As a child, Darlene Lim’s hero was the seafaring explorer Jacques Cousteau. Today, Lim continues her fascination with the unknown, only now her passion lies with Mars. Last month, Lim, 28, left the comfortable confines of her University of Toronto geology lab for the chilly desert terrain of the Haughton meteorite crater on Devon Island in Canadas High Arctic. The Mars Society, a Lakewood, Colo.-based group promoting the exploration of the red planet, is now assembling the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station at the 23-millionyear-old, 21-km-wide crater, where the harsh climate, as well as the geology, is considered to be a reasonable approximation of that of Mars.
Lim, a member of the society’s Toronto chapter, plans to take time from her doctoral research to help assemble the two-storey, six-person living quarters, slated for completion on July 20. Volunteers are expected to begin a two-week evaluation of the facility’s design once it is built. They will eat and sleep in their remote home, and venture outside in mock Mars space suits to conduct geological tests. In future, teams will spend longer there in the warm months. “This,” says Lim, “is the start of an incredible journey.”
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