A team of researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., have selected the six from hundreds of applicants for the mission, dubbed HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation), part of a study for NASA to determine the best way to keep astronauts well-nourished during multiple-year missions to Mars or the moon.
Along with two days of cooking lessons at Cornell's test kitchens, the volunteers took part in team-building exercises, sensory testing and academic preparation for a trip in early 2013 to live in isolation on a barren lava field in Hawaii, a Cornell release issued Thursday said.
Included in the crew are a space scientist, a robotics researcher, a science and technology journalist, a materials scientist, a geology professor and a biologist.
"It was very difficult to narrow the pool down. We had about 150 highly qualified applicants, and pretty much everyone we interviewed would have done very well in the habitat," University of Hawaii researcher Kim Binsted, a member of the team conducting the study, said.
During the four-month simulation mission, the volunteers will be required to live and work like astronauts, including suiting up in space gear whenever they venture out of a specially built simulated martian base.