Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist: Robert Zubrin


If you read our post on NASA's Mars simulation on Devon Island and felt the urge to follow (space)suit, you're in luck. The Mars Society, led by rocket scientist Robert Zubrin, is launching a four-month sim of its own next May, and it's looking for volunteers.

Six of the crew members will have to stay "in sim" for the duration - meaning that they'll follow the same procedures that a crew on true Mars would have to contend with. They'll have to wear bulky "spacesuit simulators" to venture outside the habitat, and be responsible for all the chores associated with daily life on another planet. A seventh volunteer will serve as a field support manager, taking care of the logistics and toting a shotgun when necessary to fend off polar bears.

While the NASA Haughton-Mars project does important geological work, the Mars Society sim (which is also a long-running program) focuses more on daily-life stuff: How much water would a Mars-dwelling astronaut use in a day?, Is a rover the best kind of transportation on the Martian surface?, and so on. My favorite result to come out of it so far is the discovery that "boredom shouldn't be a problem during future trips to Mars." Ya think?