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Scientists complete 8 months in isolation to simulate Mars mission

With a human population of precisely zero, Mars is not exactly the solar system’s social hub. Yesterday, however, a team of scientists completed an 8-month simulation of social life on the Red Planet, The Scientist reports. Cut off from virtually all outside contact, the team of four men and two women lived in a two-story dome atop Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano to simulate the social isolation that early Mars colonists are likely to face. The NASA-funded project monitored the researchers’ interactions and provided various strategies—including virtual reality headsets—to help them cope with conditions.