See 'Mars' with TripAdvisor Experiences

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WHY IT RATES: Can’t afford to actually fly into space, TripAdvisor Experiences offers the next best thing.—Mia Taylor, TravelPulse Senior Writer.


Forget storming Area 5, TripAdvisor Experiences is giving travelers the opportunity to take part in an out-of-this-world experience: a mission to “Mars.”

From interplanetary agency Astroland, this first-of-its-kind expedition brings participants deep into the caves of northern Spain where adventure-seekers can get a taste of what life on the Red Planet would be like.

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This unique experience will last a full 30 days, including a comprehensive three-week training program and another three days of physical and psychological training at the Astroland facilities – all leading up to three days of total seclusion in the cave.

Once inside, participants will have the basic necessities for survival while they test what human life would be like on Mars.

With only five expeditions available in the coming months and a max of 10 people per expedition, astronaut-aspirers looking to take part in the next mission should book quickly AND be prepared to spend a cool $6,800 for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Starting dates of upcoming missions (max of 10 participants per expedition) include September 22; October 13; October 27; November 10 and November 24.

The goal of the mission is to learn more about not just the physical, but also the societal impact living in such a colony would have. Candidates have to apply for their position on the expedition and pass physical and psychological tests before they are accepted. Special equipment has to be worn and no contact is allowed with the outside world.

Phases of the mission include:

—Three weeks of remote training, during which the chosen team has direct online access to aerospace experts and reputable psychologists, such as Gabriel Gonzalez de la Torre, doctor of Neuropsychology at the University of Cadiz and one of the few leading astronaut psychologists from Spain, and also Inigo Munoz Elorza, instructor of astronauts in the European Astronaut Center, part of the European Space Agency.

—Three days of training at the Astroland Space Center, located in the Science and Technology Park of Cantabria, where mission participants learn how to carry out spacewalks by participating in speleology (caving) training, natural buoyancy tests that simulate the states of weightlessness, and will also receive training in emergency plans which will allow them to act in the case of adverse circumstances.

—The fully-prepared crew then enters the cave in Arredondo, Spain, where they test what human life would be like on Mars. Measuring at 60 meters high and 1.5 kilometer-long, the cave is believed to accurately replicate the hostile conditions of Mars.

Specially-designed astronaut suits, technical clothing, life capsules, lyophilized food are just some of the long list of tools that will help make life in the cave easier for the Astrolanders.


SOURCE: TripAdvisor Experiences press release