Mars, right here in the southwest.

A great NPR article about living on Mars, on Earth

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/11/169144855/simulating-the-red-planet-on-the-pale-blue-dot

If we are going to ever live on Mars, then why not start out here in southwestern USA. Hanksville, Utah is the second Mars analogue research station to be built by the Mars Society. The Mars Society launched the Mars Analog Research Station (MARS) Project in order to develop key knowledge needed to prepare for the human exploration of Mars. The project’s goals are to develop field tactics based on environmental constraints (i.e., being required to work in spacesuits), to test habitat design features and tools, and to assess crew selection protocols. Although much warmer than Mars, the desert location was selected because of its Mars-like terrain and appearance. From the moment they arrive at MDRS, crews enter a “living on Mars” simulation. Crew members must wear an analogue space suit simulator or a “sim suit” when completing tasks outside the Habitat (HAB) to simulate the protection they would need from the harsh Martian environment.

What’s it like to live—and cook—on Mars? In this NPR story, Kim Binsted talks about her study to whip up tastier space food. Porcini mushroom risotto, anyone? And sleep expert Charles Czeisler talks about how humans adapt to the 24.65-hour Martian day. Six people live at these stations for 17 months, and they simulate many of the aspects of travel to Mars, the confinement, being in an environment where you’re with a particular crew the entire time. And they had mission tasks to do and they had a simulated time when they landed on Mars.

If we’re going to travel there one day, best to iron out the kinks now.

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12 comments on “Mars, right here in the southwest.

  1. This article was very interesting and I can not believe these 6 people, would have the patience and strength for 17 months. I personally would not be able to manage this. In addition to the 17 months that they spent there is adapting to the sleep schedule as well as the hot climate.

    -Jacob Estrada

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  2. This is really cool. After our labs about Mars, I had been wondering why we didn’t have some sort of Bio-Dome simulating Mars? Happy to find out that there IS! Hopefully, this will be able to help us find a viable way to live on Mars in the future.

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  3. Training is a necessity, especially when talking about humans going to a planet they have never been before. All of the training aspects seem capable of preparing these people as best they can for the trip to Mars. From what I took in from the article, the only common quality between Mars and Hanksville, Utah is that it looks similar. So I don’t believe location, although does play a role, is the biggest factor in these training facilities, it is the actual training they receive

    -Jared Kruse
    Lab section M03

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  4. This is really interesting post to read. I had no idea that experiments like this were being conducted. The people that are living under these conditions and conducting these experiments are truly dedicated scientists.

    -Ryanne Medore

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  5. I think our area of the country would be the perfect place to set up a mars habitat and research center, and it would be interesting to, if the made one here, see the habitats and experience what it would be like on mars.

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  6. Training is a necessity, especially when talking about humans going to a planet they have never been before. All of the training aspects seem capable of preparing these people as best they can for the trip to Mars. From what I took in from the article, the only common quality between Mars and Hanksville, Utah is that it looks similar. So I don’t believe location, although does play a role, is the biggest factor in these training facilities, it is the actual training they receive

    -Jared Kruse

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  7. This is interesting and I really respect the people who have the patience to live in such a confined area for so long. When I was younger, I used to want to go to Mars until I learned how long it took to get there & that you have to wait until it’s close enough to Earth again until you can return.

    -ANNA SHAWVER

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