It’s an odd sight, even out here in the surreal high desert of southern Utah, where biting winds swirl around pimply mounds of dirt and rock, and sandstone bluffs cast creepy shadows. “Astronaut” Bob McNally is crouching on pinkish clay with teammate Louise Wynn, peering through his bubble helmet at the fine, dry soil. “It’d be nice,” says a wistful McNally, “to find microfossils before we go in.” He looks toward a squat white cylinder. It’s the Mars Desert Research Station, a private space camp whose crews simulate something beyond human experience but not outside our imagination – living and working on Mars.
March 17th, 2004