Simulated off-world, isolated habitats (analogs) have been used by universities and government sponsored space programs for decades as a means of conducting astronaut training, psychological and food studies, and to test equipment and new technologies which will 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 hypothesis, conduct simulated field work, and gain experience living and working in the physical and social confines of an analog.

Every minute of every day is spent in simulation—scientific experiments, exploration of the environment, food preparation, even delayed communication with the outside world is an analog of living on the planet Mars.

On January 18, 2014 a crew of six highly qualified scientists and one documentary filmmaker-technician entered the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the high, winter desert near Hanksville, Utah, for the duration of two weeks.