Mars Society Steering Committee
Buzz Aldrin
Dr. Buzz Aldrin is one of the first two humans to have walked on the surface of the Moon in 1969.  Since retiring from NASA, the U.S. Air Force and his position as Commander of the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Dr. Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in human space exploration.
April K. Andreas
Dr. April Andreas is an educator with undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics and a Ph.D. in systems and industrial engineering.  Dr. Andreas is currently building an engineering program at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas and spends her summers doing Mars-related outreach.  This work was highlighted in her article “One Room, Three Weeks, Twelve Gifted Teens: Mars or Bust," published in TEMPO Magazine | The Quarterly Journal of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented in the summer of 2010.  She has also worked as a consultant for the Mars Homestead Project and for 4Frontiers Corporation.
Jonathan Clarke
Dr. Jonathan Clarke is Director of Field Research with Mars Society Australia. A Canberra-based geologist with experience in the mineral and petroleum industry, academia and in government surveys, Dr. Clarke currently works for Geoscience Australia.  He has worked in every state of Australia, mostly in the arid interior. In addition he has practiced geology in New Zealand, the Philippines and the Atacama desert of northern Chile, one of the most Mars-like areas on Earth. Dr Clarke led the Jarntimarra-1 expedition and took part in Expedition One in Utah in 2003 and Expedition Two in Arkaroola in 2004.

Patricia Czarnik
North Dakota
Patricia Czarnik is a long-standing member of the Steering Committee and an active advocate for humans to Mars.  She also served as the former Director of Membership for the Mars Society.  In her other life, in addition to traveling with her husband, Tam, and enjoying her family, she was recently involved in establishing a new library (where she currently serves as treasurer) in her small town in North Dakota.

Richard Heidmann
Richard Heidmann, a space propulsion engineer, was involved in the genesis and the development of the European Ariane rocket launchers.  He has taken an active role in promoting Mars exploration in Europe as a founding member of the Mars Society and as the head of the organization's French chapter, Association Planète Mars.  Also he is the author of “Planète Mars, une attraction irresistible” (ALVIK, Paris, 2005), a book about the motivations for Mars exploration.

Bishop James Heiser
Bishop James Heiser was ordained into the ministry in 1996 and has actively worked in central Texas since 1998.  In 2006 he was called to serve in his current capacity as Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America.  Bishop Heiser's other responsibilities include holding the office of President of the Center for the Study of Lutheran Orthodoxy and Dean of Missions of The Augustana Ministerium.  A founding member of the Mars Society and a member of the organization's Board of Directors, Bishop Heiser has presented essays to numerous Mars Society conventions and published a new book in 2010 called "Civilization and the New Frontier: Reflections on Virtue and the Settlement of a New World"

Jürgen Herholz
ürgen Herholz was formerly a senior space engineer and project manager, during which time he focused on European manned space programs, including Spacelab, Eureca, Hermes and Columbus.  Prior to that, Mr. Herholz was involved in aircraft and scientific satellite projects, as well as system engineering and contractor management.

Lucinda Offer
Lucinda Offer is a life-time member of the Mars Society and has been familiar with Dr. Zubrin's Mars Direct plan since NASA's adaption in 1989.  She began her activist role on the Political Task Force raising awareness within the organization.  As a member of the political web team and a regional coordinator for the east coast, Lucinda helped members write and meet with their local representatives.  She continued her advocacy in 2004 at the first Space Exploration Alliance (SEA) Blitz for the Moon, Mars and Beyond Initiative.  Since then, she has participated in and led four lobbying efforts, her last being in July of 2009.  Shortly after Lucinda's first SEA Blitz, she was appointed to the Mars Society's Steering Committee and asked to serve as Director of Public Relations.  In 2006, she earned her teaching credentials in Geoscience and served as a tenured, clear-credentialed, secondary education teacher in San Jose, California.  Later in November 2009, Lucinda proudly accepted the position of Executive Director for the Mars Society.  Her goal for the organization was to move forward, reach higher and set the course for Mars through collaboration, outreach events and digital branding.  Leaving the Mars Society in June 2012, Lucinda continues to play a role by serving as an international consultant for the organization.

Bruce Mackenzie
Bruce Mackenzie is co-founder of the Mars Homestead Project, which aims to start the settlement of space with a Mars base built from local materials.  He originated the concept for brick masonry structures for Mars featured as ‘Underhill” in “Red Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson.  Mr. Mackenzie has also worked on orbital transport using tethers - leading to space manufacturing.  As a staff member at Draper Laboratory, he worked on launcher guidance and GPS receivers. Mr. Mackenzie became active in NSS through the Boston L5 Society and is also involved with the NSS, SSI, Planetary Society, ISU and MIT - SEDS.

Susan Holden Martin
New Hampshire
Susan Holden Martin, MBA, J.D., is an experienced college educator and aerospace media consultant. She currently works with author and space historian, Rod Pyle at Susan served as Executive Director of the Mars Society during 2012 - 2013, and continues to serve as a member of the organization's Steering Committee. She previously served as the Mars Society's Director of Strategic Planning, Director of Public Relations/Media, and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the organization's flagship publication, The Mars Quarterly. Her enthusiasm for space science comes from several family scientists, including her great uncle, the late Doyle Northrup, Ph.D. (MIT), and her uncle, the late Robert Leonard (Lockheed Martin/Hubble Space Telescope). Susan has also served as an officer and director of The Mars Foundation, 2006-2010; and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Mars Exploration Magazine, a publication of Explore Mars, Inc., where she also served as that organization's corporate secretary during organizational start-up in 2010. Susan is available for speaking engagements and can be reached via

Anthony Muscatello (Chairperson)
Dr. Anthony ("Tony") Muscatello has over 30 years experience in advanced chemical research, most recently in ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization) for Mars exploration.  He is a former Los Alamos National Laboratory staff member and worked for Rockwell International before that. At Pioneer Astronautics, Dr. Muscatello served as member of teams working on the Mars Methanol In-Situ Propellant Production (MMISPP), Mars Aromatics, Hydrocarbon, and Olefin Synthesis System (MAHOSS), Nitrous Oxide Based Oxygen Supply System (NOBOSS), and the Carbon Monoxide Metal Oxide Reduction System (COMORS) (oxygen extraction from lunar and martian regolith) research projects.  He was Principle Investigator on the NASA Phase II SBIR Methane to Aromatics on Mars (METAMARS) project.  Dr. Muscatello joined NASA in the fall of 2007 and is continuing his work in ISRU in the RESOLVE project which is designed to locate water on the Moon.  He is also a founding member of the Mars Society and coordinated Mars Analog research Mission Support from 2000 to 2007.

Declan O'Donnell
Declan O’Donnell is a member of the Mars Society's Board of Directors, as well as a respected trial attorney in the Denver metropolitan area with a national constituency in the areas of tax and securities litigation and a growing practice base in space law.  He currently has over 50 publications on space law and space policy.
Ian O'Neill


Dr. Ian O’Neill serves as a Space Science Producer for Discovery News.  Before joining the Discovery team, Ian was a solar physics Ph.D. researcher at the University of Wales, Abserystwyth (UK) where he worked on computer simulations of coronal loops.  After permanently moving to the United States in 2008, he served as a space science blogger for Universe Today and spaceflight reporter for Space Lifestyle Magazine.  During this time, he was also the Communications Officer for the Mars Foundation, a non-profit group headed by Bruce Mackenzie in an effort to design future manned habitats (constructed primarily from in-situ materials) for future missions to the Red Planet.  

Since 2007, he has also maintained his own popular space blog --  His research and writing experience merged when he joined Discovery News in 2009 where he continues to enjoy communicating often complex science to a mainstream audience with his growing team of skilled correspondents and bloggers.  Ian's expertise covers all areas of space science, but he specifically like to focus on solar physics, Mars exploration, space weather phenomena, commercialization of spaceflight, manned space exploration and debunking bad science (i.e. the 2012 doomsday hysteria).

Joseph E. Palaia IV
Joe Palaia is an entrepreneur and an engineer, with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering. He is Vice President of the 4Frontiers Corporation and Manager of NewSpace Center, LLC. He has served in lead roles in two comprehensive Mars settlement design efforts. Joe has co-authored technical papers on the topics of Mars surface nuclear power plant design, Mars settlement architecture, space economics and the economics of energy on Mars. He served as executive officer and engineer for the Mars Society's 2009 FMARS expedition and has been appointed the Field Season Director and Crew Commander for the next FMARS expedition.
Shannon Rupert

Shannon Rupert is an ecologist with a decade of experience in Mars Analog studies.  She founded and coordinated the Mars Society’s Remote Science Team from its inception until 2007 and has served on crews as both biologist and commander at MDRS, FMARS and MARS-OZ.  She served as the Science Lead for the NASA Mobile Agents Project and currently is a scientist/educator with NASA Spaceward Bound Program.  Shannon teaches biology at Dine’ College on the Navajo Nation and is a Ph.D. candidate in Biology at the University of New Mexico, where she is studying the ecology of acequias (community irrigation systems) in northern New Mexico.  She holds a M.S. in Biological Sciences (Plant Ecology) from California State University, San Marcos; a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from the University of California, San Diego; and an A.S. in Biology from San Diego Miramar College. 

Kevin F. Sloan
Washington, D.C.
Kevin Sloan works as a systems engineer in the Washington, D.C. area and serves as Director of the Mars Society's University Rover Challenge.

Peter H. Smith
Dr. Peter Smith is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tuscon.  He also works as Project Manager and co-Principal Investigator of the HiRISE high resolution telescope that is currently orbiting Mars and sending back details photographs of the Martian surface.  He was also the Principal Investigator for NASA's Phoenix spacecraft which successfully landed on Mars' northern polar region in 2008. 

Sara Spector
Sara Spector
is a lifetime member of the Mars Society, serving as a volunteer and previously as Secretary of the Steering Committee. She has been interested in space-related subjects and activities since the age of nine. During the 1980's, Sara served as Aerospace Officer of her local CAP squadron, conducting classes and the occasional seminar. Sara is also a member of The Planetary Society, Explore Mars Inc. and the National Space Society. She was a volunteer at the NSS' International Space Development Conference in 2010 for both NSS and TMS. Sara has sponsored renovation projects at both FMARS and MDRS for TMS as well as design work for The Mars Quarterly. Sara holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and a five-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and is presently employed part-time as a pharmacist. She also has interests in environmental issues and supports several "green" organizations including the National Resources Defense Council.

Michael Stoltz


Michael Stoltz serves as the Mars Society’s Director of Media & Public Relations and Editor-in-Chief of the organization's flagship publication, The Mars Quarterly.  He has an extensive background in media and public relations, development work, non-profit management and government affairs.  Based in the Chicago area, Michael is a life-long advocate of human and robotic space exploration and has a deep interest in the field of astrobiology.  He currently works as a regional development officer for a Midwest-based university and also provides consulting services to several international non-profit organizations.  While living in Israel for 14 years, Michael served as an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also headed global resource development for one of the country’s largest public colleges.  In addition, he represented the Mars Society in Israel for a number of years.  Michael holds a Bachelor's degree in History from Creighton University and a Master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University.  

Edward Barrington Stott
Attributing his life-long fascination with the Cosmos to an early avidity for science fiction, Barry Stott founded the Rocket Society at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire before going on to Yale, then doing his Masters in Communications at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Soloing at 16, Barry has been a pilot for more than fifty years, and in addition to owning several aircraft charter firms, he has founded a variety of small high-tech companies including Trash Engineering and Stellar Door.  Barry is a Life Member of the Mars Society and, through his family foundation, has been a significant financial contributor to a variety of Mars Society programs.

Chris Vancil
Chris Vancil has been president of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Mars Society for the past ten years and is also a founding member of the Mars Society.  In addition he has been a strong advocate for the robotic and human exploration of the planet Mars from the days of NASA's Viking landers in the mid-1970s.

Robert Zubrin
Dr. Robert Zubrin is the founder and President of the Mars Society, as well as a member of the organization's Board of Directors.  Dr. Zubrin is also President of Pioneer Astronautics, an aerospace R&D company located in Lakewood, Colorado.  Formerly a Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, he holds a Master's degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Washington.  A respected author and a renown expert on Mars, Dr. Zubrin has testified in recent years before several congressional committees and in 2009 spoke in front of the Augustine Commission on the future of America's human space flight program.