FMARS News

Mars Society Unveils Mars Arctic 365 Mission Patch

posted Apr 5, 2014, 2:39 PM by Michael Stoltz

The Mars Society unveiled yesterday the official mission patch for its Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) venture, a historic 12-month human Mars surface simulation that will conduct a unique program of field exploration in one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth - the Canadian Arctic, while operating under many of the same operational constraints as an actual human mission on Mars. Scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015, the one-year program will take place at the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island in northern Canada.

The new patch was generously created and donated by graphic artist Tim Gagnon of Titusville, FL and his partner, Dr. Jorge Cartes of Madrid, Spain. Working together since 2007, the two veteran designers have a long and storied history of creating patches for NASA and many of its human space flight missions, including those involving the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. 

“I wanted to participate in this one year Mars Arctic 365 expedition set up by the Mars Society because of its opportunity for analog research. This mission will help lay the groundwork towards the time when we send humans to Mars,” said Mr. Gagnon. 

Commenting on the new MA365 patch, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “We want to thank Tim and Jorge for their wonderful mission patch. It will certainly help us publicize our Mars simulation and drive home the point that this important initiative is a serious one that will greatly benefit planning for a human mission to the Red Planet.” 

Copies of the MA365 mission patch will be available to donors to the Mars Society’s Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign, which is helping to raise funds for the Canadian Arctic endeavor (there are 30 days remaining in the online campaign). To help support MA365 or learn more about the mission, please click here to visit our web site.

Mars Arctic 365 Mission Semi-Finalists Announced

posted Mar 1, 2014, 11:33 PM by Michael Stoltz

The semi-finalists for crew selection for the Mars Society’s Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission have been announced. Chosen from a group of over 200 applicants, the 62 semi-finalists consist of 49 men and 13 women drawn from 17 countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. 

The 62 individuals selected represent a wide range of expertise and skills including geological, biological, medical, aerospace, mechanical and electrical engineering, mechanical trades, journalism and Arctic and wilderness survival training.

A complete list of the selected semi-finalists can be viewed here. 

The next step in the MA365 crew recruitment will be a process leading to the selection of 18 finalists. The final 18 will be divided into three crews of six people each, who will then be sent to the Mars Society’s Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Canada’s Devon Island for two weeks of trial field testing during the summer of 2014. On the basis of demonstrated performance, the best crew will then be chosen for further training, leading to the initiation of the Mars one-year mission beginning in the summer of 2015. 

The MA365 mission is an effort to conduct a one-year simulated human Mars mission in the Canadian Arctic. The mission will take place at FMARS, a simulated landed spacecraft and research station "on Mars" built and operated by the Mars Society. 

Situated at 75 degrees north and less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole, the Mars facility is perched on the rim of a 14 mile wide impact crater in the midst of a polar desert considered one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth. MA365 will see a crew of six scientists, researchers and explorers conduct a Mars surface mission simulation for 12 months, including over the harsh, sub-zero Arctic winter. 

By conducting this full-scale dress rehearsal of a human expedition to Mars in a realistic habitat and environment for practically the same duration as an actual mission to the Red Planet, we will take a great step forward in learning how humans can work together to effectively explore the new frontier of Mars. 

Nothing like this has ever been done before! You can help make it happen! 

History is not a spectator sport. If we want to get humans to Mars, everyone needs to pitch in. The Mars Society recently launched an Indiegogo online campaign to help fund this historic mission. Please donate generously and spread the word to others!

The Rocky Road to Space Funding through Crowdsourcing

posted Mar 1, 2014, 11:31 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Mar 1, 2014, 11:31 PM ]

By Brian Enke, Examiner.com, 02.26.14


The Mars Society has just announced an exciting new crowdsourcing initiative, giving space enthusiasts everywhere the opportunity to participate in an ambitious new mission. The international non-profit organization based in Lakewood hopes to raise $100,000 by April 21st to fund the next steps in their effort to conduct a one-year simulated Mars mission at their research station on Devon Island, high in the Canadian arctic.

While $100,000 seems a trivial amount of funding for a respected group like the Mars Society to raise through crowdsourcing, history reveals the outcome is anything but guaranteed. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer hit-and-miss results since they don’t provide any consistent or reliable way for a donor to quickly browse the list of available causes using intelligent filters - like space exploration, for example. As a result, most people on these sites (let alone the public at large) will never become aware of many crowdsourcing projects of great interest to them.

To read the full article, please click here.

The Year-Long Mission to Mars, On Earth, With Polar Bears

posted Mar 1, 2014, 11:27 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Mar 1, 2014, 11:32 PM ]

By Ben Richmond, Motherboard, 02.27.14

Far off though it may seem, people are getting ready to live on Mars. The Mars One mission is selecting contestants for a one-way trip/reality show that is scheduled to launch in 2022. At the same time, the Mars Society is in the process of finding a six-person crew for their most ambitious mission yet: a year of living 800 miles from the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic, starting this August. 


Called Mars Arctic 365, or MA365 for short, the plan is to simulate a one-year Mars human surface exploration mission at the Mars Society’s Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, an uninhabited polar desert island that's mimics Mars as well as almost anywhere. The island's biggest feature is a meteor crater, which gives the island a Mars-like geology; the temperatures "are comparable" to that of Mars and there's almost no vegetation, although polar bears do stop by from time to time, but they're pretty much the only visitors.


To read the full article, please click here.

Help Prepare for Red Planet Exploration by Donating to Mars-on-Earth Simulation

posted Mar 1, 2014, 11:24 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Mar 1, 2014, 11:31 PM ]

The Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, launched a special Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign today to help fund the organization’s Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) program, a historic one-year simulated human Mars mission in the Canadian Arctic. The online campaign, scheduled for 60 days, will seek to raise $100,000 to support this never before attempted

Mars research initiative. 

The MA365 mission will take place at the Mars Society’s Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station(FMARS), a unique Mars simulation analog and research facility on Canada’s Devon Island. Situated at 75 degrees north, less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole, FMARS is perched on the rim of the Haughton crater in the midst of a polar desert viewed as one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth. 


“The Earth's polar regions are the closest analog to the surface of Mars that we will find until we actually land on the Red Planet. The Mars Society has long been the leader in exploiting these regions and is continuing that tradition with this new initiative. This effort will bring real understanding to the space exploration community about what it will take to settle human beings on the surface of Mars,” said Dr. Mike Griffin, former NASA Administrator. 


To read the full announcement, please click here.

Mission to 'Mars': Can Pilots Help Get Us to the Red Planet?

posted Jan 8, 2014, 9:13 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Jan 8, 2014, 9:14 PM ]

By Jim Moore, AOPA Magazine, 12.19.13

Loaded near maximum weight, a flight of two Quest Kodiaks cruised in the Arctic summer sky over vast swaths of barren tundra and sea ice fraught with history. The steady thrum of their Pratt & Whitney turboprops was reassuring, although the pilots were inspired more than once to speculate whether the sea ice below could hold 7,000 pounds of airplane. 

If it ever came to that, a safe landing would only mark the beginning of a struggle to survive in a land that has seen many fail.

In 1845, Sir John Franklin set sail in command of two British warships to chart the Northwest Passage winding through Canada’s Arctic islands. They never returned. Rescue attempts began three years later, and lasted for years. In August 1852, HMS Resolute launched her second such voyage, now the flagship of five ships looking for Franklin and his crew—they found graves, and a note, but little else—and also hoping to find two of the other ships previously sent in search of Franklin.

A year later, in August 1853, an unexpected summer cold front locked Resolute in drifting sea ice, and the crew hunkered down for winter. The ice did not relent the following spring; Capt. Henry Kellett draped a British flag over his wardroom chair and led his crew on a successful hard march across the ice to Beechey Island. It is a desolate spit of snowy rock just off the shore of the much larger (and equally desolate) Devon Island, roughly twice the size of Maryland, and remains uninhabited in the present day.

Resolute was not lost forever: an American whaling ship found the three-masted barque drifting, as shipshape as she had been left, in 1855, and Resolute was returned to Britain. (By way of thanks, the British government had timbers from Resolute made into three massive desks, one of which sits today in the Oval Office.)

This past July, a month shy of 160 years after Resolute was snared by ice, two American pilots and a small crew seeking to simulate a mission to Mars departed Idaho, bound for Devon Island—a course that would take the aircraft within a few miles of Beechey Island.

To read the full article, please click here.

[Image: J.Moore/AOPA]

Call for Volunteers: Mars Arctic 365 Mission

posted Oct 13, 2013, 9:05 PM by M Stoltz

Call for Volunteers: Mars Arctic 365 Mission (MA365)

One-Year Mars Mission Simulation at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station:

The Mars Society is seeking six volunteers to participate as members of the crew of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) during an extended simulation of human Mars exploration operations on Devon Island in northern Canada (August 2014 through July 2015).

As currently planned, the crew will consist of four individuals chosen primarily for their skills as field scientists in areas including geology, geochemistry, microbiology, biochemistry and paleontology. Two additional crew members will be chosen primarily for their skills in engineering areas. The ability of crew members to support both roles is considered a strong plus.

For 12 months, these six crew members will conduct a sustained program of field exploration on Devon Island, 900 miles from the North Pole, while operating under many of the same constraints that will be faced by explorers on an actual human Mars mission. For example, no one will be able to go outside without wearing a spacesuit simulator. The crew will be responsible for all of its own field work, lab work, reportage, repair of equipment and chores of daily life. They will work in telescience collaboration with a Remote Science Team, a Mission Support Group and an Engineering Support Team located in the continental United States. In addition to the six person Mars exploration crew, one field support person will also participate in the expedition in and out of simulation role. This person should have excellent field mechanic and wilderness skills.

Both volunteer investigators who bring with them a proposed program of research of their own compatible with the objectives of the Flashline Station (see below) and those simply wishing to participate as members of the crew supporting the investigations of others will be considered. Volunteers may submit applications as individuals, couples or both. Applications will be considered from anyone in good physical condition between 22 and 60 years of age without regard to race, creed, color, gender, or nationality. Scientific, engineering, practical mechanical, arctic, wilderness, first aid, medical, and literary skills are all considered a plus. Applicants should have either a four-year college degree or equivalent experience.

Applicants will need to pass a physical exam and must be cleared by their personal physician to participate. Applicants must be non-smokers and should state what, if any, food allergies and/or dietary restrictions they may have. Dedication to the cause of human Mars exploration is an absolute must, as conditions are likely to be very difficult and the job will be very trying.

To read the full announcement, please click here.

Arctic Quest (Article/Video)

posted Oct 13, 2013, 9:04 PM by M Stoltz

CHECK OUT a great video and article about the Mars Society's recent Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission (Phase 1), when a crew of staff and volunteers visited the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island in northern Canada last July to help prepare the facility for a historic one-year Mars surface simulation, scheduled to begin in 2014. 


The Mars Society would like to express its appreciation to Jim Moore (writer/videographer) and Tom Haines (editor) of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) for documenting the MA365 mission to FMARS. AOPA is the largest, most influential aviation association in the world, with a membership base of nearly 400,000 pilots and aviation enthusiasts.

Mars Arctic 365 Phase 1 Mission a Success

posted Jul 23, 2013, 1:19 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jul 27, 2013, 7:40 PM ]

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) Phase 1 mission has been successfully concluded. Led by Mars Society Steering Committee member Joseph Palaia and including Adam Nehr, Justin Sumpter, Barry Stott, Garrett Edquist and Dr. Alexander Kumar and supported by experienced pilots Richard Sugden and Richard Spencer, journalist Jim Moore and the staff of Mars Society HQ, the crew has completed the key essential mission objectives and has returned safely to civilization. 


Departing from Idaho on July 8th, the mission spearhead, composed of Palaia, Nehr and Sumpter, reached the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) located in the polar desert on Canada’s Devon Island on July 10th. Supported by and eventually joined by the others, the team set about refitting and improving the facility, which had been dormant since 2009. 

Among the tasks executed were the revival of two on-site diesel generators and the delivery of a sophisticated new “Carnot” diesel generator purchased courtesy of Association Planète Mars, the French chapter of the Mars Society. As such, there are now a total of three working diesel generators available at FMARS, as well as a gasoline-powered backup. In addition, the crew reactivated the satellite Internet communication system and tested a new satellite phone system donated by Iridium. A large, powerful four-wheel drive ATV capable of hauling heavy payloads across rough terrain and provided at a sharp discount by Arctic Cat, was brought in, along with an ATV trailer. The station’s old ATV trailer was made operational again as well, assuring redundant ground transport capability. (For a complete list of mission sponsors, please click here.) 

The structural condition of the FMARS facility was assessed and found to be in excellent shape. The station’s electrical, water and waste disposal systems were all successfully reactivated. A new induction cooking range was installed, and other interior fixtures were also refurbished. The on-site stored food supplies were assessed, with most found to be sound and the rest disposed of. 

Outside the FMARS hab, a berm to enable secondary containment of large quantities of fuel was built and stockpiled with diesel fuel. Two new airstrips were opened up to help assure good logistic support of the station despite unfavorable crosswinds, snow or other nuisances that might impede operations were the mission restricted to just one airstrip. A weather station, useful for both climate research and support of mission operations, was installed and activated. Large amounts of additional equipment from U.S. and Canadian suppliers were also transported to Resolute Bay, where it will be stored over the winter and ready for rapid deployment to FMARS in July 2014.

Commenting on the success of MA365 Phase 1, crew commander Joseph Palaia said, “Our team completed the critical mission objectives we had set out to accomplish. We plan to return to FMARS at the beginning of next season to deliver more equipment and supplies and complete preparation of the station for the Mars Society’s historic one-year expedition.” 

MA365 is a plan to simulate a one-year Mars human surface exploration mission at FMARS. The mission crew will conduct a program of field exploration in one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth, while operating under many of the same operational constraints as an actual Mars mission. In the course of doing this, crew members will learn a great deal about which methods, technologies and tactics will work best on the Red Planet. Furthermore, they will do this while dealing with the stresses that come not only from isolation, as the Mars500 crew experienced, but also cold, danger, hard work and the need to achieve real scientific results, and thus truly begin to explore the critical human factor issues facing Mars exploration. Nothing like this has ever been done before. 

The preparatory Phase 1 of the MA365 mission has now been completed. Phase 2, which will include final refitting operations followed by the initiation of the one-year Mars simulation, will begin in July 2014. A call for crew volunteers for the MA365 Phase 2 expedition will be issued shortly by the Mars Society.  

Financial contributors are also needed to enable and support the MA365 mission. All donations to the Mars Society are tax-deductible (federal tax ID number 31-1585646). Numerous sponsorship opportunities, including purchase of the mission name, are available. Please contact Mars Society Executive Director Susan Holden Martin for more details.  

A gallery of photos taken by the MA365 Phase 1 crew has been posted on the mission’s new web site (www.ma365.marssociety.org). Also a complete report on July’s MA365 expedition and plans for the one-year simulation mission will be presented at the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention to be held at the University of Colorado Boulder, August 15-18, 2013. The preliminary schedule for the conference has been posted, and online registration is available.

[Images: J.Palaia]

And So It Begins... MA365 Crew (Phase 1) Departs for Devon Island

posted Jul 7, 2013, 3:16 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jul 7, 2013, 3:21 PM ]

Crew members of the Mars Arctic 365 mission (Phase 1) have begun their journey to the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in northern
Canada, departing earlier today from Idaho.

Weather permitting, the nine-person team plan to arrive on Devon Island on Wednesday to begin a two-week expedition to upgrade and refit the FMARS facility in preparation for the one-year Mars surface simulation, which is expected to begin in the summer of 2014.

Regular updates, including photos and videos, will be posted on the Mars Society's web site and Facebook page.

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