Mars on Earth
We are inundated with information about the cosmos, whether it is the appearance of water on a different planet or landing our man-made satellite on a comet. It is clear we are awed by this celestial imagery we cannot comprehend, and yet this unknown contributes to a need for exploration past our comfortable bounds. The interest of expanding the human race onto the planets around us is not a new concept, but only since the last few decades has the scientific community truly explored the idea that our neighbor planet, Mars, may be more like Earth than we ever considered.
With prototype space suits and diets consisting only of freeze-dried food, people from around the globe are dedicating weeks to months of their lives simulating the Mars environment to further the study of leaving Earth behind. To most of these pioneers, their only wish is to be a small part of the geological, biological, and psychological research that will propel us to the cosmos. Simulation sites such as NASA-funded Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HISEAS) the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), and the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) create a simulated experience that blurs the line between reality and fantasy; a realm where the air is unbreathable, contact with loved ones is limited, and the dependence and cooperation of your crewmembers becomes center focus.