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      Mars on Earth

      September 21, 2010

      Twenty minutes north of the tiny town of Hanksville sits a lone cylindrical building tucked into the craggy red surface of Utah’s San Rafael Swell. The spaceship-like structure houses the Mars Desert Research Station, an environment created by the Mars Society, a growing non-profit organization that supports the research, exploration, and eventual colonization of the mysterious red planet.

      The swell, chosen as a simulation site for its topical resemblance to Mars, provides researchers with an opportunity to live and work in an environment that’s as close to outer space as is earthly possible. Their “Mars Analog” station is staffed by a small group of Mars devotees (some scientists, some not) living in complete “sim”—wearing spacesuits when they venture outside, consuming only dehydrated, shelf-stable food like Bisquick and ghee, and abiding by the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” adage in an effort to conserve water.

      Motherboard’s Kelly Loudenberg recently paid a visit to the Station to get a glimpse of life of Mars on Earth. Against the backdrop of government experiments like NASA’s undersea NEEMO and the ESA’s marathon buddy isolation test Mars 500, life in the Society’s desert station can sometimes look like a kooky vacation. But this isn’t a lark or a theoretical exercise: living in a state of constant “dress-up,” in the words of crew member Nori Cassman, is meant to rally society behind and prepare for the possibility of life—human life—on Mars.

      See this and more at Motherboard.


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