It’s now just over a week until I go to Mars – or more accurately, to the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station. Things are looking up – the Station took delivery of three new Kawasaki ATVs recently, and when I get there, the hab will have been in use for a month, meaning that a lot of the small maintanence problems should have been sorted out. Qiagen have kindly donated fifty DNA isolation minikits for the simulation, and the commander of the simulation will be taking along the equipment that will allow us to do some gel electrophoresis – serious biological research, in other words.
I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would have liked to plan a research project for the simulation, so what I’ll be doing is more likely to build upon current projects. I’m hoping to correlate the abundance of life found with other factors – light intensity, temperature, moisture, altitude – and also extend upon a psychological study we’re doing about stress, by monitoring the weather, sleep patterns and so on. It promises to be a great trip, and I’ll admit that riding around on an ATV in a spacesuit should be no small amount of fun.