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A Martian Experience is Closer than You Think

Mars from the Viking space probe
Courtesy: NASA/JPL/USGS

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know we love space. We are what you’d call “Astro-nuts.” We are always looking for ways to enrich our space-loving lives such as attending Space Camp. We’ve stumbled upon an experience that sounds awesome, that is if you have a month to spend pursuing a Martian fantasy.

Astroland Interplanetary Agency based in Spain is offering an immersive and demanding experience. The company has created a replica of a Mars colony deep in the caves of Cantabria, Spain. Ares Station is cut off from the rest of the world and gives you that on-another-world vibe. The cave has a ceiling 60 meters (197 ft) high and is 1.2 kilometers (3/4th mile) long. You will have the chance to test all of the technologies that would keep you alive on Mars. You will wear spacesuits and work in a habitat doing station maintenance, growing food, and other scientific tasks.

The website states, “We are proposing a demanding test full of rewards of incalculable value. Live on Mars and overcome everyday tests that our experts have designed for you from the absolute scientific rigor. You will see how by yourself, or with the help of others, we evolve and transform ourselves by offering our best version in unexpected and unexpected situations.”

Ares Station is equipped with everything necessary to test all the technologies and human performance capabilities that will be required to survive life on Mars. You will be a pioneer in the arrival of the human species to other planets.

You will live your day-to-day as an astronaut receiving orders from mission control for tasks to complete as part of this realistic experience. The mission even starts before you arrive as you will be remotely trained by a mentor prior to your assignment. When you arrive at Astroland you’ll go through some physical and mental training before entering the isolation of Ares Station.

We both think this is like a Space Camp experience turned up to 11. The idea of committing that much time to such an intense and immersive experience is a little intimidating. The price, however, isn’t that bad. At only $6,831 it comes in under the price of some luxury safaris. But it’s not a pay-and-play opportunity; candidates have to apply for their positions on the expedition and pass physical and psychological tests before they are accepted.

Phases of the mission include:

—Three weeks of remote training, during which the chosen team has direct online access to aerospace experts and reputable psychologists, such as Gabriel Gonzalez de la Torre, doctor of Neuropsychology at the University of Cadiz and one of the few leading astronaut psychologists from Spain, and also Inigo Munoz Elorza, instructor of astronauts in the European Astronaut Center, part of the European Space Agency.

—Three days of training at the Astroland Space Center, located in the Science and Technology Park of Cantabria, where mission participants learn how to carry out spacewalks by participating in speleology (caving) training, natural buoyancy tests that simulate the state of weightlessness, and will also receive training in emergency plans which will allow them to act in the case of adverse circumstances.

—The fully-prepared crew then enters the cave in Arredondo, Spain, where they test what human life would be like on Mars.

We’re putting this trip on our shortlist of dream vacations. It’s a little more realistic than our chances of being selected for a real crewed mission to Mars.

Starting dates for upcoming missions (with a maximum of 10 participants per expedition) include September 22, October 13, October 27, November 10 and November 24.

About No Kids, Will Travel

In the eyes of their friends and family, Amanda and Zeke are a young jet setting couple without any real responsibility. In real life, the stress of work and raising a kitten push them to flee reality at every opportunity. The "lack of obligation" gives them the chance to explore the world.

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