The Mars simulation research base in Utah has become a tourist niche. The intruders are ruining months and even years of investigation.
In the middle of the Utah desert, a crew dressed in full astronaut clothing go for a walk as part of their months-long isolation experiment to investigate life in Mars. But the isolation simulation is ruined by the entry of several tourists and flying drones. Mars Desert Research Station MDRS is owned and operated by the Mars Society. It houses eight-month stints for professional scientists, engineers, and students to train and research in extreme isolation.
Simulation is a key part of space exploration. In the simulations for Mars, habitats are generally built in remote locations where the terrains coincide with those of the Red Planet. Crew members sleep, eat, and conduct experiments for long periods of time without having to leave the compound. To get out, they must wear spacesuits sometimes equipped with cameras, microphones, and self-contained breathing systems.
The Director of Mars Desert Research Stations MDRS He said tourists and drones have become a real problem for Mars habitability research. For the past few weeks, the station has been busy posting «No Trespassing“Signs, going up”It is not open to the public”Disclosures on their sites, social media, and even on their Wikipedia page. «On the Internet and in the nearby town of Hanksville, people say that we are open to the public and that the station is accessible to everyone. I’ve spent more time chasing people off the property than welcoming them,”Said MDRS Director Dr. Shannon Rupert. Dr. Rupert added that while some tourists seem confused and disappointed, others have crossed the line to the point of having to call the police.
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Dr. Rupert says the main challenge is social media where «disinformation travels like wildfire.”People have been posting photos of the MDRS with coordinates encouraging others to visit the station. Drone flights are prohibited from flying over private property and illegal entry is illegal, but tourists wonder about the station, look inside buildings, or just sit on the hills outside the airlock waiting for the “astronauts”To take your EVA every day.
The MDRS campus includes six structures. The habitat is where the crew members live and work, and the airlock tunnels connect to the other structures. The station has many rooms, including the Robotic Observatory and the Musk Observatory, a GreenHab where conventional and aquaponic research is conducted, a Science Dome that houses laboratories and solar system controls, and the RAMM, where all-terrain vehicles and engineering research. The station has been in operation since 2001 and more than a thousand researchers have gone through the program.
MDRS says its facility is different from other Mars simulation projects because the geologic features in Utah are similar to those on Mars. Human beings who travel to the Red Planet in the future will experience levels of isolation that no human being has ever experienced. The MDRS focuses its research on the mechanisms to cope with this experience. MDRS urges the public to stay away from the station. Months and even years of work go out the window if the Mars the simulation becomes a tourist attraction.