Expert Voices

Take a Mock Mission to 'Mars' with MarsCrew134 (Video)

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Kai Staats, documentary filmmaker and member of the MarsCrew134 team, contributed this article to's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

For decades, universities and government-sponsored space programs have used simulated, off-world, isolated habitats (analogs for off-planet destinations) as a means of conducting astronaut training, psychological and food studies, and to test equipment and new technologies to be used in real space programs.

Since 2001 the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) has hosted researchers, scientists and engineers who work to test hypotheses, conduct simulated field work, and gain experience living and working in the physical and social confines of an analog.

On Jan. 18, 2014, a crew of six highly qualified scientists and engineers, along with myself as a technician/documentary-filmmaker, entered the MDRS in the high, winter desert near Hanksville, Utah, for the duration of two weeks. [Coolest Mock Space Missions of All Time]

This video is the first of seven exclusive interviews for, produced entirely on-site by the 134th crew to enter MDRS. We will learn about the research each of the crew members brought into this simulation, and how they have found the experience of eating, working, sleeping, and living together with limited resources in a relatively confined space.

First up is Ashley Dale, Commander of MarsCrew134.

To learn more about MarsCrew134, visit

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on