“The Trip to Mars Starts Right Here”

NASA’s One-Year Mission in progress aboard the International Space Station is focused on manned deep-space missions beyond low Earth orbit: namely, a trip to Mars.

As explained in this NASA video, research being conducted on the space station will help physicians, scientists, and engineers better understand how to protect the human crews who will someday make the journey to the Red Planet.

“It’s a fabulous destination for us to explore,” Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, says in the video. “It has so many scientific questions that we could answer, and it might actually be the first place where we find life beyond the atmosphere of our own Earth.”

The historic One-Year Mission revolves around NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, whose one-year mission of living and working on the space station began on March 27.

Tests under way on the space station involve myriad health concerns, such as fluid shifts into the chest and head, including fluid shifts suspected of negatively impacting vision; the loss of muscle and bone strength; and the psychological effects of spending months in space in cramped, isolated quarters.

The One-Year Mission is also studying how long-duration weightlessness affects fine motor skills and sleep — and how Kelly and Kornienko will re-adapt to the Earth’s gravity.

“Humankind is not going to limit itself with just near-Earth orbit,” Kornienko says in the video via English translation. “We need to explore new planets, our solar system. It is inevitable. And the one-year mission is the first step in that direction.”

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