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March 27, 2013

Simulating Mars on Earth

Scientists in both the United States and Morocco are studying what it would be like for human beings to live on Mars. Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart spent time in the Utah desert at the Mars Desert Research Station observing a crew simulate what conditions would be like on the red planet. Researchers with the Austrian Space Forum in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center spent time in the northern Sahara conducting experiments in engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, and geophysics. -- Lloyd Young ( 27 photos total)

Matt Cross, left, rover engineer, Hans van 't Woud, center, mapping researcher and health and safety officer, and Melissa Battler, geologist and commander of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), wait in an airlock in their simulated spacesuits before venturing out to collect geologic samples in the Utah desert on March 2. The MDRS aims to investigate the feasibility of a human exploration of Mars and uses the Utah desert's Mars-like terrain to simulate working conditions on the red planet. Scientists, students and enthusiasts work together developing field tactics and studying the terrain. All outdoor exploration is done wearing simulated spacesuits and carrying air supply packs and crews live together in a small communication base with limited amounts of electricity, food, oxygen and water. Everything needed to survive must be produced, fixed and replaced on site. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is seen in the Utah desert on March 2. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Members of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission venture out in their simulated spacesuits to collect geologic samples for study at the Mars Desert Research Station. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Melissa Battler, a geologist and commander of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, collects geologic samples for study at the Mars Desert Research Station. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Volker Maiwald, executive officer and habitat engineer of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, walks among the rock formations while collecting geologic samples. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Csilla Orgel, a geologist with Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, collects geologic samples for study at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) outside Hanksville in the Utah desert. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Hans van 't Woud, a mapping researcher and the health and safety officer of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, collects geologic samples for study. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Melissa Battler, a geologist and commander of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, emerges from the Mars Desert Research Station into the Utah desert on March 3. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Members of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission venture out in their simulated spacesuits to collect geologic samples for study at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the Utah desert on March 2. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

The Musk Observatory is seen from the working and living quarters at the Mars Desert Research Station. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Melissa Battler, center, a geologist and commander of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, talks to members of the crew about collecting geologic samples for study. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Members of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission return after collecting geologic samples for study at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the Utah desert on March 2. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Members of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission return after collecting geologic samples to be studied at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) outside Hanksville in the Utah desert on March 2. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Hans van 't Woud, left, a mapping researcher and a health and safety officer, Csilla Orgel, center, a geologist, and Melissa Battler, a geologist and commander of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, plan their excursion to collect geologic samples for study at the Mars Desert Research Station. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Melissa Battler, a geologist and the commander of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, studies collected geologic samples at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) outside Hanksville in the Utah desert on March 2. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Hans van 't Woud, a mapping researcher and the health and safety officer of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, checks on plants grown at the Mars Desert Research Station . (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Matt Cross, an engineer with Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, works on a rover at the Mars Desert Research Station. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

Members of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission prepare a meal at the Mars Desert Research Station. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

A vintage map of Mars hangs on the wall at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) outside Hanksville in the Utah desert on March 2. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

A view of the night sky above the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is seen outside Hanksville in the Utah desert on March 2. The MDRS aims to investigate the possibility of a human exploration of Mars and takes advantage of the Utah desert's Mars-like terrain to simulate working conditions on the red planet. Scientists, students and enthusiasts work together to develop field tactics and study the terrain while wearing simulated spacesuits and carrying air supply packs. They live together in a small communication base with limited space and supplies. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) #

A scientist wearing an Aouda Mars space suit simulator sitting on an ATV in the desert of Morocco in February of this year. During the month, the Austrian Space Forum in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center in Marrakesh conducted an integrated Mars analog field simulation in the northern Sahara near Erfoud, Morocco. Directed by a Mission Support Center in Austria, a small field crew conducted experiments preparing for future human Mars missions mainly in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, geophysics/geology, life sciences and other. (OeWF/Katja Zanella-Kux/handout via Reuters) #

A scientist wearing an Aouda Mars space suit simulator as he stands next to the Hungarian Google Lunar X-Prize Rover Puli in the desert of Morocco. (OeWF/Katja Zanella-Kux/handout via Reuters) #

Mars 2013 camp just after sunset in the desert of Morocco. (OeWF/Katja Zanella-Kux/handout via Reuters) #

Two scientists wearing an Aouda Mars space suit simulator hold a flag in the desert of Morocco in February. (OeWF/Katja Zanella-Kux/handout via Reuters) #

A scientist wearing an Aouda Mars space suit simulator taking samples for the geoscience experiment in the desert of Morocco. (OeWF/Katja Zanella-Kux/handout via Reuters) #

Scientists wearing Aouda Mars space suit simulators while testing the deployable shelter, which was developed by TU Vienna for emergency cases. (OeWF/Katja Zanella-Kux/handout via Reuters) #

A scientist wearing an Aouda Mars space suit simulator as he stands next to the Hunveyor lander, which is also a weather station and collects important weather data for MEDIAN experiment in the desert of Morocco. (OeWF/Katja Zanella-Kux/handout via Reuters) #



 
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