These extreme environments are frequented not just by hardy bacteria and lichens, but also by scientists. In areas that resemble Mars, look for the telltale signs of the Mars Society, a non-profit group that encourages research into exploration of the Red Planet and has built Mars Desert Research Stations in Australia, Iceland, the Canadian Arctic, as well as this one, near Hanksville, Utah.
Mars is one of the planets where life might have once taken hold, and is thus subject to intense scrutiny. The vast majority of planetary proxies are attempts to simulate and understand the environment there, in order to guide the search for past or present Martian life, as well as aiding in understanding Mars' geological history. The Mars Society gives geologists, astrobiologists, and engineers a chance to train and test equipment for those missions. If they can test rovers and instruments in the most realistic way possible, the more likely it is that when probes and, eventually, astronauts land on Mars, they'll be able to recognize any signs of Martian life, for instance.