Mars enthusiasts have begun preparations for the third annual Humans to Mars Summit to be held in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 5.

The event attracts hundreds of people from all over the world who gather each year to prepare for their future life on the red planet.

"There's never been so much support for sending humans to Mars," Chris Carberry of Explore Mars Inc. said during an interview.

Carberry is one of the first few people to pitch the possibility of sending people to Mars during the 1990s despite receiving skepticism from congressional staffers. His organization continues to promote the concepts of Mars exploration and supports the implementation of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum in schools.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is now planning to send people to Mars by 2030, with private space companies making significant efforts to reach the red planet first.

Preparing for Life on Mars

To help enthusiasts make the necessary adjustments to life on Mars, a private nonprofit organization called Mars Society established a mock Mars base camp located in Utah's southeastern desert. People sign up for Mars Society's training exercises and stay at a campsite in order to experience a simulation of the Martian environment.

"We're trying to write the book of field tactics for Mars explorers," Robert Zubrin, director of Mars, said. "We do not expect that the people in our crews will be the actual people that go to Mars."

The 14-year-old Mars Society camp features a habitat for would-be Mars colonists. This is a two-story building where participants can live and work during their stay.

Mars explorers receive as close to the actual life on the Red Planet as possible while at the camp, from eating only dried food to wearing a space helmet whenever they have to venture outside.

"Everybody says we should practice before we go to Mars, but some people say we need to practice on the moon," Zubrin said. "Well, you could practice on the moon but you can do it at one-10,000th of the cost in the desert in Utah."

Photo: Kevin Gill | Flickr 

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