Astronomer and science fiction writer Diane Turnshek is spending Christmas with a crew simulating a Martian environment in the desert north of Hanksville, Utah, as part of a Mars Society project. The crew members have been blogging about gathering rock specimens, monitoring the sky, and living in isolation. Today, Turnshek offers a Christmas dispatch via a friend, writer John Scalzi. "We’ll celebrate good tidings with beef stew, homemade bread, potato pancakes and a brownie dessert," she writes. "And the day after, back to the grind of pedestrian [extra-vehicular explorations] on Mars."