Addante explained that while enclosed in their habitat, the team would then spend most of their time running various tests and experiments – from growing plants, cultivating bacteria, to running flight simulations and lunar lander simulations – all while getting at most five hours of sleep a night and dealing with isolation.
“Everybody has their limit, their breaking point, and soon the isolation starts getting to you,” Addante said.
Another challenge was having to complete their tasks while being in a small enclosed place with their crew members.
“In order to survive going from Earth to Mars and back, your team needs to survive each other for three years,” Addante said. “Imagine taking a road trip with your closet friends and family, people you really like, and never being able to leave the car.”
Infographic courtesy of NASA
Addante then went on to explain the process of applying for the program and his story in getting into the analog. He explained how when he originally applied for the program he was rejected, but was then called in as a backup, and was eventually to take the place of another team member who could not go.
His story resonated with people in the audience, like Applied Physics and Psychology major Erika Sanchez.
“It was really interesting, I’m a psychology major and it was really cool to see a Psychology professor being able to do something like this,” Sanchez said.