Friday, August 30, 2013

Simulating Mars on Earth

Scientists in both the United States and Morocco are studying what it would be like for human beings to live on Mars. Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart spent time in the Utah desert at the Mars Desert Research Station observing a crew simulate what conditions would be like on the red planet. Researchers with the Austrian Space Forum in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center spent time in the northern Sahara conducting experiments in engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, and geophysics. Matt Cross, left, rover engineer, Hans van 't Woud, center, mapping researcher and health and safety officer, and Melissa Battler, geologist and commander of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), wait in an airlock in their simulated spacesuits before venturing out to collect geologic samples in the Utah desert on March 2. The MDRS aims to investigate the feasibility of a human exploration of Mars and uses the Utah desert's Mars-like terrain to simulate working conditions on the red planet. Scientists, students and enthusiasts work together developing field tactics and studying the terrain. All outdoor exploration is done wearing simulated spacesuits and carrying air supply packs and crews live together in a small communication base with limited amounts of electricity, food, oxygen and water. Everything needed to survive must be produced, fixed and replaced on site. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

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