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ED41C-0935: Long-Duration, Multi-Stage Mars Analog for Testing Human Resilience in Space
  • +7
  • Ilaria Luna,
  • Andrew Gordon,
  • Hannah Murphy,
  • Richard Lian,
  • Josue Zambrano,
  • Ben Major,
  • Tyra Lovell,
  • Eva Herndon,
  • Raul Garcia,
  • Amogh Badrayani
Ilaria Luna
Andrew Gordon

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Hannah Murphy
Richard Lian
Josue Zambrano
Ben Major
Tyra Lovell
Eva Herndon
Raul Garcia
Amogh Badrayani


The recent advancements in NASA’s analog programs allow scientists to observe the effects of living on other planets safely from Earth, where advanced technology simulates extraterrestrial landscapes within a space module. One aspect that NASA has not explored, however, is the effect on humans of a full-length, multi-stage mission with both transit to Mars and life on Mars. This research focuses on developing the Human Exploration Long-Duration Interplanetary Exploration (HELIX) Analog, which intends to replicate all stages of a Mars mission to assess how humans react to challenges such as equipment failure, agricultural self-sustainability, and the psychological impacts of isolation. The analog is designed to simulate 144 days of transit time, as well as 217 days of Martian environment residency, emulating a full mission in half of the real timeframe. The HELIX Analog would simulate a zero-gravity environment for testing extra-vehicular activity (EVA) during travel by submerging a Transit module in a Neutral Buoyancy Pool. The on-land portion of the analog would be located on Devon Island in Northern Canada, commonly known as “Mars on Earth.” Experiments focus on subjects’ abilities to respond to off-nominal events, prioritize tasks in the face of unexpected obstacles, and develop farming techniques such as aquaponics and traditional agriculture to sustain themselves both in microgravity and on Mars. As with all other current NASA analogs, HELIX will closely monitor the crew’s mental health. HELIX strives to develop accessible counseling methods to address the toll that lengthy missions take on the mind, with a focus on the effects of living in a small, isolated group. The analog would host six to eight crew members with relevant scientific or medical experience and education for one full year in isolation.
13 Dec 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
27 Dec 2023Published in ESS Open Archive