NASA runs fake space missions on Earth. These simulations — called analog missions — allow scientists to study what a long space mission would be like for the crew.
Some analog missions study the use of specialized technology or the effects of zero gravity on the body, but others focus primarily on psychological effects. The HI-SEAS mission, or Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, takes place near the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii and is designed to simulate living on Mars. Crew members live in isolation for about 8 months and aren’t allowed to stray further than a mile or two from their small, dome-shaped habitat. Scientists study the impact this has on the crew’s mental and emotional state.