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Mars Desert Research Station Simulates Mars Base

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the simulate-having-internet-access dept.

Mars 122

An anonymous reader writes "Placing humans on Mars will be an extraordinary feat in itself, not to mention even living in such a harsh environment. To help train future astronauts to sustain life on Mars, the Mars Society has created the Mars Desert Research Station. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is one of four planned simulated Mars habitats (or Mars Analogue Research Station Programme) maintained by the Mars Society. Crews sign up for two week shifts during the winter months (it's too hot in the summer for pleasant simulation). Crews are not paid during their time at the station, but do get valuable experience."

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More importantly... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516163)

But where are the simulated martians?

Re:More importantly... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516193)

In the process of being evicted from their Pennsylvania Avenue home in D.C., presently, I believe.

Obama's Inaugural Address (-1, Troll)

retyurecvb (1442035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516463)

If dere iz anyone out dere who still doubts dat America iz uh place where all things iz possible, who still wonders if da dream o' our founders iz alive in our tyme, who still questions da power o' our democracy, tonight iz yo' answer.

It'sda answer told by lines dat stretched around schools an' churches in numbers dis here nation has never seen, by peeps who waited three hours an' four hours, many fo' da first tyme in they lives, cuz dey believed dat dis here tyme mus' be different, dat they voices could be dat difference.

It'sda answer spoken by young an' old, rich an' poor, Democrat an' Republican, black, whitey, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, salad tosser, straight, disabled an' not disabled. Americans who sent uh message ta da world dat we's gots never been just uh collection o' individuals or uh collection o' red states an' blue states.

We iz, an' always will be, da United States o' America.

It'sda answer dat led those who've been told fo' so long by so many ta be cynical an' fearful an' doubtful about what we's can achieve ta put they hands on da arc o' history an' bend it once mo' toward da hope o' uh bettah day. Video Watch Obama'sspeech in its entirety

It'sbeen uh long tyme coming, but tonight, cuz o' what we's did on dis here date in dis here election at dis here defining moment change has come ta America.

A little bit earlier dis here evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious page from Sen. McCain. Sen. McCain fought long an' hard in dis here campaign. And he'sfought even longer an' harder fo' da country dat he loves. He has endured sacrifices fo' America dat most o' us cannot begin ta imagine. We iz bettah off fo' da service rendered by dis here brave an' selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin fo' all dat they've achieved. And I peep forward ta working wiff dem ta renew dis here nation'spromise in da months ahead.

I wants ta thank muh ma fuckin partner in dis here journey, uh nig who campaigned from his heart, an' spoke fo' da men an' biAtchez he grew up wiff on da streets o' Scranton an' rode wiff on da train home ta Delaware, da vice president-elect o' da United States, Joe mufuggin' Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without da unyielding support o' muh ma fuckin baddest nigga fo' da last 16 years da rock o' our family, da love o' muh ma fuckin life, da nation'snext first beotch Michelle Obama.

Sasha an' Malia I love ya both mo' than ya can imagine. And ya gots earned da new puppy dat'scoming wiff us ta da new White House.

And while she'snahh longer wiff us, I know muh ma fuckin grandmother'swatching, along wiff da family dat made me who I be. I miss dem tonight. I know dat muh ma fuckin debt ta dem iz beyond measure.

To muh ma fuckin sister Maya, muh ma fuckin sister Alma, all muh ma fuckin other brothers an' sisters, thank ya so much fo' all da support dat you've given me. I be grateful ta dem.

And ta muh ma fuckin campaign manager, David Plouffe, da unsung hero o' dis here campaign, who built da baddest -- da baddest political campaign, I th'o't, in da history o' da United States o' America.

To muh ma fuckin chief strategist David Axelrod who'sbeen uh partner wiff me every step o' da way.

To da baddest campaign team ever assembled in da history o' politics ya made dis here happen, an' I be forever grateful fo' what you've sacrificed ta git it done.

But above all, I will never forget who dis here victory truly belongs ta. It belongs ta ya. It belongs ta ya.

I wuz never da likeliest candidate fo' dis here office. We didn't start wiff much money or many endorsements. Our campaign wuz not hatched in da halls o' Washington. It began in da backyards o' Des Moines an' da living rooms o' Concord an' da front porches o' Charleston. It wuz built by working men an' biAtchez who dug into what little savings dey had ta give $5 an' $10 an' $20 ta da cause.

It grew strength from da young peeps who rejected da myth o' they generation'sapathy who left they homes an' they families fo' jobs dat offered little pay an' less sleep.

It drew strength from da not-so-young peeps who braved da bitter cold an' scorching heat ta knock on doors o' perfect strangers, an' from da millions o' Americans who volunteered an' organized an' proved dat mo' than two centuries later uh da system o' da peeps, by da peeps, an' fo' da peeps has not perished from da Earth.

Dis iz yo' victory.

And I know ya didn't do dis here just ta win an election. And I know ya didn't do it fo' me.

You did it cuz ya dig' da enormity o' da task dat lies ahead. For even as we's celebrate tonight, we's know da challenges dat tomorrow will bring iz da greatest o' our lifetime -- two wars, uh planet in peril, da worst financial crisis in uh century.

Even as we's stand here tonight, we's know dere iz brave Americans waking up in da deserts o' Iraq an' da mountains o' Afghanistan ta risk they lives fo' us.

There iz mothers an' fathers who will lie awake afta da chil'ns fall asleep an' wonder how they'll make da mortgage or pay they doctors' bills or save enough fo' they child'scollege education.

There'snew energy ta harness, new jobs ta be created, new schools ta build, an' threats ta meet, alliances ta repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not git dere in one year or even in one term. But, America, I gots never been mo' hopeful than I be tonight dat we's will git dere.

I promise ya, we's as uh peeps will git dere.

There will be setbacks an' false starts. There iz many who won't agree wiff every decision or policy I make as prezident. And we's know da da system can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest wiff ya about da challenges we's face. I will listen ta ya, especially when we's disagree. And, above all, I will ax ya ta join in da werk o' remaking dis here nation, da only way it'sbeen done in America fo' 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in da depths o' winter cannot end on dis here autumn night.

This victory alone iz not da change we's seek. It iz only da chance fo' us ta make dat change. And dat cannot happen if we's jet back ta da way things wuz.

It can't happen without ya, without uh new spirit o' service, uh new spirit o' sacrifice.

So let us summon uh new spirit o' patriotism, o' responsibility, where each o' us resolves ta pitch in an' werk harder an' peep afta not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember dat, if dis here financial crisis taught us anyfin', it'sdat we's cannot gots uh thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In dis here country, we's rise or fall as one nation, as one peeps. Let'sresist da temptation ta fall back on da same partisanship an' pettiness an' immaturity dat has poisoned our politics fo' so long.

Let'sremember dat it wuz uh nig from dis here state who first carried da banner o' da Republican Party ta da White House, uh party founded on da values o' self-reliance an' individual liberty an' national unity.

Those iz values dat we's all share. And while da Democratic Party has won uh great victory tonight, we's do so wiff uh measure o' humility an' determination ta heal da divides dat gots held back our progress.

As Lincoln said ta uh nation far mo' divided than ours, we's iz not enemies but niggas. Though passion may gots strained, it mus' not break our bonds o' affection.

And ta those Americans whose support I gots yet ta earn, I may not gots won yo' vote tonight, but I hear yo' voices. I need yo' he`p. And I will be yo' prezident, too.

And ta all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments an' palaces, ta those who iz huddled around radios in da forgotten corners o' da world, our stories iz singular, but our destiny iz shared, an' uh new dawn o' American leadership iz at hand.

To those -- ta those who would tear da world down: We will defeat ya. To those who seek peace an' security: We support ya. And ta all those who gots wondered if America'sbeacon still burns as bright: Tonight we's proved once mo' dat da true strength o' our nation comes not from da might o' our arms or da scale o' our wealth, but from da enduring power o' our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity an' unyielding hope.

That'sda true genius o' America: dat America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope fo' what we's can an' mus' achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts an' many stories dat will be told fo' generations. But one dat'son muh ma fuckin mind tonight'sabout uh biotch who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She'suh lot like da millions o' others who stood in line ta make they voice heard in dis here election except fo' one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper iz 106 years old.

She wuz born just uh generation past slavery; uh tyme when dere wuz nahh cars on da road or planes in da sky; when someone like her couldn't vote fo' two reasons -- cuz she wuz uh biotch an' cuz o' da color o' her skin.

And tonight, I th'o't about all dat she'sseen throughout her century in America -- da heartache an' da hope; da struggle an' da progress; da times we's wuz told dat we's can't, an' da peeps who pressed on wiff dat American creed: Yes we's can.

At uh tyme when biAtchez'svoices wuz silenced an' they hopes dismissed, she lived ta see dem stand up an' speak out an' reach fo' da ballot. Yes we's can.

When dere wuz despair in da dust bowl an' depression across da land, she seen uh nation conquer fear itself wiff uh New Deal, new jobs, uh new sense o' common purpose. Yes we's can.

When da baddests fell on our harbor an' tyranny threatened da world, she wuz dere ta witness uh generation rise ta greatness an' uh democracy wuz saved. Yes we's can.

She wuz dere fo' da buses in Montgomery, da hoses in Birmingham, uh bridge in Selma, an' uh preacher from Atlanta who told uh peeps dat "We Shall Overcome." Yes we's can.

A nig touched down on da moon, uh wall came down in Berlin, uh world wuz connected by our own science an' imagination.

And dis here year, in dis here election, she touched her finger ta uh screen, an' cast her vote, cuz afta 106 years in America, through da baddest o' times an' da darkest o' hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we's can.

America, we's gots come so far. We gots seen so much. But dere iz so much mo' ta do. So tonight, let us ax ourselves -- if our chil'ns should live ta see da next century; if muh ma fuckin daughters should be so lucky ta live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will dey see? What progress will we's gots made?

This iz our chance ta answer dat page. This iz our moment.
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This iz our tyme, ta put our peeps back ta werk an' open doors o' opportunity fo' our kids; ta restore prosperity an' promote da cause o' peace; ta reclaim da American dream an' reaffirm dat fundamental truth, dat, out o' many, we's iz one; dat while we's breathe, we's hope. And where we's iz met wiff cynicism an' doubts an' those who tell us dat we's can't, we's will respond wiff dat timeless creed dat sums up da spirit o' uh people: Yes, we's can.

Thank ya. God bless ya. And may God bless da United States o' America. an dat boil on mah ass.

Re:Obama's Inaugural Address (-1, Troll)

retyurecvb (1442035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516501)

Oh, and I suck cocks too.

15 minutes (4, Funny)

dwarg (1352059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517611)

I just wasted about 15 minutes of my life looking over this thread and I have to say I'm fascinated.

> Moderately funny comment

>> Strange non sequitur attempt at political humor

>>> Openly racist, long-winded slur

>>>> Stupid attempt at humor after making said slur

>>>>> Masturbatory over-analysis of thread

This analysis was made after looking through the racist poster's previous comments to see that he isn't a perennial troll, but has made several Insightful and Informative posts recently.

What does it all mean? Why did I bother posting this? Shouldn't I get some work done?

Oh the humanity!

Re:15 minutes (3, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517629)

Welcome to Slashdot.

Re:15 minutes (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26521375)

You must be new here :)

Not if you're trying to turn them into shoes... (2, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516165)

"lacing humans on Mars will be an extraordinary feat in itself"

Re:Not if you're trying to turn them into shoes... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26518057)

sounds like something out of a Mel Brooks movie...I can see it now "Space Balls II: Finding my Shwartz"

Re:Not if you're trying to turn them into shoes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26519071)

No, no, the Great Yogurt already spilled the beans and said it would be Spaceballs II: The Sequel!

Re:Not if you're trying to turn them into shoes... (1)

spartacus_prime (861925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519375)

I believe it was "Spaceballs II: The Search for More Money!" Or Quest. It's been a while.

Wait another 4 years (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516173)

Obama has already made space exploration a back burner issue, so it's a nice idea but realistically we won't be seeing a mission to put a man on Mars anytime in the next 4 years. Maybe it would be better to vote in a guy who wasn't so hostile towards pure research next time.

Re:Wait another 4 years (5, Insightful)

Elisanre (1108341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516233)

as opposed to Bush who was a pure mercenate of pure science?

Re:Wait another 4 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26522623)

"as opposed to Bush who was a pure mercenate of pure science?"

mercenate? what does this word mean?

closest I come is an irregular Italian usage of mercenario.

enlighten?

Re:Wait another 4 years (5, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516347)

> we won't be seeing a mission to put a man on Mars anytime in the next 4 years.

We wouldn't be anyway. I'm not a big Obama fan, but the idea of sending humans to Mars within eight years, let alone four, is not realistic at this point. We have a ways to go before we're ready for that.

Among other things, a desert simulation doesn't really do a good job of simulating the lack of any significant amount of atmosphere on Mars. That's a pretty big deal. An orbiting space station is a much better simulation, despite the lack of much gravity.

But the real kicker is the whole "You're pretty much on your own for at least two years, longer if the next mission gets canned" thing. The closest we come to that now is the south pole base which is *difficult* (not impossible) to get supplies to in the winter. In a pinch we make overflights and drop packages in. It takes a couple of weeks to make it happen, due to the weather issues, but a couple of weeks is *not* the same thing as a couple of years.

And the south pole base takes advantage of the fact that it's *very* accessible in the summer, by building up supplies over the course of many trips over several months, to get enough stuff brought in to be prepared for the winter. A mars mission won't have that option. The team would only have what they bring with them.

These are not unsolvable problems, but they are problems that will require significant work to solve, and that can't be done overnight. Frankly, twenty years would be an optimistic timeframe. Four years is right out, even if funding were no problem at all.

Re:Wait another 20 years (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516513)

A desert sim might be good in tandem with Antartica.

I totally agree with the deep logistics problem of "You're stuck here past day 30" when the glamor shots for the press die down.

Antartica would be nightside, Desert would be Dayside and can help test heat specs and sand tolerances.

Re:Wait another 20 years (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517231)

Mars has a 24ish hour day like Earth (24h39m35s), so there is no dayside and nightside on Mars any more than there is on Earth. Temperatures during the day on Mars can get as high as 0C, and at night they can get as cold as -100C. The best places to simulate Mars would be a high mountaintop, like Everest, or K2.

Re:Wait another 20 years (2, Informative)

jae471 (1102461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517391)

Arctic simulation isn't that far off. Any martian base would need to be near a water supply, which are most accessible at the poles. Only problem is on Mars, Arctic Winter is 11 months instead of 6.

Re:Wait another 20 years (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517551)

Arctic simulation isn't that far off. Any martian base would need to be near a water supply, which are most accessible at the poles. Only problem is on Mars, Arctic Winter is 11 months instead of 6.

Good points. The thing about a mountaintop location is that you get year-round, continuous cold and a thin atmosphere. (Not as thin as Mars, mind you, but possibly thin enough to work with.)

Re:Wait another 20 years (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518505)

The thing about a mountaintop location is that you get year-round, continuous cold and a thin atmosphere.

And wind, lots of wind - how windy is Mars?

Re:Wait another 20 years (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519569)

Wind speeds on Mars are much higher than on Earth due to the very low atmospheric pressure. Speeds of up to 400 km/h can be triggered by the polar 'melt' (sublimation of CO2) during the summer.

Re:Wait another 20 years (2, Informative)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518939)

Of course there is. Even on earth we have a day side and a night side. Neither is permanently in the same place, just the same as on mars. Otherwise it wouldn't be day or night would it ?

You can simulate the night side or winter of mars by going to antarctica, and the day side or summer by going to an earth desert in winter, maybe peru or the steppes of Russia. Nobody said you have to do them both twice a day !
Plus the maximum temp. on mars is around 20C not 0C, and the minimums can reach -140C.

Re:Wait another 20 years (2, Interesting)

Froboz23 (690392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519597)

I think the best way to simulate living on Mars would be to build an underground installation. Go to a cold barren climate like the Alaskan tundra or North Dakota, then excavate a cavern about 100 meters in diameter and 50 meters deep that is entirely subterranean. You could then accurately simulate many aspects of the environment as follows.

Atmosphere: Reinforce the walls of the cavern so you can pump all the air out, then fill the cavern with an atmosphere containing the same density and composition as Mars. The astronauts' habitats would be constructed inside this environment, and they would have to wear actual functioning spacesuits to work in the environment.

Temperature: Use compressors and heaters to create temperature variations to simulate Martian days and nights.

Soil: Create an artificial soil several meters deep similar to what has been found on Mars, in terms of chemical composition, pH, density, etc.

Light: Use artificial lighting to simulate Martian days and nights, using the same low luminosity and the 24.6 hour day.

Combining all these factors, you could potentially create a simulation very similar to Mars except for the lower gravity. A project like this would require billions of dollars in funding, but if you're serious about testing a Mars habitat, or even a lunar habitat, this seems like the way to go.

Re:Wait another 4 years (1)

Pravetz-82 (1259458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516581)

> A mars mission won't have that option. The team would only have what they bring with them.

Imagine the team arriving at Mars only to realize they forgot the keys for their shiny new station!

Re:Wait another 4 years (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516691)

They could also have anything that was sent ahead of them. Maybe three duplicate loads targeted together so that one of them would be within walking distance of the manned module. The rovers have shown that those NASA people can target pretty well these days. You just need a tight shotgun pattern, + - three miles.

Re:Wait another 4 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516815)

These are not unsolvable problems, but they are problems that will require significant work to solve, and that can't be done overnight. Frankly, twenty years would be an optimistic timeframe. Four years is right out, even if funding were no problem at all.

I've ridden my bicycle from Tampa to Orlando a few times. Even though I've never ridden a motorcycle, I think I'm ready to hop on a Harley and ride to Amsterdam. I don't understand why people keep telling me I'm not ready to do it.....

Re:Wait another 4 years (5, Insightful)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518287)

The biggest problem to me is: how are they going to get off the rock?

In order to get them off they will need to ship a man rated rocket, and its launch facilities, down to the planets surface, assemble it, pray one slight flaw from operating in a completely alien environment without prior testing doesn't blow it up. As I recall, rocket science on earth isn't without it's mistakes, even with back up parts, high tech facilities, and maintenance crews. And they are going to do that on the martian surface?

Re:Wait another 4 years (2, Insightful)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519143)

Some people have the will and the skill to explore. Even more are willing to die for the chance. Don't worry, there will be plenty of volunteers.

Re:Wait another 4 years (3, Insightful)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519153)

Really ?

I'm left wondering how they managed to get those astronauts off the moons surface. No construction, no launch facilities, no assembly needed.

If we are to establish a base on Mars, then crew changes will be necessary I presume. Leave the "command module" in orbit and use a lander. One crew gets out, another gets in. It's not rocket sci...
hang on, maybe it is, but it has been done before.

I get tired of the whining about small issues regarding Mars habitation. Nothing is that big an issue if we are prepared to give it an honest go. Even the long periods in space to get there aren't that bad. How long did it take to sail around the globe the first few time ? Nearly 3 years. Ok, they stopped here and there, but not for that long. The scientific challenge is to get the travellers there without being nuked by the cosmic rays, but if we build a ship in space then the heavy shielding can be done little by little, which will keep the costs down.

Re:Wait another 4 years (2, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26520003)

I'm left wondering how they managed to get those astronauts off the moons surface. No construction, no launch facilities, no assembly needed.

Uh, the moon's gravity is significantly lower than that of Mars. The moon also lacks an atmosphere - the lunar landar had skin the thickness of aluminum foil at points which made it very light (it would have disintegrated if you tried to launch it from earth). The lack of atmosphere meant zero drag, and they could basically boost above the craters and immediately accellerate into an orbit. On a planet with an atmosphere you need to expend quite a bit of fuel just getting your ship above the bulk of the atmosphere before accellerating into orbit. The command module could also hang out very close to the lunar surface - in theory it could have been in orbit a few hundred feet off the ground as long as it cleared the craters. A Mars orbiter needs to be dozens of miles up at least.

While Mars is easier to launch from than Earth in terms of mass and atmosphere, it isn't nearly as easy as the moon. The atmosphere does make it easier to land on, however (you don't need to use fuel to completely decellerate like you do on the moon).

Now, you could park the return ship in orbit so that you only need to shuttle the crew itself up to Martian orbit. That would keep the size of the shuttle to a minimum (the only payload is the crew and any samples brought home - conceivably the samples could be taken in a different craft if they were heavy enough to warrant it). However, the rocket taking off from Mars is going to look a lot more like a Mercury capsule than the LEM.

Re:Wait another 4 years (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518659)

Among other things, a desert simulation doesn't really do a good job of simulating the lack of any significant amount of atmosphere on Mars. That's a pretty big deal. An orbiting space station is a much better simulation, despite the lack of much gravity.

An orbiting station is important, but reasons other than you think... Any Mars mission will spend the bulk of it's time in transit, and the systems need to be proved in their operational environment - in space, in zero-G. Thus an orbiting station is extremely valuable for that purpose. The thermal environment will be a bit different, but we've had enough probes in solar and Martian orbits that once you proven the basic systems and components designing the actual system is fairly straightforward.
 
 

But the real kicker is the whole "You're pretty much on your own for at least two years, longer if the next mission gets canned" thing. The closest we come to that now is the south pole base which is *difficult* (not impossible) to get supplies to in the winter. In a pinch we make overflights and drop packages in. It takes a couple of weeks to make it happen, due to the weather issues, but a couple of weeks is *not* the same thing as a couple of years.

You're setting an unreasonably high goal. There is no need for a full dry run of two years unsupplied - something almost certainly bound to fail the first few tries.
 
You do need to operate the equipment for a period of years, but sending supplies doesn't harm anything. In fact, sending supplies is a good thing because it tells you where your logistics calculations were off. So you send a few supplies (mostly repair parts as food and water consumption is easily calculated in advance), update your logistics information, and continue the mission simulation. Constantly starting and stopping the simulation is hard on the equipment, hard on the personnel, and makes things overall much harder for essentially zero return. (I've done simulations like this on a smaller scale in the Navy - sitting next to the pier and pretending we were underway.)

Re:Wait another 4 years (2, Interesting)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26522387)

Obama has already made space exploration a back burner issue

I don't think that's a bad thing. The whole "humans to mars" thing is very optimistic once you realize everything involved. In my opinion, it's just a way for contractor to receive a lot of money without the need for deliverables, because it won't get launched. I still have a book from when I was a kid preaching the same fantasies about the ISS, together with pictures that are simply ludicrous when you compare it to what's being built. Now, we are hurrying to get it finished in time so it can be dumped in the pacific ocean.

When you look at the computer science revolution, and the amount of remote sensing that's being made possible, the idea that humans need to be there is foolish; sure, a scientist could work faster in situ, but when you look at the price tag, it should be enough to send a hundred of mars science laboratories there, each working for years and years. But somehow, we are being sold a mission to send a scientist to mars for a few weeks (I'm sure the rest would be military and then I'm being optimistic). Unless you really think they would choose to miss the launch window back and stay there for two years. Where is the scientific profit?

To make my point, I would suggest they start planning a sample return mission, and once they get some martian soil back on earth, maybe we could reopen the discussion. Untill then, I will keep repeating it is a ripoff scheme, spun by some big companies who smell easy money.

3D mockups of the mars base facilities (2, Informative)

screenbert (253482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516209)

"Explore Mars now" has a great 3D mockup of all the Bunks, Galleys, wardrooms and other parts that would make up a Mars base. http://www.exploremarsnow.org/ [exploremarsnow.org]

I look forward to this moving to completion so I can juggle on Mars too. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvp8m8CqIDc [youtube.com]

Chuck Norris was the first one to Mars, that's why there are no signs of life.

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516323)

I'd have more faith in the competence of a Mars project that didn't need to use two Flash applets to get the effect of 20 lines of CSS.

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516331)

The Basic Unified Crew Compartment (BUnCC) reminds me of a big cubical-type enclosed bookshelf. Or something in Tokyo maybe.

Looks a bit cramped, but then with space being at a premium it's understandable why it's designed this way.

But can you imagine spending two weeks sleeping in one of these things? Now you have to imagine that a manned mission to mars will have people being cramped in a spacecraft MONTHS before they get there and I'd imagine they'd be spending far longer than two weeks given the cost of a manned mission to mars. (If it ever happens)

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

Cally (10873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517049)

If this was an attempt to really simulate a Mars mission, there'd be no humans in it, only robots. Humans will never land on Mars. Consider that even a 1 kg sample return mission requires massive investment in engineering and technology that just doesn't exist today.

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26518465)

Humans will never land on Mars.

The technology doesn't exist today, but never? There's no need to go all hyperbole on us.

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26521499)

Be warned, those sorts of statements tend to get publicized alongside such others as "there will only be a world market for about 6 computers", "heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible", and "640k ought to be enough for anyone".

It's always impossible. Until someone does it.

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (2, Insightful)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518341)

Why? simply answer why? there is nothing there, there will be no long term benefit to humanity. The costs to great. Why does mares get so much attention when an average near earth object has more high quality metal ore than human society has produced in the last 10 years? Space was a fun romp, but the only reason anyone will go back is for money, which mars lacks.

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518593)

I think it's for the same reason why populations migrate or go to war: resources. It feels like we can't sustain ourselves here, so let's go somewhere else.
Sure, some people travel just for the fun of it but the end result is the same: people travel (in fact, it's a good survival strategy to have people travel "for fun" in case some unexpected catastrophe strike the remainder of the population)

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519257)

Nobody's forcing you to go, so STFU whining.
It's obvious money is the only thing on your mind, so stay here and spend it on shit. And when the population hits 15 billion, and you are starving and constantly at war, you can look up to the skys and wonder how the others are getting on.

I've never met a bigger bunch of whiney kids !

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26520585)

you are starving and constantly at war, you can look up to the skys and wonder how the others are getting on.

If people down here at the bottom of our gravity well are fighting over food, I would suspect that the people up there would be starving, too. Last I checked, there wasn't much to the agriculture industry on Mars. Stuff won't grow on the moon, either. Scientist are still trying to figure out why. Until they get it all straightened out, everyone in space will be reliant on Earth grown food for sustenance.

Re:3D mockups of the mars base facilities (1)

Paul server guy (1128251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26522089)

Three words, Off Site Backup!

It's fairly easily colonization. More so than anywhere else but earth.

nevermind (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516299)

Nevermind that we're still learning the basics of the chemical composition and the true environment of Mars, we have a group of people who think they can accurately recreate it. While their goals are noble, it looks like it's more a society of "enthusiasts" rather than people who actually have a real knowledge and understanding of what's involved (though there are some of them working on the project).

DOOM 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516343)

Finally!!!

Experience (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516345)

"Crews are not paid during their time at the station, but do get valuable experience." I hope they will at least give them head scarves to protect from the sand storms [news.com.au]
Wait, they haven't planted any corn on Mars yet...

Is food provided? (1)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516357)

Two weeks of vacation rent free!

Re:Is food provided? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517839)

Two weeks of vacation rent free!

Vacation.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Exactly the same (3, Interesting)

thered2001 (1257950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516381)

Except you can breath the outside atmosphere, the gravity is Earth-normal, and emergency help is much closer. Otherwise, a great simulation of life on Mars. (An Antarctic simulation lab would be a bit closer to the mark.)

how about a submarine then? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516487)

can't breathe the outside atmosphere, gravity is normal but pressure is not, and emergency help is generally not an option if something goes wrong.

Subs can do fine for months on end autonomously, why wouldn't those habitation systems be a decent blueprint for a mars bio-dome? (probably don't need nuclear propulsion or torpedos. but who knows)

Re:how about a submarine then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516603)

You mean like one of these:

http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Moray_'Starboat'

Re:how about a submarine then? (3, Interesting)

Kugala (1083127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516681)

Weight. One of the largest issues getting anything into even orbit, much less Mars, is weight.

A Delta IV Heavy rocket could get about 14 tons to high orbit. A Virginia class submarine weighs about 8,000 tons. This would take around 570 launches to lift.

Even considering you don't need half the features, there's probably more you do need, so the final product might wind up weighing more.

Re:how about a submarine then? (1)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518145)

I can't believe I just read a post advocating putting a submarine into orbit.

Oh, yeah, this is slashdot...

Re:how about a submarine then? (1)

Punko (784684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518867)

I believe the parent was suggesting a submarine as the best place to simulate a Mars base, as opposed of using a submarine as a Mars base.

Re:how about a submarine then? (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516783)

Nuclear subs can generate fresh water (desalination) and oxygen (electrolysis) pretty much at-will. Spacecraft will need recycling systems, for one thing.

Re:how about a submarine then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26518169)

lose = !win
loose = !tight

lose = !win || misplace
loose = !tight || detach

Re:Exactly the same (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516491)

Agreed. A wintertime Antarctic base with an average temperature of -63C except around their knees where it can get up to 15C, located in a warehouse that has a partial vacuum atmosphere and is flooded with UV and high levels of radiation.

People are not going to Mars. Not now, not ever.

The money would be better spent on lightweight low cost probes.

RS

Re:Exactly the same (1)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519331)

...flooded with UV and high levels of radiation.

That could be solved by digging base into thick layers of rock.

Re:Exactly the same (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516799)

You're a couple of years behind the times, they've have a simulation in the Arctic going for years now -the Flashline Arctic Research Station [marssociety.org]

Re:Exactly the same (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518019)

I think you're dismissing the radiation and UV problems a little too hastily. The most hardy Noweigian whaler wouldn't last 3 minutes on Mars.

Re:Exactly the same (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518819)

Which is why we wouldn't send a Norwegian whaler to Mars. Duh.

Re:Exactly the same (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517037)

you can breath the outside atmosphere, the gravity is Earth-normal, and emergency help is much closer. Otherwise, a great simulation of life on Mars.

As long as it looks like Mars on a carefully composed cmera shot, that's all that matters.

It's just like the moon "landings", everybody knows they were fa
@##$
$%!>!
no carrier

Can we sign up CowboyNeil (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516475)

Can we sign up CowboyNeil?

Yuo fail 1t! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26516537)

Participant Point of View (3, Interesting)

realperseus (594176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516601)

My daughter had the privledge of participating in the MDRS back in the Fall of 2006. She described it as "Fun and awesome!" Their mission was to refit the "Hab" as best as they could within their limited budget. She described living conditions as "cramped, much like a typical Mars mission. You need to work as a team to get things done". Here is another link to MDRS project for those who wish more information:

The Mars Society - Mars Desert Research Station [marssociety.org]

Re:Participant Point of View (1)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516781)

She described living conditions as "cramped, much like a typical Mars mission. You need to work as a team to get things done".

Um... not so sure that an event that hasn't happened, and probably won't for years, can be described as "typical"...

However that looks like it'd be an interesting experience, if nothing else to feel what it's like to live under adverse circumstances with limited supplies.

Re:Participant Point of View (2, Interesting)

eviltangerine (1435339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516805)

a friend of mine just got back from the MDRS -- he was there for a week at the beginning of January. He said it was an awesome experience as well. And for those who are wondering, yea, it's not paid, but the Mars Society covers food, transportation, and I guess technically lodging as well. The food he said was all dried stuff. While he was there they would go on scouting trips and worked on revamping the documentation for the site. Oh, and he also mentioned that while boucing around in their spacesuits outside, he found a dinosaur bone! (So the analogs to Mars may end there, but of course, no one's been bouncing around Mars -- maybe there *are* fossilized dinosaurs there!)

Re:Participant Point of View (1)

Paul server guy (1128251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26521497)

Then I very probably led that mission, or was personally involved in it's support! Cool!

It is an awesome experience, and a lot of very good work is done there. We learn a great deal about field methodologies, consumables requirements, space utilization, I could go on for hours.

There is a great deal to be learned from analog operations, and they do not require near vacuums nor 1/3G...

It is a great project, but I have left it (PHB issues...) and have moved on to http://openluna.org/ [openluna.org] where I build real suits and a real outpost. We will be testing these in an analog environment before launching...

Re:Participant Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26522065)

It is a great project, but I have left it (PHB issues...) and have moved on

You left because of Zubrin? Oh I can't imagine that. I mean it's not like he is an egotistical looser of the highest degree. The man lies about most everything and steals most of his ideas and calls them his own when he doesn't offhand trash them because he's too ignorant, close minded or egotistical to accept another's ideas.
Or was it because of the whiny ass kissing Carberry who lies about whatever he needs to to shut anybody up, or Artemis Westenberg who is a power hungrey man hater, who will also tell you whatever she pleases to get what she wants, and then back bite you to everyone else to further increase her power? Or maybe you left before the fantastic Shannon Rupert (or Robles or whatever she is calling herself) who highhandedly destroyed Science and everything else that she touched at the Mars Society?
I ask because, I'd really like to know. It's hard to believe that one of those fine people could have driven you away from any project that cool.

"Too hot in summer for pleasant simulation?" (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516643)

Who said the simulation had to be pleasant? It's a harsh environment, remember- nobody said living on Mars was going to be 'pleasant'. This is extreme survival- to answer the question whether human life is possible not just in extreme environments on earth, but on another planet altogether. Now, if it's too hot to make for a *realistic* simulation, that's another matter altogether. But if they're going to be complaining that the simulation isn't 'pleasant', human life on other planets is doomed already.

Re:"Too hot in summer for pleasant simulation?" (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516675)

Too hot in summer for pleasant simulation

They could use the hottest two weeks to run a mercury base simulation.

Re:"Too hot in summer for pleasant simulation?" (1)

eviltangerine (1435339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26516923)

yea, but if you're trying to simulate Mars-like conditions, you'd probably want to only get up to 80ish F degrees (http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q2681.html) at the high end.

Also, boiling "astronauts" isn't a good way to get PR.

This is idiotic (3, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517039)

This is stupendously stupid and idiotic.

The most BASIC problem has yet to be solved : how do we loft things into orbit without blowing $10,000 of taxpayer money per kilogram? Every last dollar of the manned space division of NASA SHOULD go into solving this problem, FIRST.

THEN, once it is cheap and easy to put stuff into orbit, and only then, do we work out how to put up a real space station, then a trip to the moon, then to mars. In roughly that order.

And before you say something dumb like "well, a modern Saturn V is as cheap as possible"...no. Disposable giant rockets aren't cheap, they are just cheaper than rube goldberg spaceplanes (aka shuttle)

What do I think will work? Probably laser launch. LED Solid state laser technology is finally cheap enough that we could use infrared lasers to blast spaceships into orbit. Instead of one launch every few months, a laser launch system would fire a smaller payload off daily. After a few thousand successful unmanned launches, we would buy more laser modules and launch small manned capsules, probably one person at at time. (with a laser launch system, you can run the solid state lasers all day, so long as you pay the power bill. But adding more capacity costs money)

Rotons, or space elevators, or a railgun, or Saturn Vs made in China, or various other 'out there' ideas might also work. The point is, we need to keep working on better ideas until we get one of them to work, and then worry about conquering Mars.

Re:This is idiotic (3, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517213)

Well, here's the thing. Different people are skilled at solving different sorts of problems. A rocket scientist isn't necessarily the best person to be designing a mars habitat. And since it's not the same person doing both, they can both be worked on at the same time.

And while there's almost certainly going to be a need for a mars habitat to make design adaptations to work with whatever the launch vehicle is (and vice versa), there are plenty of habitat issues that need to solved irregardless of how it's gotten into space, so work spent figuring those out isn't wasted.

Besides, once the rocket is ready, it'd be nice to have the mars project almost ready to go, instead of just starting up.

Re:This is idiotic (3, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517433)

Except that no-one at NASA is even TRYING to build a cheaper rocket. And they also have no concrete plans for a Mars mission, either. Meaning the engines you would need to even get the Mars are not even in the design stage.

So if you don't even have a guess as to how much stuff you could bring to Mars, then playing with habitats is pointless.

Best case scenario, we build a super-efficient laser launch system and a nuclear powered VASIMIR rocket to get to mars real fast. In that case, we could just cram the spaceship with a bunch of MREs and life support components right off of a nuclear submarine.

Worst case, it is still super-expensive to go to Mars, and NASA has to custom build every last part, min-maxing for mass.

Re:This is idiotic (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518109)

This is stupendously stupid and idiotic.

It has its uses. It keeps the Mars Society people happy and interested. They, in turn, lobby for funding for Mars exploration, and even kick in a little funding of their own.

Re:This is idiotic (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26520911)

The barrier is purely economic. Even expendable rockets can be substantially cheaper as long as the launch rate is higher than current. And the exotic methods don't really make sense till you have significantly greater demand for them. Just by making the simple choice to use commercial launch providers (Atlas V Heavy, Delta IV Heavy, and perhap even Falcon 9 Heavy down the road), NASA will have moved to launch vehicles with higher flight rates than anything NASA can make.

Colonizing Mars is the stupidest of ideas imagined (1, Insightful)

bradbury (33372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517269)

The colonization of Mars is one of the stupidest of ideas conceived by humanity. (A) The individuals involved have no understanding with respect to the DNA damage which could occur on a trip to/from Mars. (which of course makes such astronauts ripe for dying of cancer in contrast to their several % lifetime risk which is the allowable increase for current missions) and (B) if they reside on Mars for an extended period they will accumulate even more significant radiation damage.

(1) If you want to go to Mars (and colonize it) (before it is dismantled -- see Matrioshka Brain concepts) *you need a new species*.) It does not need to be too different from us. It could still interbreed with us. But it definitely needs to be engineered to withstand the rigors of space (and that needs significantly more complex DNA repair systems).

(2) Why is there no discussion of creating a species which could colonize Mars? Is there some (flawed) concept that only "God" can create species?

Re:Colonizing Mars is the stupidest of ideas imagi (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517753)

before it is dismantled -- see Matrioshka Brain concepts

Ah yes, humans living on Mars is impossible, but building Solar System scale projects is not. Let's keep in mind that the former is a lot easier to accomplish than the latter.

Why is there no discussion of creating a species which could colonize Mars? Is there some (flawed) concept that only "God" can create species?

Oh there is plenty of discussion. But why create a species when appropriate species (humans, other intelligent Earth life) already exist? Radiation? That's an engineering problem. Solved either via enough shielding or some sort of radiation resistance. If it makes you feel more comfortable, we can even call them "new" species.

Re:Colonizing Mars is the stupidest of ideas imagi (1)

grikdog (697841) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518209)

"significantly more complex DNA repair systems"...?

Is it even possible to outlaw mutation? Viral plasticity trumps genetic engineering.

Re:Colonizing Mars is the stupidest of ideas imagi (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518451)

Viral plasticity trumps genetic engineering.

...on average ;-)

Re:Colonizing Mars is the stupidest of ideas imagi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26518915)

Is it even possible to outlaw mutation? Viral plasticity trumps genetic engineering.

That's what she said!

Re:Colonizing Mars is the stupidest of ideas imagi (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519799)

Simple, inject a virus that only attacks mutated human cells into the region's water supply [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Colonizing Mars is the stupidest of ideas imagi (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519737)

Radiation is solvable with current technology, even for a deep space mission like a mars or moon base, where the Earth's protective field is absent. There are several approaches to this problem, from heavy shielding to burrowing into the soil. One particularly elegant solution IMO is recrerating the Earth's magnetic field [discovery.com] abord the spacecraft.

Actually, (1)

scrod98 (609124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517553)

this is not a Mars simulator, but an elaborate soundstage. They just got caught before filming the successful Mars mission.

Juggling on Mars....been there.... (1)

proxima1 (1092913) | more than 5 years ago | (#26517631)

I had the honor of being on MDRS Crew 65 about a year ago. What an amazing experience, when 6 space nerds who had never met before get locked up in the Utah desert for 2 weeks. (I smell "sitcom"!) It was a lot of fun, cold and hard work and I definitely plan to go back at some point. For the gent who was wanting to juggle on "Mars"...sorry, been done before. :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjxqIEmKQCw [youtube.com]

Needs to have decompression danger. (1)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518201)

Seriously, there should be a simulation where the habitat module is actually within a larger structure and the larger structure has the sand/dirt, light conditions, and a nice matte painting of "Mars" and then be set to STP of Mars.

Living inside the habitat, knowing death is outside, makes for a more believable simulation and that all safety checklists are done.

(of course there would be an emergency button that instantly blows open some hatches in the larger structure to quickly convert it to Earth STP, should something get screwed up.)

Re:Needs to have decompression danger. (1)

Paul server guy (1128251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26521817)

Do you have any idea how much that would cost? Remember, this is a volunteer organization, with very limited funds. (And it is fantastically dangerous for volunteers, who are little more than students or enthusiasts)

Solar radiation? (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518323)

So are they going to make a special hole in the atmosphere over the base so they can pelt them with solar radiation?

Mars Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26518329)

Mars Society is an idealistic organization that actually thinks most governments will do what is in general best for all people. This goes entire against human nature as each government will do what is in the best interest of the country.

From the Mars Society people I have met... most are dreams and idealists. It is a good society to have as they help inspire new ideas but the interpretation and implementation will look quite different when government and political bodies are done with it.

Re:Mars Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26521805)

And is lead by an egotistical looser of the highest degree. The man lies about most everything and steals most of his ideas and calls them his own when he doesn't offhand trash them because he's too ignorant, close minded or egotistical to accept another's ideas. And this is from someone who has worked with him for years...

Want a better mar simulation? (1)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518543)

Want a better mar simulation?

Put five people in a sailboat and have them circumnavigate the Earth twice. Tell them they can't come back into port until they finish.

Communications from a sail boat is via HF marine radio. The boat will not have much power so contact is only daily. They will be living in close quarters but with huge amounts of space all arond them. They will need to eat about the same kinds of food as on a trip to mars. They will have to fix things. And just like in space when soething goes wrong you can't call 911.

Re:Want a better mar simulation? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26518791)

At least, while at sea, you can always throw a line into the water and hope to catch some food.

Re:Want a better mar simulation? (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26519907)

The main difference with your suggestion is that on a sailboat circumnavigating the globe, there is the very real danger of storms, pirates, reefs, treachurous currents, etc. On Mars there would be a lot less dangers. Probably the biggest would be dust storms, but the two rovers have gone through these successfully. Equipment failure would be another big issue of course, but adequate testing and redundency reduces this greatly.

Re:Want a better mar simulation? (1)

Paul server guy (1128251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26521581)

What a crock of crap, How do you go out, through an airlock, in a suit, and do real geological or biological field work? How do you determine good hab designs, or exploration methodologies in a relevant environment. All you do is test boredom control...

MDoll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26519821)

SHIT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26521617)

like they are CoAme going to continue, polite to bring than its WindowSs

YUO FAIL 1T! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26521799)

by the politickers Empire in decline, 'I have to kill and was taken over I have a life to and sling or table bulk of the FreeBSD shit-fiiled,

mod 3own (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26521981)

beco8e oBsessed

Did anyone read the subject as 'dessert' research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26522461)

New Twix anyone?

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