If you’ve ever pretended to be on the Red Planet, you’re not alone. This is Crew 138 of the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a team of scientists who are researching what it would be like to live on Mars by pretending. From Wikipedia:
The crews usually consist of a mix of astronomers, physicists, biologists, geologists, engineers and the occasional journalist. Each crew member is usually assigned a role: Commander, Executive Officer (ExO), Health and Safety Officer (HSO), Crew Biologist, Crew Geologist or Chief Engineer.
In addition to cooking, cleaning, exercise, HAB maintenance, GreenHab gardening, etc, the crew has mission objectives to complete. A final mission report is written from their notes, analysis, and experiences so that future Mars astronauts and explorers can be well prepared. From National Geographic:
On the mission, the international team is working on in-the-field mapping, collecting and analyzing rock samples, measuring the payoff from exercise, and taking blood samples to monitor crew health. The team is working in mock space suits and testing work protocols indoors and outside.
The first days were largely spent learning to live and work in the Habitat, which is a round two-story structure that measures about 25 feet across.
After the crew enters full simulation, the Habitat contains all the food and water we need, as well as work and sleep quarters.
This team was based in the Utah desert, but there have been other “extraterrestrial” sites: Haughton Crater on Devon Island, and next to the Krafla Rift Volcano in Iceland. There’s also one in the works 324 miles (521 km) north of Adelaide, South Australia. For more information about the project, including volunteer requirements, check out desert.marssociety.org, and read more at National Geographic.
In a country with economic constraints and limited resources, the bicycle culture of Havana, Cuba has both flourished for its alternative mode of transportation, and struggled as new bikes and repair parts become more and more scarce. But a handful of resourceful mechanics are still trying to keep all kinds of bikes up and running for those who rely on them daily. From Kauri Multimedia, with subtitles: Havana Bikes.
Astronauts to grow lettuce in space with NASA ‘Veggie’ farm
The mini-farm isn’t just for tasty food — the Veg-01 experiment will test how well lettuce and other large plants grow in orbit.
From the BBC’s Ocean Giants documentary, watch this incredible clip to hear the extraordinary and mysterious song of the Humpback Whale. Why do they sing (or hum)? Does it serve a purpose? Are they making music for pleasure? Are they talking?
If this clip disappears, you can find the entire documentary on Amazon. And in the archives: watch more whale videos, including a surprise diving encounter with a Humpback Whale, this huge baby Sperm Whale, and Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale).
Plastic bottle caps = art.
These caps are nailed to a pole in Ellensburg, Washington, at the folk art site known as Dick and Jane’s Spot. Info about Dick and Jane, and the Spot, a.k.a. their home, can be found here.
See the "plastic" subset of the Unconsumption archive for more plastic-turned-art examples.
(Photo by woodendesigner on Flickr.)
This promotional video for NOMOS Glashütte is delicate, detailed, quiet, and fascinating. Master craftspeople assemble the mechanical timepiece’s gears, hands, and other tiny parts with precision as we Look Over the Watchmakers’ Shoulders.
Recorded early in the morning by London designer Tom Williams, watch these skilled city workers paint letters on the road with only chalk marks and a straight-edge to guide them. File under: practice.
Related city work: Behind the Signs: A Look at the DOT Sign Shop.