Have you guys heard of the Mars Society? They are super cool. They describe themselves as a “space advocacy organization.” Basically they are a private, international organization that is working tirelessly to get humans to Mars. Awesome.
They do a lot of cool stuff: public and governmental education, engineering and design competitions, advocacy, even research. But the coolest thing they do (in my humble opinion) is run something called “Mars Analog Simulations.”
What is that, you ask? I’m so glad that you want to know. Because it’s awesome.
Simulated Martian living, on Earth.
They have two locations, one in Utah, one in arctic Canada. Both these environments were chosen to replicate certain conditions on Mars. The two stations are intended to simulate what human living conditions on the red planet might be like, and to both test and develop new technological and engineering solutions to the problems facing human colonizers.
Teams live in these closed environments, sometimes for months on end, without access to any resources or supplies that they wouldn’t have on Mars. They only leave their…what’s the right word? Habitat? Bunker? Home? Anyway, they only go outside in spacesuits, and they try very hard to pretend that the hordes of curious tourists snapping pictures of them from the road aren’t there. This is what the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah looks like:
According to the website, “MDRD serves as a field base to teams of six to seven crew members: geologists, astrobiologists, engineers, mechanics, physicians, human factors researchers, artists, and others, who live for weeks to months at a time in relative isolation in a Mars analog environment.”
Wait…artists? DO YOU GUYS NEED A WRITER?! I AM MOSTLY A FICTION WRITER BUT I COULD DO SOME NON-FICTION IF YOU WANT I’M VERSATILE I SWEAR!!!!
Hmmm…maybe if I write a story about life in one of these stations, they would let me come visit for “research.” Maybe some sort of sitcom about living in close quarters. Or a drama, where there is some sort of sudden plague that wipes out all of humanity except for the people sealed in this environment who only realize something is wrong when they lose contact with the outside. Or even a story about the first of these settlements actually on Mars. See, I’m full of ideas! Please let me be part of the team!
Damn I hate not having applicable skills that would let me do something like this. I mean, to be completely frank, I don’t think I’m actually physiologically suited to one of the longer missions, like the multiple month ones. But doing one of the 2-3 week simulations would be AWESOME! And the Utah location is doing this whole greenhouse thing with simulated crops, and I would be SO down for working in a Martian greenhouse.
Ah well, maybe in my next lifetime I will actually be born on Mars and can experience it all for real….
You gotta dream, man. You gotta dream.