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Researchers plan to simulate life on Mars in Argentina’s red desert

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A hundred kilometers away from the city of La Rioja, Argentina — and a thousand away from the capital Buenos Aires — lies the Los Colorados provincial reserve, which holds a Martian landscape filled with red soil and orange canyons.

In this area, the Solar54 project will carry out a series of studies and tests of the different variables that will determine the human colonization of Mars. It seeks to recreate the environment of Mars so that space agencies from all around the globe can run tests and train their crews for future missions to the red planet.

The site is made up of six domes: three for accommodation, cooking, and crew recreation, one for plant production in a hydroponic system, one for Cubesats satellites, and a central dome that will be used as a general laboratory and ground station for satellite communication.

Last week, the initiative was presented in Satellite DC, a huge international aerospace industry fair that takes place in Washington D.C. by an Argentinian delegation. The Minister of Development, Matías Kulfas, and the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Daniel Filmus were there along with the Argentinian Ambassador to the United States, Jorge Argüello.