Earthlings are really gearing up and preparing for living on the Red Planet by isolating themselves in extreme environments that simulate Mars life.
Remote locations in Hawaii and Utah have replicated research facilities to live as if on Mars. Photographer Cassandra Klos captured daily life at these two stations, and she also shot at the NASA Space Station in Houston. She told National Geographic she wanted "to document how we got to Mars and why we did everything we did, and what it means to actually exist on Mars, on Earth." We are witnessing the pioneer steps that will launch us into the space age and will be grateful one day for visionaries like Klos, who recognized history in the making.
Located 8,200 feet above sea level is the Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation or HI-SEAS for short. A crew of six has set up on the Big Island of Hawaii in a low-impact living space of about 1,200 square feet.
The Mauna Loa side of the island was chosen based on its consistent weather, geological similarities to Mars, and its isolation. The camp is also isolated when it comes to communication, mimicking the 20-minute delay in sending messages back and forth that will exist on Mars.
In the Southern Utah desert, not too far from the otherworldly Goblin Valley State Park, is the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). Composed of six structures, including two observatories, a space age green house, a domed laboratory, and a repair and maintenance modules, MDRS has been growing steadily since its foundation in 2001.
Owned by the Mars Society, MDRS, hosts scientists, engineers, and college students for eight months out of the year, with most "missions" lasting two to three weeks. Over 1,200 volunteers and workers have helped complete 16 seasons of research.
Of course the NASA Space Center in Houston is at the forefront of research for life on Mars. They have the technology and the man-power to make leaps and bounds towards space. It also offers a Mars Exhibitfor visitors to get a taste of that Red Planet life. Guests can touch Martian rocks, watch a virtual sunset on Mars, and learn about all the minutiae of life on our neighboring planet.