In the red dust of the Utah desert, six scientists are dressed in home-made spacesuits and living in a large tin can. Their mission: to prove that sending man to Mars is easier than NASA thinks.

Six top-drawer scientists are out here somewhere, living in a large, white tin can that looks like a stumpy grain silo with a conical roof, or a drawing of a spaceship in an old comic book, and dressing in spacesuits made from canvas and sticky tape. Whenever they venture out, they don helmets contrived from rubbish-bins and plastic light-fittings. Behind this odd behaviour lies a serious purpose (or at least an earnest one): to find out what it would be like to live on Mars, and whether humans could stand it.