Hawaii prepares to welcome first astronauts back from “Mars.”

Hawaii Tribune-Herald marks the anticipated end of the year-long simulated Mars mission inside an old quarry:

At 8,200 feet above sea level, the landscape mimics Martian soil somewhat, with hardly any vegetation to be found.

“They’re doing OK as far as we can tell,” said Kim Binsted, principal investigator for the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation.

Each scientist works on research projects during their stay and learns how to manage limited resources while avoiding personal conflicts in isolation.

Any communication with the outside world is put on a 20-minute delay, the length of time it would take to relay messages to and from the red planet.

Binsted said the only longer simulation held was a 520-day mission in Russia that mimicked a trip to Mars.

The crew will be provided fresh fruit and other food not available during the simulation after they leave the dome.

“They are clamoring to get into the ocean,” Binsted said.

“I think they will enjoy having a beer as well.”