List of Mars analogs

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Mars regolith simulant in a jar

This is list of Mars analogs, which simulate aspects of the conditions human beings could experience during a future mission to Mars, or different aspects of Mars such as its materials or conditions. This is often used for testing aspects of spacecraft missions to that planet. For example, Mars regolith has been attempted to be replicated by Mars regolith simulant.

Crew analog experiments
Concordia Research Station at Dome Charlie. Concordia station is a Franco-Italia effort that replicates certain aspects of the human Mars mission and supports the ESA Aurora program.[1]
Biosphere 2 in Arizona
Crew for a Mars research mission practice techniques on Devon Island, in the Canadian arctic

Some examples of analog tests with people include NASA conducting a 120-day study in Hawaii to test a space food diet (HI-SEAS),[2] and equipment tests inside Austrian mountain caves in 2012.[3] A future Mars base has been compared to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, because relatively small groups must survive in extreme conditions there.[4]

Mars analogs are sometimes chosen for their location, for example, Devon Island is at 75°N latitude which provides solar radiance similar to the Martian Equator.[5] Similarly, high altitudes can provide an equivalent to the low pressure of the Mars atmosphere.

Among these are:

Atmospheric pressure comparison Pressure Reference
kilopascal psi
Olympus Mons summit 0.03 0.0044
Mars average 0.6 0.087
Hellas Planitia bottom 1.16 0.168
Armstrong limit 6.25 0.906
Mount Everest summit 33.7 4.89 [8]
Earth sea level 101.3 14.69

At about 28 miles (45 km, 150 thousand feet ) Earth altitude the pressure starts to be equivalent to Mars surface pressure.[9] However, the major component of Mars air, CO2 gas, is denser than Earth air for a given pressure.[10] Perhaps more significantly there is no land at this altitude on earth. The highest point on earth is the summit of Mount Everest at about 5.5 miles (8.8 km, 29 thousand feet), where the pressure is about fifty times greater than on the surface of Mars. The correct atmospheric pressure can be created by a vacuum chamber. NASA's Space Power Facility was used to test the airbag landing systems for the Mars Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, under simulated Mars atmospheric conditions.


The gravity of Mars is about 38% of Earth's gravity at the surface,[11] about 3.7 metres per second2.[12] This can be simulated for short time by an aircraft following a flight profile that causes this type of acceleration.[13] This technique (using a variation on free-fall) has allowed the gait of people in Mars gravity to be studied.[13]

20th century[edit]

The Russians conducted the BIOS-3 study in the 60s and 70s which had 315 cubic metres of space, and a later confinement study was Mars 500.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mission to Mars via Antarctica 21 December 2005
  2. ^ a b "Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue & Simulation". Archived from the original on 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  3. ^ Christoph Seidler – Austrian Cave Sets Stage for Red Planet Voyage (2012) – Der Spiegel
  4. ^ "A new era (Dreaming of Mars, part 3) | Science Illustrated".
  5. ^ "Teachers guide - Sunlight on mars | Tomatosphere". Archived from the original on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  6. ^ Rodriguez, Paola (2023-04-28). "Four-person crew sealed into pressurized habitat to learn about space living". AZPM. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  7. ^ Fine, Camille (2023-04-13). "See what a home on Mars could look like: NASA unveils artificial habitat for future missions". USA Today. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  8. ^ West, John B. (1 March 1999). "Barometric pressures on Mt. Everest: new data and physiological significance". Journal of Applied Physiology. 86 (3): 1062–1066. doi:10.1152/jappl.1999.86.3.1062. PMID 10066724. S2CID 27875962.
  9. ^ "The Barometric Formula".
  10. ^ "Oliver Morton – MarsAir How to build the first extraterrestrial airplane. – NASA Quest". Archived from the original on 2011-12-18. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  11. ^ "Ask an Astronomer".
  12. ^ "How Strong is the Gravity on Mars?". 16 December 2016.
  13. ^ a b Cavagna, G. A.; Willems, P. A.; Heglund, N. C. (1998). "Walking on Mars". Nature. 393 (6686): 636. Bibcode:1998Natur.393..636C. doi:10.1038/31374. PMID 9641676. S2CID 4426244.
  14. ^ "Dreaming of Mars, part 1 | Science Illustrated".