Red sand shifts under the boots of the crew members. In the distance, it appears that a rocky mountain range is rising out of the Martian horizon. A thin layer of red dust coats the solar panels and equipment necessary for the year-long mission.
This landscape isn’t actually 145m miles away. We are in a corner of the Nasa Johnson Space Center in Houston, in a large white warehouse right next to the disc golf course and on the tram route for tourists and school groups.
But starting this June, four volunteer test subjects will spend a year locked inside, pretending to live on Mars.
Nasa researchers say they’re doing everything they can to make it as realistic as possible so they can learn the impact that a year in isolation with limited resources has on human health.