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Friday, February 8, 2002

Mars in Utah

Mars in Utah.
Mars in Utah.
Credit: Mars Society
(MSNBC - Robert Zubrin) - After months of delays, the Mars Desert Research Station finally went operational today. A lot of things are still balky, the satellite communication system is behaving erratically, much of the internal network doesn’t work, and there is a problem with one of the water pumps. But we have a completed and fully provisioned station, a fairly well-equipped lab, a good power system, five functioning spacesuit simulators, three good all-terrain vehicles, sufficient satellite and local UHF com capabilities to function, and a highly qualified crew who is willing to do what it takes to push through. So today we began. The MDRS is the second Mars analog research station built and operated by the Mars Society in remote areas. The first was the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station, which started work on Canada’s Devon Island last summer. This one is located in the desert west of Hanksville, Utah, amid several hundred square miles of unvegetated, uninhabited land. The landscape is composed largely of red Jurassic sedimentary rocks that look as much like Mars as one could desire, and whose varied geology provides an excellent target for Mars exploration operations research. For the next three months our station will operate here with varied crews in a series of two-week rotations. What we will attempt to do is conduct a sustained program of field research into the geology, paleontology and microbiology of the area while working in the same style and under many of the same constraints that will face humans when they explore Mars.

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- posted by Alex @ 23:06 EST