Diary from Mars

Recreate the conditions of the red planet. It was the aim of the “Mock Mars Mission” that 4 to 19 January saw a team of 8 people simulates life on Mars. The story of Elizabeth Howell, the only journalist in the group.



This full-circle scene combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

Dear Diary, today during the first walk on Mars,  my nose was dripping. Instinctively, I brought my hand to my face , but I bumped into the helmet of my spacesuit .

Maybe not the first thing we would have thought, but to walk in space may mean that too. So how to cook without dressing, sleeping uncomfortable, not being able to change clothes : they are the funny stories of Elizabeth Howell, a journalist, a PhD student in astronomy astronaut. At least pretend to. On 4 January, me and 7 other researchers at the University of North Dakota have left for a two-week mission in the desert of Utah, in the western region of the Rocky Mountains . Therein lies the Mars Desert Research Station, the research station managed by the International non-profit Mars Society , which recreates the conditions of the red planet . Each year, teams of researchers stationed there to experiment and simulate the exploration of Mars.

Only this time the mission was followed practically in real time, and to guide scientific joined an exciting tale of life on Mars. Howell, the only non- scientist of the group, made ​​up for the difficulties she encountered (like the others, had to conduct experiments in the desert) and with deft pen has written a true diary from Mars, published day by day on .

The name of the report (and the mission) speaks for itself: “Mock Mars Mission”. A trip to fake Mars, almost fun. Yet, the objectives were very serious: to explore the possibility of survival on the red planet, to understand how to maintain connections with our planet, even simulate a surgical operation under conditions of gravity of Mars.


The research group, code-named Crew 133 is “back on Earth” on January 19. The day before she was already preparing the next group, which is currently in the Utah desert to carry out the experiments. But it is unlikely other simulated missions will be told with the same passion from the diary from Mars Elizabeth Howell.

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