A great NPR article about living on Mars, on Earth
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.