Six ‘astronauts’ who spent eight months living on a remote simulated Mars base in Hawaii found that lack of internet was their biggest frustration.
During the mission, the four men and two women lived in a 1,200sq ft dome perched on an 8,200ft high rocky plain below the summit of active volcano Mauno Loa.
Internet browsing was impossible due to a 20-minute communication delay intended to mimic the time it takes for radio signals to travel between Earth and Mars.
The fact the team could not simply Google any question meant that problems took days instead of minutes to solve.
The team could not use social media or speak live to anyone back home.
The six participants were carefully selected to interact well and get along.
Praising his crew, British team member Sam Payler, 28, said: “We spent a lot of time talking about how to avoid conflict. Incredibly, not once did anyone use a personal insult.”
The PhD astrobiologist student at the University of Edinburgh said: “Our days were packed with the types of task work which helped us not go stir crazy.”
He added that he worked out six days a week during the assignment.
Funded by NASA, the Hi-Seas (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) mission’s aim was to identify and overcome psychological and social problems that might emerge on long-haul space missions.
Reminiscent of the Matt Damon film The Martian, crew members lived and worked as if they were on Mars, carrying out maintenance, conducting scientific studies and exercising.
Space suits had to be worn on excursions outside the dome, which were carried out in teams.
The morning the mission ended, some of the team immediately celebrated with fresh fruit, while others chose the less healthy option of sausage and egg McMuffins.