Humans and robots already living together on mock-Mars expedition

Credit: Kai Staats

A lot of folks around the globe are hoping to someday plant their feet on Mars. In as remote and inhospitable a locale as humans have ever dared to lay claim, the success of these near-future colonies could largely depend on our preparedness for what lies in wait for us on the Martian surface. Thanks to NASA, we know there's water — and possibly even donuts — on our little red neighbor. It's what we don't know that a group of scientists and robots stationed in the deserts of Nevada are planning for.

At the Mars Desert Research Station, groups comprised of scientists, engineers, doctors, journalists and robots learn to coexist in a two-story mock-up of NASA's planned Mars colony. Robot-led yoga classes help diffuse tempers in this cramped space, where proper teamwork can mean the difference between success and failure, or death on a real Mars mission. Remote, robot-performed surgeries are tested for those possible eventualities of an injury with which the colony's doctor may not be familiar.

Rovers, of course, also bolster the team's numbers as they test out new sensors and 3D-mapping tech. Humanity's picture-perfect Mars colony is still a moving target, but as the image comes into clearer focus you can rest assured that robots will play varied and integral roles in our eventual conquest of the Red Planet. The success of such science couldn't be higher. Not only is the survival of those brave souls who first set foot on Mars, but the far-off possibility of real Martians is at risk. Rather than the little green men of sci-fi past, these Martians will be humans who have evolved to live on the surface of another world, aided by their robot pals.

Via The Conversation

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