Spring 2017

Cover Story

Photo by Dan Wilcox, 2012. In December 2012, Wilcox spent two weeks as a member of a five-person crew that participated in a simulated Mars mission in the high desert near Hanksville, Utah. The site, known as the Mars Desert Research Station, is operated by the non-profit Mars Society, which has hosted more than 180 simulated missions involving over a thousand individuals since 2001. The station includes a small, two-story cylindrical habitat in which the crew lives and works. Crew members wear space suits while outside, use compression airlocks to enter and exit the habitat, monitor their resource usage, and cook with dehydrated food. There is a greenhouse and an observatory, and all-terrain vehicles are used as Mars rovers. Wilcox’s time at the station as a member of Crew 119 formed part of his research for his astronaut rock opera robotcowboy: Onward to Mars.

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