Boeing and NASA employees recently partnered with academia to conduct early experiments on technologies that could eventually support life on Mars. The group traveled to a corner in southeastern Utah, right outside of Hanksville, Utah, to test out early solutions to potential problems.
“We’re doing some very interesting research,” said Alejandro Diaz, a Boeing senior engineer in Advanced Space Exploration, and the commander of the crew at the Mars Desert Research Station. “Not granted, we can’t simulate the gravity or atmosphere on Mars, but as far as a procedures stand point we do simulate what it might be like to live on Mars.”
This research includes studying how to grow plants in Martian soil, a specialty of Josh Borchardt, an astrobiology graduate student with the University of North Dakota. Kavya Manyapu, a flight-test engineer with Boeing in Houston, also studies how the group works together, and the stress that living in an isolated environment can put on the crew.
“So, you’ve gotta start somewhere, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here,” said Peter Morgan-Dimmick, a NASA flight controller on the International Space Station. “We’re pretty early in the planning stages, so this is just laying the groundwork to see if the concepts are feasible.”
To read more about Boeing’s work in Utah read the story in this month’s Frontiers click here. To view the video, click on the image above.