- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

The latest on the NASA-funded experiment taking place at the University of Hawaii’s HI-SEAS facility on the Big Island. All times local.

4:55 p.m.

Six carefully selected scientists have entered a man-made dome on a remote Hawaii volcano as part of a human-behavior study that could help NASA as it draws up plans for sending astronauts on long missions to Mars.

The four men and two women moved into their new simulated space home Thursday afternoon on Mauna Loa, settling into the vinyl-covered shelter of 1,200 square feet, or about the size of a small, two-bedroom home, for an eight-month stay.

They will have no physical contact with people in the outside world and will work with a 20-minute delay in communications with their support crew, or the time it would take for an email to reach Earth from Mars.

The NASA-funded project will study the psychological difficulties associated with living in isolated and confined conditions for an extended period.

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12:30 a.m.

Researchers are entering an isolated geodesic dome perched on a remote Hawaii volcano to study human behavior for future long-term space exploration, including future trips to Mars.

The six crew members will enter the structure on the Big Island’s Mauna Loa Thursday.

They will spend eight months together in the research facility with no physical contact with any other human beings.

They’ll wear space suits when outside the compound on a mountainside plain with rocky Mars-like terrain and experience a 20-minute delay in communications to simulate the time it takes for voice calls to reach Earth from Mars

The NASA-funded study hopes to provide information on how crews on extended space missions will perform in isolated and confined conditions.

The so-called HI-SEAS facility is about 8,200 feet above sea level.

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