What’s Living On Mars Like? You Can Have A Taste In This Trip

It might take another ten or 15 years before we can tour Mars, but now here’s a trip that offers a pretty good glimpse of Martian life. 

On August 16, TripAdvisor Experiences and Astroland Agency—an interplanetary agency in Spain—launched a travel package that lets aspiring astro-tourists experience the “physical [and] societal impact” of living in Mars, said David Ceballos, CEO of Astroland.

To anyone who has watched at least one or two space movies, it’s obvious that space travel isn’t easy. So for starters, participants go through a three-day remote training program (spread over three weeks) learning survival theories. They include: (1) mental—teamwork, resilience and problem-solving skills under high stress; (2) physical—health, fitness and nutrition; (3) technical—operating specific lab equipment and devices subject to assigned roles; and (4) moral—understanding values such as goodwill, sustainability, environmental consciousness and respect for Space.

Then, the physical part. At the Astroland Space Center in the Science and Technology Park of Cantabria, tour members will spend three days learning how to conduct a spacewalk, training in speleology (caving); dealing with weightlessness, claustrophobia and stress; plus coping with emergencies such as fire, falls and fractures.

After passing the physical and psychological tests, it’s time to gear up in astronaut suits and technical clothing, hand over everything, and enter total seclusion in a cave in Arrendondo, Spain for four days. (By seclusion, it will be just the ten participants (maximum) without any accompanying staff, but there will be round-the-clock monitoring from the Space Center and an on-call team available for emergency support.)

What each “astronaut” will get are life capsules—a Dome that has individual bunk beds in its sleeping area; vacuum toilets, workout and relaxation space; lyophilized (freeze-dried) food that comes with vegetarian, vegan, gluten or lactose free options; 5.5 liters of water for eating and drinking per day; and personal hygiene kits. There will be designated times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And with plenty of assigned tasks and team meetings, the mission will keep everyone busy during those four days. 

To make this happen, the team spent more than $1.65M and three years organizing everything, gathering experts such as Gabriel González de la Torre, astronaut psychologist and Doctor of Neuropsychology at the University of Cádiz; and Iñigo Muñoz Elorza, instructor of astronauts in the European Astronaut Center.

The 197-foot high and 1-mile long cave alone took more than two years for the team of biologists, archaeologist, architects and environmental engineers to locate. While it may not be a replica of the Red Planet, “it’s ideal for carrying out analogous missions, running precise tests and drawing important conclusions that we believe are steps towards establishing permanent human colonies on Mars,” said Ceballos. 

At $6,800, the price includes online training at the Astroland virtual campus, intensive training in Santander (with full-board accommodation at the five-star Hotel Real in Santander), four days, three nights in the Ares Station cave, plus one final night (after leaving Ares Station) at Hotel Real for a gala dinner, photos and award ceremony.

Upcoming missions will start on September 22, October 13, October 27, November 10, and November 24. Open to 18 years or older only.

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