Coloradan Talks About Living In Tight Quarters On Simulated Mars

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Dome at sunset
The solar-powered dome where Andrzej Stewart is living with 5 other crew members to simulate life on Mars.

Andrzej Stewart says after spending seven months in a solar-powered dome to simulate life on Mars, he's convinced he could do the real thing. Stewart, who lives in Denver, is one of six crew members taking part in a NASA-funded mission to observe the psychological stressors that come with working and living with others in a contained space.

Kitchen at solar-powered dome
The kitchen in the solar-powered dome where six crew members are simulating a year-long trip to Mars.

As part of the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation Mission, or HI-SEAS, Stewart and his crewmates are living in a 1300-square-foot solar-powered dome on the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawai's Big Island.

Stewart says the area around the dome is barren and lacks vegetation -- very much like the surface of the Red Planet. The crew is permitted to go outside the dome if they stay within a restricted area, wear a space suit and exit through a special airlock.

As for living in a small space with five other people, Stewart says no matter how well you get along with each other, sooner or later, there will be disagreements.

Coloradan Simulates Mars
Andrzej Stewart at his job at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colo., before he joined the Mars simulation project.

CPR first spoke with Stewart in August when he left his job in space operations at Lockheed Martin's Littleton, Colo. headquarters to take part in the mission.