The Mars Society has identified three prime goals to be met by the Mars Analog Research StationProject:
Mars Analog Research Stations will be operated by Mars Society researchers and will be made available to NASA and selected scientists, engineers and other professionals from a variety of institutions worldwide to support science investigations and exploration research at Mars analog sites.
- The Stations will serve as an effective testbed for field operations studies in preparation for human missions to Mars specifically. They will help develop and allow tests of key habitat design features, field exploration strategies, tools, technologies, and crew selection protocols, that will enable and help optimize the productive exploration of Mars by humans. In order to achieve this, each Station must be a realistic and adaptable habitat.
- The Stations will serve as useful field research facilities at selected Mars analog sites on Earth, ones that will help further our understanding of the geology, biology, and environmental conditions on the Earth and on Mars. In order to achieve this, each Station must provide safe shelter and be an effective field laboratory.
- The Stations will generate public support for sending humans to Mars. They will inform and inspire audiences around the world. As the Mars Society's flagship program, the MARS project that will serve as the foundation of a series of bold steps that will pave the way to the eventual human exploration of Mars.
As an operational testbed, the stations will serve as a central element in support of parallel studies of the technologies, strategies, architectural design, and human factors involved in human missions to Mars. The facilities will also bring to the field compact laboratories in which in-depth data analysis can begin before scientists leave the field site and return to their home institutions.
The Stations will help develop the capabilities needed on Mars to allow productive field research during the long months of a human sojourn. The facilities will evolve through time to achieve increasing levels of realism and fidelity with the ultimate goal of supporting the actual training of Mars-bound astronauts.