Six researchers will return to Earth, so to speak, later this month after spending about four months on Mauna Loa as part of a simulated space expedition.
The simulation began in April and will end Aug. 13.
The purpose of the project, known as the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS, has been to put a crew in an environment as close to Mars as possible.
To keep it close to the real thing, the researchers have had to live and work in a 30-foot geodesic dome and have been required to wear space suits when venturing outside.
Part of the project was to test the use of crew-cooked and pre-cooked meals that could be used on the long journey.
The nearly $1 million study has been a joint effort of NASA, the University of Hawaii and Cornell University.