The brave men and women living in a (mock) Martian base (in Utah), have met a (mock) brutal and fiery end. After an (actual) greenhouse fire sent flames soaring up 3m into the air, our (mock) astronauts have been laid to rest (in their respective homes as they see fit). Goodbye and godspeed, you magnificent pioneers.
The incident went down at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, where researchers from the Mars Society wear spacesuits, eat rations and shower once every three days in preparation for that great and final frontier. But thing went awry when the (mock) sole fresh food supply burst into (very real) flames, apparently due to a poorly placed electrical space heater. According to Space.com:
Crew commander Nick Orenstein, an experienced camper who has built bonfires in the past, ran outside to take a look. He said he figured the group could take on the fire, because the smoke was blowing away from the habitat, and only one shelf inside the greenhouse was aflame. At that time, the fire was about the size of three overstuffed chairs.
Things eventually got out of hand though, and the greenhouse's entire middle section was destroyed, forcing them to end the simulation, which is a hell of a lot better than dying on a red rock millions of miles from home but still a pretty resounding failure. Rebuilding the greenhouse could cost up to $US40,000, and while no new designs have been made yet, we do have one suggestion for our (mock) space friends: Maybe don't use wood. [Space.com]
Picture: Nick Orenstein