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Living the Life on 'Mars' (Gallery)

MarsCrew 134 commander Ashley Dale
MarsCrew134 commander Ashley Dale leads an expedition in search of soil and terrain that will satisfy two future ExtraVehicular Activities (EVAs). See an interview with Dale and learn more about the mission in Take a Mock Mission to 'Mars' with MarsCrew134.
(Image: © Kai Staats.)

Life on Mars

Kai Staats.

Kai Staats, filmmaker and member of MarsCrew134, contributed these images to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Since traveling to Mars isn't yet possible, figuring out how to conduct routine, and specialized, activities on the Red Planet requires mock missions on Earth.

The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is one of the leading facilities hosting researchers, scientists and engineers as they test hypotheses, conduct simulated field work, and gain experience living and working in the physical and social confines of a Mars analog.

As featured in part 3 of the TV show "Man vs. the Universe," MarsCrew134 earlier this year entered the desert MDRS near Hanksville, Utah, for the duration of two weeks. The following images, articles and videos tell the story of this crew of six highly qualified scientists and engineers, and Kai Staats, their technician and documentary filmmaker.

In search of dirt

Kai Staats

MarsCrew134 commander Ashley Dale leads an expedition in search of soil and terrain that will satisfy two future ExtraVehicular Activities (EVAs). See an interview with Dale and learn more about the mission in Take a Mock Mission to 'Mars' with MarsCrew134.

The rover

Kai Staats.

The Kuon rover platform by RoadNarrows Robotics builds a 3D-terrain map, as guided by crew engineer and roboticist Ewan Reid. See the rover in action and learn more about its mission role in Bringing Mars Rover Design Down to Earth and Life On Mars Sim: Rover Deployed In High And Dry Utah | Video.

Taking notes

Kai Staats

MarsCrew134 commander Ashley Dale records data associated with one of his research projects looking at the continuity of radio signal propagation across adverse terrain.

Out in the Environment

Kai Staats.

MarsCrew134 crew engineer and roboticist Ewan Reid and crew scientist Vibha Srivastava conduct their first EVA with the Kuon rover platform. Learn more about the challenges facing the team during mock EVAs in 'Feeling' Beyond the Limitations of a Space Suit and Life On Mars Sim: Spacesuits Create Challenges On Mock EVA | Video

Growing the future

Kai Staats.

MarsCrew134 crew scientist Michaela Musilová conducts plant-growth studies in the Green Hab adjacent to the primary living module at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) near Hanksville, Utah. See more of the crew's terraforming mission in and Life On Mars Sim: 'Terraforming' Utah To Grow On Mars | Video.

Making house calls

Kai Staats.

Dr. Susan Jewell, crew executive officer and health safety officer for MarsCrew134 performs a simulated surgery following a mock field accident in which a second, "Mars base" uses a live video feed to help guide the required procedures to save the crew member's life. Learn more about the telemedicine "surgery on Mars" in At Mars, Is the Doctor In? and Life On Mars Sim: Practicing 'Off-World' Medicine With Earth Supervision | Video.

Dirt like earth

Kai Staats.

MarsCrew134 crew scientist Vibha Srivastava carefully extracts Utah soil, which she has found to contain a similar moisture content as that which is found near the equator on Mars. She will then take the soil back to the MDRS habitat and lab, heat the soil to evaporate the water, captures it in a condensing tube, and through the application of electrolysis, generate hydrogen. Hydrogen may one day be used to manufacture rocket fuel on Mars, using in situ resources. For more on how fuel may ultimately be extracted from Mars soil, see Extracting Hydrogen for Fuel on Mars and Life On Mars Sim: Extracting Fuel Making Hydrogen From 'Mars' Soil | Video.

MarsCrew134 crew scientist Vibha Srivastava

Kai Staats.

MarsCrew134 crew scientist Vibha Srivastava carefully extracts Utah soil, which she has found to contain a similar moisture content as that which is found near the equator on Mars. She will then take the soil back to the MDRS habitat and lab, heat the soil to evaporate the water, captures it in a condensing tube, and through the application of electrolysis, generate hydrogen. Hydrogen may one day be used to manufacture rocket fuel on Mars, using in situ resources. For more on how fuel may ultimately be extracted from Mars soil, see Extracting Hydrogen for Fuel on Mars and Life On Mars Sim: Extracting Fuel Making Hydrogen From 'Mars' Soil | Video.

Getting dressed

Kai Staats.

MarsCrew134 crew engineer Sue Ann Seah is fitted with her space suit as she prepares to conduct an EVA. Her research focuses on the human-machine interface and how gloves, in particular, hinder the ability of an astronaut to use tools. Learn about the challenges of using tools from within the confines of a space suit in 'Feeling' Beyond the Limitations of a Space Suit
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