration space exploration," said Kim Binsted, the project's principle investigator. 

The University of Hawaii experiment is the third one conducted so far. Previous missions have only lasted four and eight months. 

The university is now recruiting crew members to take part in two more mission, which are scheduled to begin in 2017 and 2018. 

For more news, check out today's 60 Second Circa. 

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