In the Utah desert, scientists live and work at the Mars Desert Research Station. The terrain’s ferrous-red hue and the harshness of the climate are supposed mimic Mars’s. Each crew carries out experiments ranging from astrobiology and meteorite analysis to 3D-printing and social psychology.
HBO Vice, the network’s award-winning news program, will broadcast a 15-minute report about current planning for a human mission to Mars on Friday, July 1st at 11:00 pm EDT (8:00 pm PDT). The segment will include a visit to the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, which took place last December during the field rotation of Crew 158. The program can be viewed on television, but can also be seen online via HBO GO immediately after the show is aired.
The 2016 University Rover Challenge concluded on Saturday (June 4th) at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah as 28 rovers and more than 300 college students took on the harsh Mars-like terrain of this unique venue. Following two rounds of competition and five different events over a three-day period, the Legendary Rover Team from Rzeszow University of Technology in Poland defended their title from 2015 with another amazing victory.
The podium was rounded out by the second place WSU Everett Engineering Club from Washington State University Everett and third place Continuum team from the University of Wroclaw in Poland. The WSU team’s performance was particularly amazing in light of the fact that this was their first year attending this ambitious contest. This year’s entire field of student participants was extremely well prepared and ready to compete. While the nearly-flawless performance of the Legendary Rover Team separated them from the second place finisher by 82 points, second through ninth place were separated by only a mere 78 points.
The international robotics competition for college students, which is part of the Mars Society’s Rover Challenge Series, featured an elite field of teams vying to build the world’s best student-designed Mars rover. A record 63 teams from 12 countries took part in URC2016. Following a rigorous two-stage down-select process 30 teams were invited to the field competition at MDRS. 28 teams from seven countries (both records for URC) arrived with their rovers ready for the exciting challenges in the Utah desert.
NASA may believe that it’ll be the first to land humans on Mars, but don’t tell that to Las Vegas betting houses. Popular Mechanics has asked Docsports’ Raphael Esparza to set odds for the first organization to put people on Mars, and he believes that SpaceX stands a much better chance of reaching the Red Planet (5 to 1) than anyone else, including NASA (80 to 1). To put it bluntly, SpaceX has the money and the motivation that others don’t — NASA would be the favorite, but its budget cuts are holding it back.
The Mars Society launched today an online crowdfunding campaign – via Indiegogo.com – to help raise $10,000 to rebuild and refurbish the green house used at the organization’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah to carry out food and plant research important for eventual human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet.
The MDRS green house (commonly referred to as the GreenHab) was severely damaged by fire late last year, with MDRS staff determining that the facility was unfit for further use and needed to be completely rebuilt.
Plans to restore the new GreenHab include building a geodesic dome designed to house an assortment of food gardens and science experiments. More efficient, easier to use and healthier for plants, the new structure will ensure that plant and food research remain a key aspect of the overall MDRS simulation program.
A generous donation immediately following the GreenHab fire in December allowed the Mars Society to cover the cost of a temporary grow tent for plant research during the remainder of the 2014-15 field season and also purchase materials to build the new GreenHab dome structure.
Since then, Mars Society staff and volunteers have constructed a small sample geodesic test unit and completed a work trip to MDRS this past weekend to lay the building foundation, with plans to return to the Utah site in September to build the new dome in time for the upcoming crew field season, which begins in mid-October.
Two MIT engineering students just faced off with a private company that wants to send people on a one-way trip to Mars — and one group won by a landslide.
The debate stemmed from the students’ scathing critique of Mars One’s plan to set up a permanent human colony on Mars. That report, published in 2014, triggered widespread criticism of the company’s too-low $6-billion budget, unrealistic timeline, and general lack of preparedness for the challenges of Mars.
On Aug. 13 at the Mars Society Conference, two of the MIT students picked apart Mars One’s plan again — this time in front of CEO Bas Lansdorp and Barry Finger, chief engineer and director of life support systems for Paragon Space Development Corporation.
Would-be Mars explorers believe a Utah dinosaur quarry is proof their extraterrestial quest is worthy.
A dinosaur fossil found 13 years ago in southern Utah has resulted in one of the largest fossil discoveries in history and highlights the importance of sending human explorers into space, according to The Mars Society.
Scott Williams, director of science and exhibits for the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Illinois, said formal excavations in southern Utah started in 2008 after museum staff were directed to the site by geologists with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The site, located about 10 miles northwest of Hanksville, has been called a “bone jackpot.” The fossil site extends for more than a quarter mile, Williams says, and is roughly the size and scope of the Dinosaur National Monument bonebed.
For years, NASA has run experiments replicating the environments of space and alien planets. Rovers and robotics have been tested in the Arizona desert and in the Canadian Arctic. “Human factor” studies in preparation for space-station duties have been carried out in a capsule at the Johnson Space Center and in an underwater lab off Key Largo. These days, the International Space Station provides an analogue for future long-duration missions; the astronaut Scott Kelly, who has just begun the first full year for an American in orbit, is the subject of psychological as well as physical tests. The Hawaii project represents another step for NASA: a test of group dynamics and morale to help design systems that will send a team into deep space.
The Mars crew hadn’t had water, power or fuel for 24 hours. Communication was down, space suits needed to be repaired and life support systems were not functioning. But the beer? The beer was just fine.
Earlier this month a team of scientists and space enthusiasts locked themselves into the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a simulated Red Planet base in Hanksville, Utah. The base is one of four in the world run by the Mars Society, a nonprofit that wants humans to settle on Mars. Thirteen crews of volunteers will rotate through the bases from November 2014 through May 2015, helping advance the science still needed for colonization.
At the remote base in Utah, the seven surrogate astronauts were testing vital space research, such as emergency response procedures, extraplanetary terraforming and ballistic-launched aerial imaging. And, of course, how to brew beer on other planets.
Four crewmembers simulating a mission on Mars dealt with a real-life emergency late last month — a greenhouse fire so strong that flames reached at least 10 feet (3 meters) high.
On Dec. 29, the first day of their mission, the crew noticed an unusual power surge in their habitat at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), in the Utah desert near the small town of Hanksville. A few minutes later, somebody spotted smoke coming from the greenhouse.