We’re going to Mars. If NASA is not going I’m sure Elon Musk will land on planet four. But even if we have lived two hundred thousand years on Earth we still have a lot to learn before we can move to another planet. Mars is cold, has no air and no radiation shield. The lower gravity will probably also be a problem. Whatever we can simulate here on Earth before we go we need to do. Here are some of the projects doing just that:
The University of Hawai’i is operating the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation habitat. The site on the side of Mauna Loa offers a cool and dry climate with a Mars like geology. This project is sponsored by University of Hawai’i, NASA and Cornell University. Four missions has been completed ranging from four month to a year. Next mission starts January 19.
University of Hawai’i: Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation
NASA Analog Missions: HI-SEAS
HI-SEAS @ Facebook | HI-SEAS @ Twitter | Wikipedia
Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS)
MDRS is operated by the Mars Society and located in the Utah desert. The habitat has a greenhouse and an observatory. Crews have been rotated the habitat since the early 2000s.
Mars Society: Mars Desert Research Station
MDRS @ Facebook | MDRS @ Twitter | Wikipedia
Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS)
The Mars Society’s first habitat, located on Devon Island. The area near the Haughton impact crater is considered one of the best Mars analog sites on Earth.
Mars Society: Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
FMARS @ Facebook | Wikipedia
Haughton-Mars Project (HMP)
Also on Devon Island, not far from FMARS is the Haughton-Mars Project. HMP is operated by the Mars Institute with help from the SETI Institute and NASA.
Project web site: Haughton-Mars Project
Mars Institute | Facebook | Flickr | Twitter | Wikipedia
The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations is a NASA project at the underwater laboratory Aquarius.
NEEMO @ Facebook | Twitter | Wikipedia
Living on white Mars
The distant research station Concordia at the Antarctic has been used to test isolation and cold. The project was documented on a blog at ESA.
ESA: Living on white Mars (PDF)
Wikipedia: Concordia Station
Don’t forget earlier projects like MARS-500 and Biosphere 2.
Wikipedia: MARS-500 | Biosphere 2 | Human analog missions | Mars analog habitats | Mars analogs
Upcoming Mars analogs: PMAS in Poland and the Mars Habitat in Brazil
NASA blogs: Analog missions
New Scientist: Four extreme environments where humans are tasting life on Mars
National Geographics: 8 amazing places you can visit “Mars” on Earth