Emirati ready for 8-month simulated mission to Mars

Emirati astronaut Saleh Al Ameri has been selected to spend eight months in absolute isolation in a simulated Mission to the planet Mars.

Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre had reported that the 31 year old had been chosen to take part in the experiment, which begins on Thursday after being shortlisted for the project with fellow Emirati Abdullah Al Hammadi.

He shall be part of a six-strong team taking part in the study at Moscow’s NEK centre, with Mr Al Hammadi serving as backup.

The project, called Sirius 20/21, will measure the physiological and psychological toll that extreme environments, such as space, have on human beings.

The crew will carry out more than 60 experiments during the mission.

“I think the thing we will miss the most will be our family and friends, but we will try to stay in touch with them in our free time,” Mr Al Ameri mentioned last month.

The project will help scientists learn more about human physiology and psychology during isolation. The research is significant as nations work towards sending astronauts to the Moon and to Mars.

The UAE’s involvement with the Sirius mission will play an integral role in gathering data for the country’s plans to build a colony on Mars by 2117.

Many nations have put scientists and astronauts through isolation tests in preparation for space travel.

A European Space Agency flight crew experienced 18 months of isolation in a sealed device in a Moscow suburb between 2007 and 2011. The crew was exposed to stress tests, including a complete communications blackout.

In 2017, Nasa placed six astronauts in a dome in Hawaii which simulated the conditions of life on Mars.

They were given supplies, including canned tuna and powdered cheese, and wore sensors to measure voice levels and their proximity to others. This enabled researchers to collate data on whether the astronauts were arguing or avoiding each other.

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