Mars on Earth Wired

A saddleback ridge and two gentle peaks the color of rust rise from a rough, rock-strewn plain. The soil is a powder dotted with gray and salmon pebbles. Every footfall raises tiny puffs of dust and leaves a sharp-edged track. The piercing blue sky extends in an unbroken arc; the wind howls and tastes of salt. Everywhere I look is utter desolation, without a trace of any living thing – just stone, sand, and sky. It could be a picture from Spirit, Pathfinder, or Viking. It could be Mars. Indeed, that’s why a couple dozen scientists are now scattered across the hillside.