Mars Desert Research Station Crew 142 - Final Report

posted Nov 25, 2014, 5:25 AM by M Stoltz

The following is the final report of Mars Desert Research Station Crew 142, which recently completed its nearly two week field rotation at MDRS in southern Utah.

The 142nd crew rotation at the Mars Desert Research Station has just completed its ten day period in sim as part of the Mars Arctic 365 mission crew selection process. The crew is pleased to report a successful and productive mission in which nearly all of our mission objectives were achieved. 

During our fifteen days at the hab, Crew 142 mounted a total of 9 in sim EVAs to sample and assess the terrain surrounding the hab for gene mining and to assess feasibility of sea ice and permafrost experiments at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in northern Canada. We conducted experiments on the usefulness of flying drones to guide EVA activity and perform remote reconnaissance. We also used the greenhab to experiment with using cyanobacteria to convert Martian resources into a form that is suitable for plant growth, and to experiment with Martian soil amendments to determine the viability of growing food on Mars. 

To read the full Crew report, please click here.

Welcome to Mars!

posted Nov 25, 2014, 5:21 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 5:22 AM ]

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Crew 142 arrived on Saturday afternoon (November 1st) at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah to begin the 2014-15 MDRS field season.

Crew 142, consisting of seven people, is the first of three crews composed of finalists for the planned Mars Arctic 365 mission that will serve at MDRS for two weeks of training and testing. 

To follow the work of the MDRS crews during their rotating two-week visits involving Mars surface simulation activities and research, please visit the MDRS Facebook page or join the MDRS Twitter feed - @MDRSupdates.

Mars Arctic 365 Mission Finalists to Test at MDRS

posted Nov 25, 2014, 5:18 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 5:19 AM ]

Twenty one finalists have been selected for possible participation in the Mars Society’s Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission. These finalists have been divided into three crews of seven persons each and will be sent to the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah for further training and to gain data for the remaining selection process that will lead to the choice of the final six-person crew to perform the MA365 mission (the final crews have been enlarged from six to seven to allow for the selection of alternates).

The MA365 finalist crews will constitute MDRS crew 142 (Nov. 1-16, 2014), crew 143 (Nov. 15-30), and crew 144 (Nov. 29-Dec. 14). They include scientists, engineers, writers, doctors, military officers and outdoor adventurers drawn from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Finland, Russia, Japan, Australia, and Brazil. Their names and areas of expertise are enclosed in the table below.

To read the full announcement, please click here.

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,, 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.

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