At John Scalzi's blog, astronomer and science fiction author Diane Turnshek writes about spending the holidays
at the Mars Desert Research Station
, a place in Utah where The Mars Society is running test missions to figure out proper procedures for living in a habitat on Mars. She says,
"In sim, we eat rehydrated/dehydrated food, have a 20-minute lag time for communication, spend time in airlocks before going out on the surface and conserve water (Navy showers every three days). A row of parked ATVs out in front awaits us for our more distant EVAs. We have to be careful–the nearest hospital is forty miles away on back roads and there’s no cell service here on Mars. Reports are sent via email to Mission Support every evening in which we have to clearly explain any technical or medical problems and they respond in kind. I’ve been working in the Musk Observatory, taking CCD photometry of eclipsing binary stars."
You can also read the mission's daily crew reports
and browse through their photostream