OUT OF THIS WORLD: A taste of Mars in a Spanish cave

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HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT: Astroland hopes to simulate a human colony on Mars. Photo credit: Astroland


IF you would like to visit Mars but can’t find a passing spaceship a Spanish company has come up with a home-grown alternative.

For €10,000 you can stay a few nights in a cave deep underground where living conditions for the first astronauts who will visit the red planet will be simulated.

A company called Astroland is building a mock Mars settlement to simulate the experience a human colony would face on the planet.

Dubbing it a “first step to Mars” Astroland plans to send 100 people, split up into 10 missions of 10, into a capsule for a minimum of three nights.

The “space travellers” must be at least 18-years-old and will have to pass a battery of tests and interviews before being allowed to join the missions.

The fee includes training in caving and climbing skills as well as hydroponics (growing plants without soil) as well as psychological and physical coaching.

“The Martian environment is very hostile with low temperatures, strong winds and high levels of solar radiation, which means the most suitable way of maintaining human life is… under the Martian surface,” said Astroland CEO, David Ceballos. “These Cantabrian caves are the perfect location for similar conditions for these trials.” The cave system chosen is around 1.5 kilometres in length and 60 metres high.

The training system has been designed in accordance with the methodologies of the European Space Agency (ESA).

“It will be an exclusive adventure for those chosen, for scientific purposes but also emotional purposes, from which we hope to take new learnings in order to improve today’s society and contribute our knowledge to allow people to live on other planets in the future,” added Ceballos.

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