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Mars research crew emerges after 8 months of isolation

HONOLULU — Six NASA-backed research subjects who have been cooped up in a Mars-like habitat on a remote Hawaii volcano since January emerged from isolation Sunday. They devoured fresh-picked tropical fruits, vegetables, and a fluffy egg strata after eating mostly freeze-dried food during their isolation.

The crew of four men and two women are part of a study designed to better understand the psychological impacts a long-term space mission would have on astronauts.

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The data they produced will help NASA select individuals and groups with the right mix of traits to best cope with the stress, isolation, and danger of a two-to-three year trip to Mars. The US space agency hopes to send humans to the red planet by the 2030s.

The crew was quarantined for eight months on a vast plain below the summit of the Big Island’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano. After finishing their stint, they feasted on pineapple, mango, and papaya.

Associated Press

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