The space race only seems to be heating up and NASA is rightfully wondering about the future of humanity in the stars. For that reason, there has been a renewed interest in the exploration and eventual colonization of Mars. In order to even dwell on that possibility, there is obviously a ton of research and progress to be made both technologically and sociologically. That brings us to the thrust of NASA’s most recent research, an eight-month mission that saw six people completely isolated in order to mirror a journey to Mars. The test was carried out in Hawaii and it took place in the shadow of the largest active volcano in the state, Mauna Loa. NASA’s goal with their Journey to Mars test mission was to find out the potential psychological impact that could be carried out on people making the trip.
NASA has been vocal in recent years about the exploration and even have put a date on their goal: 2030. NASA plans to have expeditions sent out to Mars by the 2030s and the hope is that their current research will help inform exactly how those manned missions are carried out. While NASA is clearly an industry leader, they are not the only group focused on Mars exploration. Elon Musk and Lockheed Martin are both pursuing Mars exploration with their technology.
The test featured six research subjects and the goal of their location was to help simulate the pure isolation that the individuals would be facing. Among the many aspects of their mission, NASA was interested in how the group of people interacted as time wore on. This naturally led NASA to start pondering the concept of ‘space law’ and who would govern what decisions when two parties were on a foreign planet, such as Mars. The conversation may seem premature, but NASA is not the kind of establishment to leave rocks not turned over.
Right now, the only example of potential ‘space law‘ we have in reality is the International Space Station, or ISS. Even with this structure of extreme legacy, there have been hiccups on board. The United States famously banned Rusian cosmonauts from using the American toilets. For what reason, nobody knows. That is why there is an increased focus on psychological studies such as the one that just took place in Hawaii. As the world trends more and more toward the very real exploration of space, expect these psychological studies to increase ten-fold.