FMARS News

160-Day Mars Mission Simulation Kicks Off in Utah

posted Oct 19, 2016, 11:50 AM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Oct 19, 2016, 11:50 AM ]

By Mike Wall
Space.com, 09.24.16

The first half of an ambitious 160-day-long simulated mission to Mars is getting underway.

Seven people from six different countries are setting up shop today (Sept. 24) at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a facility in the Utah desert operated by nonprofit group The Mars Society. For the next 80 days, the explorers will conduct a series of experiments and exploration campaigns to hone the skills and strategies that will be needed by real-life Red Planet pioneers in the future. The same crew will then venture to The Mars Society's arctic station in 2017 for another 80-day session to complete the full 160-day mission.

"What we're doing is not an isolation experiment," Mars Society President Robert Zubrin told Space.com, contrasting this Mars 160 mission with other efforts such as Mars500, a Russian-European-Chinese project that kept six crew members cooped up inside a Moscow facility for 520 days in 2010 and 2011.

"I don't think a Mars mission is about isolation; a Mars mission is not about sending people to Mars to do nothing and watch them get bored," Zubrin added. "A Mars mission is about sending people to Mars and working them hard in an aggressive program of field exploration."

To read the full article, please click here.

Mars 160 Crew Patch Unveiled by Mars Society

posted Sep 6, 2016, 8:45 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Sep 6, 2016, 8:46 PM ]

The Mars Society unveiled today the official crew patch for its Mars 160 mission, a twin desert-Arctic analog project using both of the organization's field research stations - the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) located in southern Utah and the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island in northern Canada.

Mars 160 is an extended Mars surface simulation involving a unique program of field exploration, using the same crew to carry out similar science operations for the same period of time – 80 days – first at MDRS (as Mars Desert 80), scheduled to begin September 24, 2016, and then again at FMARS (as Mars Arctic 80) in June 2017.

Members of the multi-national crew include:
+ Dr. Alexandre Mangeot, Commander & Engineer (France)
+ Yusuke Murakami, Executive Officer (Japan)
+ Anastasiya Stepanova, Journalist (Russia)
+ Claude-Michel Laroche, Engineer, MD 80 (Canada)
+ Dr. Jonathan Clarke, Geologist (Australia)
+ Annalea Beattie, Health & Safety Officer (Australia)
+ Anushree Srivastava, Biologist (India & United Kingdom)
+ Paul Knightly, Geologist, MA 80 (U.S.A.)
+ Shannon Rupert, Biologist, Back-up Crew (U.S.A.)

The Mars 160 patch is divided into two halves, symbolizing the dual nature of the desert-Arctic mission, and includes a cairn at MDRS and an inukshuk at FMARS, human-made stone landmarks used by native peoples in regions of North America.

For more details, please click here.

ONE MONTH until Launch of Mars Desert 80 Simulation at MDRS in Utah

posted Sep 6, 2016, 8:39 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Sep 6, 2016, 8:42 PM ]

First Half of Mars 160 Mission Involving Unique Twin Desert-Arctic Analog

Earlier this year, the Mars Society announced plans to carry out a new Mars surface simulation using both of the organization’s analog research facilities – the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah and the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in Canada. This unique dual mission entitled Mars 160 involves a seven-person crew doing similar science operations for the same period of time – 80 days – first at MDRS, with the sim scheduled to begin September 24th and then once again in the summer of 2017 at FMARS.

During the course of the two 12 week missions, the Mars 160 crew will conduct a sustained program of field exploration involving geology, micro-biology and paleontology while operating under many of the same constraints that human explorers on the Red Planet would face. The team will also carry out Mars-relevant engineering research, testing spacesuit technologies, EVA traverse strategies, astronaut cross-training in the field and habitat technologies. By doing so, they will help advance humanity’s knowledge of how to better explore the Martian surface.

Furthermore, by conducting the Mars 160 mission in the form of twin studies, dubbed Mars Desert 80 (MD80) and Mars Arctic 80 (MA80) with the crew operating in the desert and the Arctic, the program will provide important information as to how well Mars analog missions held in the desert can serve in place of far more expensive Mars surface simulations carried out in the Arctic regions, and to what extend conclusions drawn from desert-based research need to be adjusted to reflect that which would likely be obtained under more stressful Arctic field conditions. Mars 160 is expected to greatly improve the cost-effectiveness of Mars analog research.

For more details, please click here.

Mars Society to Launch Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog Missions

posted Apr 7, 2016, 9:18 AM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Apr 7, 2016, 9:21 AM ]

The Mars Society is pleased to announce a new mission, Mars 160, using both of the organization’s analog research stations. This program will involve the same seven person crew doing similar science operations for the same period of time - 80 days - initially at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah in the fall of 2016 and then continuing at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in northern Canada in the summer of 2017.

The multi-national crew will include:

+ Dr. Alexandre Mangeot, Commander & Engineer (France)
+ Yusuke Murakami, Executive Officer (Japan)
+ Shannon Rupert, Biologist (U.S.)
+ Anastasiya Stepanova, Journalist (Russia)
+ Claude-Michel Laroche, Engineer (Canada)
+ Dr. Jonathan Clarke, Geologist (Australia)
+ Susan Jewell, MD, Biomedical Research (UK)

Ms. Rupert will serve as the mission’s Principal Investigator, while Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society, will operate as Program Manager.

During the course of two 12 week missions, the crew will conduct a sustained program of geological, paleontological and micro-biological field exploration while operating under many of the same constraints that human explorers on the Red Planet would face. The team will also carry out Mars-relevant engineering research, testing biomedical tele-science, spacesuit technologies, EVA traverse strategies, astronaut cross-training in the field and habitat technologies. By so doing, they will help advance humanity’s knowledge of how to explore on the Martian surface.

To read further, please click here.

Mars Society Announces Precursor Mission for MA365

posted Sep 7, 2015, 6:49 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Sep 7, 2015, 6:54 PM ]

The Mars Society intends to advance planning for its one-year Mars Arctic 365 program at FMARS on Devon Island by down-selecting to a single crew that will first be “put to the test” as part of an 80-day mission at the organization’s Mars Desert Research Station in the fall of 2016. 


The crew, including alternates, of Mars Awakening 80 (MA80), as the mission is being called, will consist of nine individuals drawn from the U.S., France, Canada, Germany and Russia who previously made the cut of 21 finalists chosen from an initial pool of over 200 volunteers. 


More details regarding the new MA80 mission will be announced soon.


[Mars Society Steering Committee, 09.01.15]

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!

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