Fire destroys GreenHab facility at Mars Desert Research Station

An announcement from the Mars Society:

MDRS GreenHab Destroyed by Fire

The Mars Society regrets to announce the loss of the Mars Desert Research Station’s Fisher GreenHab to an accidental fire yesterday afternoon (Dec. 29th). There were no injuries to Crew 146, the four-person team currently using the MDRS facility outside Hanksville, Utah.

According to a Mars Society spokesperson, the Habitat, which includes crew work stations and living quarters, did not sustain any damage, with the fire being limited to the GreenHab. Following MDRS emergency guidelines, crew members were able to safely put out the fire.

The Fisher GreenHab was the second GreenHab built at the Utah station. An earlier prototype structure was lost during the first MDRS field season due to heavy winds. It served as a model for the second generation GreenHab, a larger and more permanent unit built by Gary Fisher in 2003.


Interior of MDRS GreenHab prior to fire

For five seasons, the facility functioned as an experimental closed loop water recycling system, but testing ceased when it was concluded that the system was too small to maintain the Habitat with six full-time crew members.

In 2009 the GreenHab was refitted for use as a greenhouse. Under the direction of GreenHab Coordinator Nick Orenstein, it was successfully utilized for three seasons to grow crops for the MDRS crews. A variety of important experiments were scheduled to be carried out in the GreenHab during the current 2014-15 field season.

“We will work to erect a new GreenHab as soon as possible in order to conduct these critical research projects. With the help of our friends and supporters, I’m confident the Mars Society will be able to raise the necessary funds to replace the GreenHab in the very near future,” said MDRS Director Shannon Rupert.

To contribute to the Mars Society’s “Rebuild the GreenHab” Fund, please click here.