Kate Greene had a headstart in coping with lockdown cabin fever after living inside a geodesic dome at 8,000ft, as part of a space experiment

Once upon a time I lived on Mars. Or the closest thing to it. At the time I was a science journalist and not necessarily an obvious choice for the mission. And yet I found myself on it. This was 2012 and Kim Binsted, professor of information and computer sciences at the University of Hawaii, along with Jean Hunter, professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell, had put out a call for “almost” astronauts to participate in a four-month “Mars” mission.

Binsted and Hunter wanted a crew who could technically qualify for space flight, according to Nasa, in terms of education and experience. They were also looking for astronaut-like personalities who, according to Binsted, feature “thick skin, a long fuse and an optimistic outlook”. Nearly 700 people applied worldwide.

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