In the Utah desert, a team of scientists is hard at work attempting to recreate what a real-life mission to Mars might be like, and SPACE.com contributor Elizabeth Howell is along for the ride to share the experience with SPACE.com readers. Here's a look at Elizabeth's mock Mars journey, from start to finish.
Ask Elizabeth Howell your questions Thursday (Jan. 23) during a Reddit AMA. FULL STORY: Space Reddit AMA @ 12 pm ET Today: Mock Mars Mission's Elizabeth Howell Takes Your Questions
Mock Mars Mission: Farewell to a Simulated Red Planet
SPACE.com contributor Elizabeth Howell says goodbye to Utah's Mars Desert Research Station where she has spent the last two weeks simulating life on Mars.
Mock Mars Mission: Are the Spacesuits Really Accurate?
The spacesuits and backpacks used on "Marswalks" at the Mars Desert Research Station are not quite the real deal, but feel real enough when you put one on.
Mock Mars Mission Photos: Life on a Simulated Red Planet
See photos from a mock Mars mission in the Utah desert as seen by Crew 133 at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville (Jan. 4 to 19, 2014).
Thursday, Jan. 16
Mock Mars Mission: How to Drive on the Red Planet
As I revved the all-terrain vehicle up the steep hill, I could feel gravity and mud pushing me back from the crest. I leaned forward in my spacesuit and with my right thumb, pressed hard on the throttle. The vehicle shuddered, hopped, and at last reached the top.
Mock Mars Mission: How to Stay Clean on the Red Planet
During an orientation walk around the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah on Jan. 5, our crew confronted a steep hill. Those with hiking experience bounded up the hill like mountain cats. Those less adept (such as me) faced a painful, slippery slide up and down in the mud. It was one of our last activities before going into the full Red Planet "simulation," which includes wearing spacesuits for daily activities.
Wednesday, Jan. 15
Simulating Surgery On a Mock Mars Mission
Within days of beginning our two-week stay at the Mars Desert Research Station, crew members already encountered minor medical problems — a sore back and a cold or flu among them. Take this six-member crew and put them on a 900-day mission to Mars, and it's possible that something could happen two or three times that would require the use of anesthesia, according to Crew 133 health and safety officer Matthieu Komorowski.
Mock Mars Mission: Stunning Night Sky Shines Over Utah Outpost
In the desert here, the nearly full moon was so bright that we didn't even need a flashlight to walk to the Mars Desert Research Station Musk Observatory. The stars were still, as the dry air did not provide much humidity to cause twinkling.
Tuesday, Jan. 14:
Mock Mars Mission: A Real Birthday Party On a Simulated Red Planet
As I ascended the stairs to the second floor of Utah's Mars Desert Research Station, something struck me as strange: the lights were off and the crew was quiet at what was usually a busy time — 5 p.m.
Mock Mars Mission: How to Stay in Touch with 'Earth'
During the crew handover at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Jan. 4, one person spoke of the "noise" of Earth fading away as the crew focuses on its activities. That's something my group, Crew 133, is just starting to learn about.
Mock Mars Mission: Learning New Skills for Red Planet Living
I used to think traveling through time would require climbing into a blue police box or using some similar device. After a week here at the Mars Desert Research Station simulating Red Planet exploration, however, I've learned that it takes only one ingredient to slow things down: novelty.
Monday, Jan. 13
Mock Mars Mission: Taking a 'Marswalk' on an Ancient Ocean Floor
Walk across the fall line, knees bent, back straight. Lean into your back foot. Remember not to go tumbling off the hill while inside the spacesuit.
Saturday, Jan. 11
Mock Mars Mission: Taking a 'Marswalk' on an Ancient Ocean Floor Mock Mars Mission: How to Suit Up for a 'Marswalk'
A first-person look at a simulated spacewalk taken by a crewmember of a Utah mock Mars mission that seeks that aims to test out technologies and procedures that could help humanity colonize the Red Planet someday.
Friday, Jan. 10
Mock Mars Mission Crew Answers SPACE.com Reader Questions (opens in new tab)
The Mars Society sponsored Mars Desert Research Station [MDRS] crew answers your questions about the simulated mission in Utah.
Tuesday, Jan. 7
Mock Mars Mission: Eating On The Red Planet
Shelf-stable foods and crops grown onsite form the menu of the crews at the Mars Desert Research Station in rural Utah.
Monday, Jan. 6
Mock Mars Mission Begins in Utah
A simulated Red Planet mission has begun at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, where six crewmembers are performing research that could lay the foundation for a real trip to Mars someday.
Questions Wanted: What's a Mock Mars Mission Really Like?
In the Utah desert, a team of scientists is hard at work attempting to recreate what a real-life mission to Mars might be like, and SPACE.com contributor Elizabeth Howell is along for the ride to share the experiencewith SPACE.com readers. So, what questions would YOU want answered about life aboard a mock Mars mission?
Thursday, Jan. 2
Mock Mars Mission: Utah Habitat Simulates Life on Red Planet
Scientists, engineers and legions of volunteers have worked hard to make a mock Mars habitat in Utah as realistic as possible.
Monday, Dec. 30
Mock Mars Mission: How to Pack the Red Planet Way
Packing for a simulated Mars mission is a lot like packing for a camping trip — as long as you also remember to bring your scientific gear.
Monday, Dec. 16
Mock Mars Mission: How Science on Earth Can Help Build Martian Colony
Crew 133 plans to run several experiments during their stay at the Mars Desert Research Station, ranging from looking for hydrothermal activity to testing our spacesuit temperatures.
Tuesday, Dec. 10
Mock Mission to Mars: A Space Reporter's Guide
SPACE.com contributor Elizabeth Howell plans to spend two weeks in a Red Planet simulation in the Utah desert in January. Follow along with her updates as she learns more about space work.