A guide to daily life on Mars


Public Domain: NASA


SpaceX’s Elon Musk made a surprise cameo at the South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin on Sunday. He talked about his interplanetary ambitions, and announced that a massive rocket capable of travel between planets in our solar system might be ready for testing as early as next year. Even if that timeline doesn’t hold, it got us thinking: What would daily life be like on the Red Planet?

We called a couple experts to find out: Stanley Love, a NASA astronaut, and Ariel Ekblaw of the MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative. Both said good meals would be hugely important in order to keep morale up, and Ekblaw noted that even the small details of packaging, like the way a chip bag crinkles, can add joy to mealtime. As for the daily pick-me-up, Love said the slogan for coffeeshops in space might be “Yesterday’s coffee into tomorrow’s coffee,” a nod to the fact that all liquids, even urine, must be recycled.

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