Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mars Space Science

Mars Desert Research Station Simulates Mars Base 122

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the simulate-having-internet-access dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Placing humans on Mars will be an extraordinary feat in itself, not to mention even living in such a harsh environment. To help train future astronauts to sustain life on Mars, the Mars Society has created the Mars Desert Research Station. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is one of four planned simulated Mars habitats (or Mars Analogue Research Station Programme) maintained by the Mars Society. Crews sign up for two week shifts during the winter months (it's too hot in the summer for pleasant simulation). Crews are not paid during their time at the station, but do get valuable experience."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mars Desert Research Station Simulates Mars Base

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But where are the simulated martians?
  • "lacing humans on Mars will be an extraordinary feat in itself"
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      sounds like something out of a Mel Brooks movie...I can see it now "Space Balls II: Finding my Shwartz"

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday January 19, 2009 @11:35AM (#26516173)

    Obama has already made space exploration a back burner issue, so it's a nice idea but realistically we won't be seeing a mission to put a man on Mars anytime in the next 4 years. Maybe it would be better to vote in a guy who wasn't so hostile towards pure research next time.

    • by Elisanre (1108341) on Monday January 19, 2009 @11:41AM (#26516233)
      as opposed to Bush who was a pure mercenate of pure science?
    • by jonadab (583620) on Monday January 19, 2009 @11:51AM (#26516347) Homepage Journal
      > we won't be seeing a mission to put a man on Mars anytime in the next 4 years.

      We wouldn't be anyway. I'm not a big Obama fan, but the idea of sending humans to Mars within eight years, let alone four, is not realistic at this point. We have a ways to go before we're ready for that.

      Among other things, a desert simulation doesn't really do a good job of simulating the lack of any significant amount of atmosphere on Mars. That's a pretty big deal. An orbiting space station is a much better simulation, despite the lack of much gravity.

      But the real kicker is the whole "You're pretty much on your own for at least two years, longer if the next mission gets canned" thing. The closest we come to that now is the south pole base which is *difficult* (not impossible) to get supplies to in the winter. In a pinch we make overflights and drop packages in. It takes a couple of weeks to make it happen, due to the weather issues, but a couple of weeks is *not* the same thing as a couple of years.

      And the south pole base takes advantage of the fact that it's *very* accessible in the summer, by building up supplies over the course of many trips over several months, to get enough stuff brought in to be prepared for the winter. A mars mission won't have that option. The team would only have what they bring with them.

      These are not unsolvable problems, but they are problems that will require significant work to solve, and that can't be done overnight. Frankly, twenty years would be an optimistic timeframe. Four years is right out, even if funding were no problem at all.
      • A desert sim might be good in tandem with Antartica.

        I totally agree with the deep logistics problem of "You're stuck here past day 30" when the glamor shots for the press die down.

        Antartica would be nightside, Desert would be Dayside and can help test heat specs and sand tolerances.

        • Mars has a 24ish hour day like Earth (24h39m35s), so there is no dayside and nightside on Mars any more than there is on Earth. Temperatures during the day on Mars can get as high as 0C, and at night they can get as cold as -100C. The best places to simulate Mars would be a high mountaintop, like Everest, or K2.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by jae471 (1102461)
            Arctic simulation isn't that far off. Any martian base would need to be near a water supply, which are most accessible at the poles. Only problem is on Mars, Arctic Winter is 11 months instead of 6.
            • Arctic simulation isn't that far off. Any martian base would need to be near a water supply, which are most accessible at the poles. Only problem is on Mars, Arctic Winter is 11 months instead of 6.

              Good points. The thing about a mountaintop location is that you get year-round, continuous cold and a thin atmosphere. (Not as thin as Mars, mind you, but possibly thin enough to work with.)
              • by ardle (523599)

                The thing about a mountaintop location is that you get year-round, continuous cold and a thin atmosphere.

                And wind, lots of wind - how windy is Mars?

                • by ianare (1132971)
                  Wind speeds on Mars are much higher than on Earth due to the very low atmospheric pressure. Speeds of up to 400 km/h can be triggered by the polar 'melt' (sublimation of CO2) during the summer.
                • by rts008 (812749)

                  From what I understand, Mars can get very windy...winds meeting/exceeding tornado/hurricane speeds here. But due to the 'thinness' of Mars' atmosphere, it would enable you to fly a kite instead of seek heavy shelter.

                  My 'Pulled_From_My_Ass' numbers are based loosely (Heh! this is /. - should it be losely?) from here [wikipedia.org]. (see:Effect of dust storms:"The low density of the Martian atmosphere means that winds of 40 to 50 mph (18 to 22 m/s) are needed to lift dust from the surface, but since Mars is so dry, the dust

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by smoker2 (750216)
            Of course there is. Even on earth we have a day side and a night side. Neither is permanently in the same place, just the same as on mars. Otherwise it wouldn't be day or night would it ?

            You can simulate the night side or winter of mars by going to antarctica, and the day side or summer by going to an earth desert in winter, maybe peru or the steppes of Russia. Nobody said you have to do them both twice a day !
            Plus the maximum temp. on mars is around 20C not 0C, and the minimums can reach -140C.
            • When you merge the two words day and side, and then capitalize them, you are implying the sunward facing half of a tidally locked planet. We have a day side and a night side, but we do not have a Dayside and Nightside.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Froboz23 (690392)
            I think the best way to simulate living on Mars would be to build an underground installation. Go to a cold barren climate like the Alaskan tundra or North Dakota, then excavate a cavern about 100 meters in diameter and 50 meters deep that is entirely subterranean. You could then accurately simulate many aspects of the environment as follows.

            Atmosphere: Reinforce the walls of the cavern so you can pump all the air out, then fill the cavern with an atmosphere containing the same density and composition
      • > A mars mission won't have that option. The team would only have what they bring with them.

        Imagine the team arriving at Mars only to realize they forgot the keys for their shiny new station!
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          They could also have anything that was sent ahead of them. Maybe three duplicate loads targeted together so that one of them would be within walking distance of the manned module. The rovers have shown that those NASA people can target pretty well these days. You just need a tight shotgun pattern, + - three miles.

        • My wife did not plan that mission, you insensitive clod!

      • by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Monday January 19, 2009 @02:27PM (#26518287) Journal

        The biggest problem to me is: how are they going to get off the rock?

        In order to get them off they will need to ship a man rated rocket, and its launch facilities, down to the planets surface, assemble it, pray one slight flaw from operating in a completely alien environment without prior testing doesn't blow it up. As I recall, rocket science on earth isn't without it's mistakes, even with back up parts, high tech facilities, and maintenance crews. And they are going to do that on the martian surface?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Some people have the will and the skill to explore. Even more are willing to die for the chance. Don't worry, there will be plenty of volunteers.

          • Why would someone put a revolutionary thing like Mars exploration in the hands of suicidal astronauts?
        • by smoker2 (750216) on Monday January 19, 2009 @03:43PM (#26519153) Homepage Journal
          Really ?

          I'm left wondering how they managed to get those astronauts off the moons surface. No construction, no launch facilities, no assembly needed.

          If we are to establish a base on Mars, then crew changes will be necessary I presume. Leave the "command module" in orbit and use a lander. One crew gets out, another gets in. It's not rocket sci...
          hang on, maybe it is, but it has been done before.

          I get tired of the whining about small issues regarding Mars habitation. Nothing is that big an issue if we are prepared to give it an honest go. Even the long periods in space to get there aren't that bad. How long did it take to sail around the globe the first few time ? Nearly 3 years. Ok, they stopped here and there, but not for that long. The scientific challenge is to get the travellers there without being nuked by the cosmic rays, but if we build a ship in space then the heavy shielding can be done little by little, which will keep the costs down.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Rich0 (548339)

            I'm left wondering how they managed to get those astronauts off the moons surface. No construction, no launch facilities, no assembly needed.

            Uh, the moon's gravity is significantly lower than that of Mars. The moon also lacks an atmosphere - the lunar landar had skin the thickness of aluminum foil at points which made it very light (it would have disintegrated if you tried to launch it from earth). The lack of atmosphere meant zero drag, and they could basically boost above the craters and immediately acc

            • by Mr2cents (323101)

              One might argue that mars would be easier to land on if it had no athmosphere at all. The low pressure means that you're going to need a huge, monstrous parachute to decelerate enough, and you wont be able to use retro rockets until your speed is low enough (subsonic speeds). If you fire at supersonic speeds, all sorts of nasty things happen.

              It is explained further here [universetoday.com]. This article was even covered on slashdot.

        • Must...Resist...Obvious...Joke!...argh! Too weak!:
          "In order to get them off..."

          "All you need is pr0n!"
          *sing to the tune of: All You Need Is Love[by the Beatles]....makes the world go round!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        Among other things, a desert simulation doesn't really do a good job of simulating the lack of any significant amount of atmosphere on Mars. That's a pretty big deal. An orbiting space station is a much better simulation, despite the lack of much gravity.

        An orbiting station is important, but reasons other than you think... Any Mars mission will spend the bulk of it's time in transit, and the systems need to be proved in their operational environment - in space, in zero-G. Thus an orbiting station is extre

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mr2cents (323101)

      Obama has already made space exploration a back burner issue

      I don't think that's a bad thing. The whole "humans to mars" thing is very optimistic once you realize everything involved. In my opinion, it's just a way for contractor to receive a lot of money without the need for deliverables, because it won't get launched. I still have a book from when I was a kid preaching the same fantasies about the ISS, together with pictures that are simply ludicrous when you compare it to what's being built. Now, we are hurrying to get it finished in time so it can be dumped in t

  • "Explore Mars now" has a great 3D mockup of all the Bunks, Galleys, wardrooms and other parts that would make up a Mars base. http://www.exploremarsnow.org/ [exploremarsnow.org]

    I look forward to this moving to completion so I can juggle on Mars too. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvp8m8CqIDc [youtube.com]

    Chuck Norris was the first one to Mars, that's why there are no signs of life.

    • by argent (18001)

      I'd have more faith in the competence of a Mars project that didn't need to use two Flash applets to get the effect of 20 lines of CSS.

    • The Basic Unified Crew Compartment (BUnCC) reminds me of a big cubical-type enclosed bookshelf. Or something in Tokyo maybe.

      Looks a bit cramped, but then with space being at a premium it's understandable why it's designed this way.

      But can you imagine spending two weeks sleeping in one of these things? Now you have to imagine that a manned mission to mars will have people being cramped in a spacecraft MONTHS before they get there and I'd imagine they'd be spending far longer than two weeks given the cost o

    • by Cally (10873)
      If this was an attempt to really simulate a Mars mission, there'd be no humans in it, only robots. Humans will never land on Mars. Consider that even a 1 kg sample return mission requires massive investment in engineering and technology that just doesn't exist today.
      • Be warned, those sorts of statements tend to get publicized alongside such others as "there will only be a world market for about 6 computers", "heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible", and "640k ought to be enough for anyone".

        It's always impossible. Until someone does it.

        • by Cally (10873)

          "They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. "

          -- Carl Sagan

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gregbot9000 (1293772)
      Why? simply answer why? there is nothing there, there will be no long term benefit to humanity. The costs to great. Why does mares get so much attention when an average near earth object has more high quality metal ore than human society has produced in the last 10 years? Space was a fun romp, but the only reason anyone will go back is for money, which mars lacks.
      • by ardle (523599)
        I think it's for the same reason why populations migrate or go to war: resources. It feels like we can't sustain ourselves here, so let's go somewhere else.
        Sure, some people travel just for the fun of it but the end result is the same: people travel (in fact, it's a good survival strategy to have people travel "for fun" in case some unexpected catastrophe strike the remainder of the population)
        • Yeah, I have no doubt people will move to space like I said "an average near earth object has more high quality metal ore than human society has produced in the last 10 years"

          Mars OTOH, has practically no resources, is far away, and down a gravity well.

          So why? Why Mars? In 30 years we will not be getting Iron ore or energy off Mars if we sink trillions of dollars into getting there. We would get that from things closer to home if we utilize our resources to actually accomplish something useful like secu

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Nobody's forcing you to go, so STFU whining.
        It's obvious money is the only thing on your mind, so stay here and spend it on shit. And when the population hits 15 billion, and you are starving and constantly at war, you can look up to the skys and wonder how the others are getting on.

        I've never met a bigger bunch of whiney kids !
        • by Shotgun (30919)

          you are starving and constantly at war, you can look up to the skys and wonder how the others are getting on.

          If people down here at the bottom of our gravity well are fighting over food, I would suspect that the people up there would be starving, too. Last I checked, there wasn't much to the agriculture industry on Mars. Stuff won't grow on the moon, either. Scientist are still trying to figure out why. Until they get it all straightened out, everyone in space will be reliant on Earth grown food for sustenance.

        • by Mr2cents (323101)

          Nobody's forcing you to go, so STFU whining.
          It's obvious money is the only thing on your mind, so stay here and spend it on shit. And when the population hits 15 billion, and you are starving and constantly at war, you can look up to the skys and wonder how the others are getting on.

          I've never met a bigger bunch of whiney kids !

          Space is not just for fun. It is important for the survival of life on earth. It has an important philosophical and scientific role to play. I'm a big advocate for space exploration. Unmanned space exploration, that is. At least for the time being.

          But your comment doesn't make sense. Do you imply that we won't be 15 billion and starving because we send a couple of people to mars? Or do you live in a fantasy world where we will be able to send off billions of people to a terraformed mars in the next fifty ye

        • No body is forcing me to go you say? well, they are forcing me to pay for it. I'd rather NASA spent my money figuring out how to mine the sky rather than how to plant a flag on a useless rock.

          When the population of Earth hits 15 billion and you and 100 people on mars are freezing, starving, and suffocating, you can look at the sky and wonder how others will be getting on.

          We'll be siting at the L5 Lagrange point with a few asteroids and a beer living it up, laughing at all the money you wasted.

      • Three words, Off Site Backup!

        It's fairly easily colonization. More so than anywhere else but earth.

        • more so than under ground? I have a sneaking felling it would be easier to put a self sustaining colony 1 mile down than it would be to put one on Mars.
  • nevermind (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Nevermind that we're still learning the basics of the chemical composition and the true environment of Mars, we have a group of people who think they can accurately recreate it. While their goals are noble, it looks like it's more a society of "enthusiasts" rather than people who actually have a real knowledge and understanding of what's involved (though there are some of them working on the project).
  • "Crews are not paid during their time at the station, but do get valuable experience." I hope they will at least give them head scarves to protect from the sand storms [news.com.au]
    Wait, they haven't planted any corn on Mars yet...
  • Two weeks of vacation rent free!
    • Two weeks of vacation rent free!

      Vacation.

      I don't think that word means what you think it means.

  • Exactly the same (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thered2001 (1257950) on Monday January 19, 2009 @11:53AM (#26516381) Journal
    Except you can breath the outside atmosphere, the gravity is Earth-normal, and emergency help is much closer. Otherwise, a great simulation of life on Mars. (An Antarctic simulation lab would be a bit closer to the mark.)
    • can't breathe the outside atmosphere, gravity is normal but pressure is not, and emergency help is generally not an option if something goes wrong.

      Subs can do fine for months on end autonomously, why wouldn't those habitation systems be a decent blueprint for a mars bio-dome? (probably don't need nuclear propulsion or torpedos. but who knows)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kugala (1083127)

        Weight. One of the largest issues getting anything into even orbit, much less Mars, is weight.

        A Delta IV Heavy rocket could get about 14 tons to high orbit. A Virginia class submarine weighs about 8,000 tons. This would take around 570 launches to lift.

        Even considering you don't need half the features, there's probably more you do need, so the final product might wind up weighing more.

        • I can't believe I just read a post advocating putting a submarine into orbit.

          Oh, yeah, this is slashdot...

        • by Punko (784684)
          I believe the parent was suggesting a submarine as the best place to simulate a Mars base, as opposed of using a submarine as a Mars base.
      • by icebrain (944107)

        Nuclear subs can generate fresh water (desalination) and oxygen (electrolysis) pretty much at-will. Spacecraft will need recycling systems, for one thing.

    • Agreed. A wintertime Antarctic base with an average temperature of -63C except around their knees where it can get up to 15C, located in a warehouse that has a partial vacuum atmosphere and is flooded with UV and high levels of radiation.

      People are not going to Mars. Not now, not ever.

      The money would be better spent on lightweight low cost probes.

      RS

      • by Schemat1c (464768)

        ...flooded with UV and high levels of radiation.

        That could be solved by digging base into thick layers of rock.

    • You're a couple of years behind the times, they've have a simulation in the Arctic going for years now -the Flashline Arctic Research Station [marssociety.org]

      • by fishbowl (7759)

        I think you're dismissing the radiation and UV problems a little too hastily. The most hardy Noweigian whaler wouldn't last 3 minutes on Mars.

    • you can breath the outside atmosphere, the gravity is Earth-normal, and emergency help is much closer. Otherwise, a great simulation of life on Mars.

      As long as it looks like Mars on a carefully composed cmera shot, that's all that matters.

      It's just like the moon "landings", everybody knows they were fa
      @##$
      $%!>!
      no carrier

  • Can we sign up CowboyNeil?
  • by realperseus (594176) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:11PM (#26516601)
    My daughter had the privledge of participating in the MDRS back in the Fall of 2006. She described it as "Fun and awesome!" Their mission was to refit the "Hab" as best as they could within their limited budget. She described living conditions as "cramped, much like a typical Mars mission. You need to work as a team to get things done". Here is another link to MDRS project for those who wish more information:

    The Mars Society - Mars Desert Research Station [marssociety.org]

    • by chaim79 (898507)

      She described living conditions as "cramped, much like a typical Mars mission. You need to work as a team to get things done".

      Um... not so sure that an event that hasn't happened, and probably won't for years, can be described as "typical"...

      However that looks like it'd be an interesting experience, if nothing else to feel what it's like to live under adverse circumstances with limited supplies.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      a friend of mine just got back from the MDRS -- he was there for a week at the beginning of January. He said it was an awesome experience as well. And for those who are wondering, yea, it's not paid, but the Mars Society covers food, transportation, and I guess technically lodging as well. The food he said was all dried stuff. While he was there they would go on scouting trips and worked on revamping the documentation for the site. Oh, and he also mentioned that while boucing around in their spacesuits outs
    • Then I very probably led that mission, or was personally involved in it's support! Cool!

      It is an awesome experience, and a lot of very good work is done there. We learn a great deal about field methodologies, consumables requirements, space utilization, I could go on for hours.

      There is a great deal to be learned from analog operations, and they do not require near vacuums nor 1/3G...

      It is a great project, but I have left it (PHB issues...) and have moved on to http://openluna.org/ [openluna.org] where I build real suits a

  • Who said the simulation had to be pleasant? It's a harsh environment, remember- nobody said living on Mars was going to be 'pleasant'. This is extreme survival- to answer the question whether human life is possible not just in extreme environments on earth, but on another planet altogether. Now, if it's too hot to make for a *realistic* simulation, that's another matter altogether. But if they're going to be complaining that the simulation isn't 'pleasant', human life on other planets is doomed already.
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Too hot in summer for pleasant simulation

      They could use the hottest two weeks to run a mercury base simulation.

    • yea, but if you're trying to simulate Mars-like conditions, you'd probably want to only get up to 80ish F degrees (http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q2681.html) at the high end.

      Also, boiling "astronauts" isn't a good way to get PR.

  • This is idiotic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:51PM (#26517039)

    This is stupendously stupid and idiotic.

    The most BASIC problem has yet to be solved : how do we loft things into orbit without blowing $10,000 of taxpayer money per kilogram? Every last dollar of the manned space division of NASA SHOULD go into solving this problem, FIRST.

    THEN, once it is cheap and easy to put stuff into orbit, and only then, do we work out how to put up a real space station, then a trip to the moon, then to mars. In roughly that order.

    And before you say something dumb like "well, a modern Saturn V is as cheap as possible"...no. Disposable giant rockets aren't cheap, they are just cheaper than rube goldberg spaceplanes (aka shuttle)

    What do I think will work? Probably laser launch. LED Solid state laser technology is finally cheap enough that we could use infrared lasers to blast spaceships into orbit. Instead of one launch every few months, a laser launch system would fire a smaller payload off daily. After a few thousand successful unmanned launches, we would buy more laser modules and launch small manned capsules, probably one person at at time. (with a laser launch system, you can run the solid state lasers all day, so long as you pay the power bill. But adding more capacity costs money)

    Rotons, or space elevators, or a railgun, or Saturn Vs made in China, or various other 'out there' ideas might also work. The point is, we need to keep working on better ideas until we get one of them to work, and then worry about conquering Mars.

    • Re:This is idiotic (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:04PM (#26517213) Journal

      Well, here's the thing. Different people are skilled at solving different sorts of problems. A rocket scientist isn't necessarily the best person to be designing a mars habitat. And since it's not the same person doing both, they can both be worked on at the same time.

      And while there's almost certainly going to be a need for a mars habitat to make design adaptations to work with whatever the launch vehicle is (and vice versa), there are plenty of habitat issues that need to solved irregardless of how it's gotten into space, so work spent figuring those out isn't wasted.

      Besides, once the rocket is ready, it'd be nice to have the mars project almost ready to go, instead of just starting up.

      • Re:This is idiotic (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ShooterNeo (555040) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:21PM (#26517433)

        Except that no-one at NASA is even TRYING to build a cheaper rocket. And they also have no concrete plans for a Mars mission, either. Meaning the engines you would need to even get the Mars are not even in the design stage.

        So if you don't even have a guess as to how much stuff you could bring to Mars, then playing with habitats is pointless.

        Best case scenario, we build a super-efficient laser launch system and a nuclear powered VASIMIR rocket to get to mars real fast. In that case, we could just cram the spaceship with a bunch of MREs and life support components right off of a nuclear submarine.

        Worst case, it is still super-expensive to go to Mars, and NASA has to custom build every last part, min-maxing for mass.

    • This is stupendously stupid and idiotic.

      It has its uses. It keeps the Mars Society people happy and interested. They, in turn, lobby for funding for Mars exploration, and even kick in a little funding of their own.

    • by khallow (566160)
      The barrier is purely economic. Even expendable rockets can be substantially cheaper as long as the launch rate is higher than current. And the exotic methods don't really make sense till you have significantly greater demand for them. Just by making the simple choice to use commercial launch providers (Atlas V Heavy, Delta IV Heavy, and perhap even Falcon 9 Heavy down the road), NASA will have moved to launch vehicles with higher flight rates than anything NASA can make.
  • The colonization of Mars is one of the stupidest of ideas conceived by humanity. (A) The individuals involved have no understanding with respect to the DNA damage which could occur on a trip to/from Mars. (which of course makes such astronauts ripe for dying of cancer in contrast to their several % lifetime risk which is the allowable increase for current missions) and (B) if they reside on Mars for an extended period they will accumulate even more significant radiation damage.

    (1) If you want to go to Mar

    • by khallow (566160)

      before it is dismantled -- see Matrioshka Brain concepts

      Ah yes, humans living on Mars is impossible, but building Solar System scale projects is not. Let's keep in mind that the former is a lot easier to accomplish than the latter.

      Why is there no discussion of creating a species which could colonize Mars? Is there some (flawed) concept that only "God" can create species?

      Oh there is plenty of discussion. But why create a species when appropriate species (humans, other intelligent Earth life) already exist? Radiation? That's an engineering problem. Solved either via enough shielding or some sort of radiation resistance. If it makes you feel more comfortable, we can even call them "new" species.

      • by bradbury (33372)

        You raise the point of the transition period. When nanotechnology engineering is impossible to when it is easy.

        Pick a time frame and justify it. In my mind it is within the next 50 years. Choose to refute that or not. Because once the disassembly of Mars is feasible then all bets regarding colonizing it are off.

        • by khallow (566160)

          In your mind.

          I think it reasonable not to assume particular scenarios about the future. Perhaps something will develope and deploy the technology to break up Mars in the next 50 years. I think there are various reasons they do not, even if they do have this technology. First, humans have a legal claim to Mars and other large bodies in the Solar System. Sure you can come up with scenarios where legal claims by humans do not matter or are undefined (either because humans don't exist any more or there is no le

    • by grikdog (697841)
      "significantly more complex DNA repair systems"...?

      Is it even possible to outlaw mutation? Viral plasticity trumps genetic engineering.
    • by ianare (1132971)
      Radiation is solvable with current technology, even for a deep space mission like a mars or moon base, where the Earth's protective field is absent. There are several approaches to this problem, from heavy shielding to burrowing into the soil. One particularly elegant solution IMO is recrerating the Earth's magnetic field [discovery.com] abord the spacecraft.
  • this is not a Mars simulator, but an elaborate soundstage. They just got caught before filming the successful Mars mission.
  • I had the honor of being on MDRS Crew 65 about a year ago. What an amazing experience, when 6 space nerds who had never met before get locked up in the Utah desert for 2 weeks. (I smell "sitcom"!) It was a lot of fun, cold and hard work and I definitely plan to go back at some point. For the gent who was wanting to juggle on "Mars"...sorry, been done before. :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjxqIEmKQCw [youtube.com]
  • Seriously, there should be a simulation where the habitat module is actually within a larger structure and the larger structure has the sand/dirt, light conditions, and a nice matte painting of "Mars" and then be set to STP of Mars.

    Living inside the habitat, knowing death is outside, makes for a more believable simulation and that all safety checklists are done.

    (of course there would be an emergency button that instantly blows open some hatches in the larger structure to quickly convert it to Earth ST
    • Do you have any idea how much that would cost? Remember, this is a volunteer organization, with very limited funds. (And it is fantastically dangerous for volunteers, who are little more than students or enthusiasts)

  • So are they going to make a special hole in the atmosphere over the base so they can pelt them with solar radiation?
  • Want a better mar simulation?

    Put five people in a sailboat and have them circumnavigate the Earth twice. Tell them they can't come back into port until they finish.

    Communications from a sail boat is via HF marine radio. The boat will not have much power so contact is only daily. They will be living in close quarters but with huge amounts of space all arond them. They will need to eat about the same kinds of food as on a trip to mars. They will have to fix things. And just like in space when soething g

    • At least, while at sea, you can always throw a line into the water and hope to catch some food.
    • by ianare (1132971)
      The main difference with your suggestion is that on a sailboat circumnavigating the globe, there is the very real danger of storms, pirates, reefs, treachurous currents, etc. On Mars there would be a lot less dangers. Probably the biggest would be dust storms, but the two rovers have gone through these successfully. Equipment failure would be another big issue of course, but adequate testing and redundency reduces this greatly.
    • What a crock of crap, How do you go out, through an airlock, in a suit, and do real geological or biological field work? How do you determine good hab designs, or exploration methodologies in a relevant environment. All you do is test boredom control...

    • by drsquare (530038)

      That's not simulating Mars, it's simulating 18th century sailing.

  • by PPH (736903) on Monday January 19, 2009 @08:22PM (#26522897)

    Then why not set up a simulation on Northern Canada or someplace similar. The temperature is close and precipitation is actually pretty low.

    Plus, they'll gain experience dealing with the inevitable Martian polar bear they'll encounter.

    • Oh, you mean like in Nunavut, say on Devon Island, would that be far enough north?

      Why look, they already did that: www.fmars.org

  • Hopefully they learn from the mistakes of BioSphere2.

    Like: no ordering out for pizza, no leting your SO in for nookie, and concrete takes a very long time to cure and uses oxygen throughout the process.

    -- Terry

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.

Working...