Researchers are studying 60 student volunteers who are confined to their dorm rooms in the southern city of Toulouse following the French government’s decision on 14 March to lock down the country.
Space researcher Stephanie Lizy-Destrez, Associate Professor of Space Systems Engineering at ISAE-SUPAERO, an aeronautics and space institute, decided to make the most of a bad situation, and signed up the students.
The idea is to see how they react over time to the kind of conditions they might experience on a long space mission.
It is not an exact simulation — for a start students are allowed a break for a daily trip outside — but rather than driving a rover across the red planet, the volunteers conduct computer-based tasks such as memory tests and mental agility tests.
They also keep a daily journal, and every five days have to complete a questionnaire.
Read more: The Independent