Alex wrote a two piece article for the BBC on human exploration of Mars with quotes from ESA astronaut Tim Peake and Mars-500 participant Charles Romain. Read the follow-up Saturday 22 September.

Concordia, similar to the Red Planet? Credits: A. Kumar

Just how far are we from mounting a crewed mission to the Red Planet?

It’s a question I ponder as I stare into a powerful telescope and see a reddish hue in the surrounding darkness.

I have been overwintering at the French-Italian outpost of Concordia station in Antarctica, which is also used to study how humans might one day survive a trip to the Red Planet.

My eyes begin to freeze and my eyelashes become matted together with ice. I dig my hands deeper, further into my pockets seeking warmth.

Read more at BBC News…