Part of Mars Dune Alpha is seen at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. For Canadian biologist Kelly Haston, living on Mars wasn't exactly a childhood dream, but she'll soon spend a year preparing for it. "We're just going to pretend we're there," the 52-year-old told AFP, summarizing her participation in an exercise that simulated a long stay on the Red Planet. At the end of June, he will be one of four volunteers to step into a Martian habitat in Houston, Texas, which will be their home for the next 12 months. “It still feels a little unreal to me sometimes,” she laughs. For NASA, which carefully selected participants, these long-term experiments make it possible to evaluate a crew's behavior in an isolated and confined environment before an actual future mission. According to Haston, the space agency warned that participants would face equipment failures and water restrictions — and they would face some "surprises." Their communications with the outside world will suffer from delays between Earth and Mars -- up to 20 minutes one way, depending on the positions of the planets -- and 40 minutes two ways. "I'm very excited about this, but I'm also realistic about what the challenge is," says the research scientist, whose status as a permanent resident of the United States makes her eligible for the program. The living space, dubbed Mars Dune Alpha, is a 1,700-square-foot 3D-printed facility complete with bedrooms, gym, common areas, and a vertical farm to grow food. "It's a surprisingly refreshing feeling when you actually get into it," said Haston, who visited the site last year before his participation was confirmed. "We also have an open space where we can mimic spacewalks or Mars walks." Separated by an airlock, this area is covered with red sand rather than open air. Haston, a registered member of the Mohawk Nation, says the crew will need to dress up to take "spacewalks" - "probably one of the things I look forward to the most." The story continues -'Tightly'- When his partner told him about the opportunity, Haston wasted no time filling out his application. "Exploring the different avenues of research and science, then being a test subject and hopefully giving it to a study that will advance space exploration, is in line with many of my goals in life." The four members of the mission—he, an engineer, an emergency doctor, and a nurse—did not know each other before the selection process, but have been acquainted ever since. "We're really tight-knit already," says Haston, who has been appointed commander of the group, adding that he looks forward to further strengthening these relations. They may be simulating an important exploration task for humanity, but how their housemates get along will be crucial as they share mundane chores, including cleaning and preparing meals. A month of training is scheduled in Houston before entering the habitat. A teammate may leave in the event of an injury or medical emergency. However, a set of procedures has been set up for situations the crew can handle themselves -- including how to tell them about a family problem that has arisen outside. - Insulation - What worries the Canadian most is how he will manage to be separated from his family. He will only be able to communicate regularly via email and rarely via videos, but never livestream. He says he will miss being outside and seeing the mountains and the sea. To cope, she plans to draw on her past experiences, such as on a research trip in Africa where she stu the genetic traits of frogs around Lake Victoria. He spent several months without reliable cell phone coverage, sleeping with four others in cars and tents. Feelings of isolation are "things that I think are very familiar to me." Specializing in developing stem cell treatments for specific diseases, the artist has worked and trained for start-ups in California in recent years. This mission is the first in a series of three planned missions grouped by NASA under the title CHAPEA . The one-year mission simulating life on Mars took place in a Hawaiian habitat in 2015-2016, but was not at the helm, although NASA was involved. As part of the Artemis program, America plans to send humans back to the Moon to learn how to live there in the long term to help prepare a trip to Mars in the late 2030s. laiabfmtjj