A humans to Mars mission is closer to reality, thanks to teams of dedicated volunteers – all hungry to hasten the day of the first footfalls on the red planet. But learning how best to live and work on Mars demands lots of “ground truth” here on Earth. And for the moment, the next best thing to being there is hunkering down in a habitat planted in Southern Utah. Operation of the Mars Society’s Desert Research Station is in full swing. Plans are jelling to set up additional habitats elsewhere, perhaps in Iceland, as well as Australia. Each spot offers unique “Mars-like” conditions, said Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society.