Crew members on one of the simulated Mars missions this spring included Pitchayapa Jingjit (from left), Becky Parker, Elijah Espinoza and Esteban Ramirez. Community college students and teachers in real life, the team members spent a week in the Utah desert, partly to experience the isolation and challenges of a real trip to Mars. Rae Ellen Bichell/NPR hide caption

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Rae Ellen Bichell/NPR

To Prepare For Mars Settlement, Simulated Missions Explore Utah's Desert

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This simulated 3-D perspective view of Chasma Boreale, a canyon that reaches 570 kilometers (350 miles) into the north polar cap on Mars, was created from image data taken by NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft. NASA/JPL/Arizona State University, R. Luk hide caption

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NASA/JPL/Arizona State University, R. Luk

The world's largest radio telescope is nestled among the jagged, green mountains of southwest China's Guizhou Province. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption

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Anthony Kuhn/NPR

In Southwest China, A 'Very Large Eyeball' Peers Into Deep Space

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Filmmaker and musician Melvin Van Peebles' new album with the London band The Heliocentrics is titled The Last Transmission. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

When The Lights Go Down, Who Will Hear 'The Last Transmission'?

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