Expert Voices

Lichen, Pizza and Mars Crew 149 (Gallery)

Utah desert - mdrs research
The Utah desert is an analog for several elements of the marian environment. (Image credit: Kellie Gerardi)

Mars Desert Research Station Crew 149 member Kellie Gerardi contributed this article to's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Mars Desert Research Station Crew 149 has just embarked on their Utah excursion, simulating life on Mars. These are images from their early adventures. Read more in Kellie Gerardi's feature "Mars on Earth? What Life Is Like on the 'Red Planet’" and see a gallery from her experiences here.

A team effort

From left to right, MDRS Crew 149 members Kellie Gerardi, Pamela Nicoletatos and Ann-Sofie Schreurs. 

The first step

The door to the MDRS 149 habitation module.

The uniform

MDRS Crew 149 member Kellie Gerardi tries on her EVA suit.

 The ride

An MDRS 149 "astronaut" takes an extended EVA with a crew rover. 

The job

Plants under study in the MDRS 149 laboratory.

The place

The Utah desert is an analog for several elements of the martian environment.

The likeness

On an EVA in the red, dusty desert of Utah, it's easy to see how one can feel transported to Mars.

The crew

The Mars Desert Research Station 149 crew.

The focus

The MDRS 149 research will focus on lichen, as it could potentially serve as a protective, living environment for oxygen-producing cyanobacteria transported to Mars.

The life

How to make pizza on Mars, with Dr. Elena Miscodan.

Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on FacebookTwitter and Google+. 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 Live Science. Staff is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. We transport our visitors across the solar system and beyond through accessible, comprehensive coverage of the latest news and discoveries. For us, exploring space is as much about the journey as it is the destination.