Announcements

The Mars Society seeks to educate the public, media and government about the importance of space exploration and the necessity of a strong and sustainable Mars exploration program, including a humans-to-Mars mission in the coming decade.  To that end, the organization regularly posts various announcements, releases and articles about ongoing Mars exploration and research, as well as Mars Society news and activities.  We welcome any feedback regarding this effort.  Thank you!   

Help Restore MDRS Green House by Contributing to New Crowdfunding Campaign

posted by M Stoltz   [ updated ]

The Mars Society launched today an online crowdfunding campaign - via Indiegogo.com - to help raise $10,000 to rebuild and refurbish the green house used at the organization's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah to carry out food and plant research important for eventual human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet.

 

The MDRS green house (commonly referred to as the GreenHab) was severely damaged by fire late last year, with MDRS staff determining that the facility was unfit for further use and needed to be completely rebuilt.

 

Plans to restore the new GreenHab include building a geodesic dome designed to house an assortment of food gardens and science experiments. More efficient, easier to use and healthier for plants, the new structure will ensure that plant and food research remain a key aspect of the overall MDRS simulation program.

 

A generous donation immediately following the GreenHab fire in December allowed the Mars Society to cover the cost of a temporary grow tent for plant research during the remainder of the 2014-15 field season and also purchase materials to build the new GreenHab dome structure.

 

Since then, Mars Society staff and volunteers have constructed a small sample geodesic test unit and completed a work trip to MDRS this past weekend to lay the building foundation, with plans to return to the Utah site in September to build the new dome in time for the upcoming crew field season, which begins in mid-October.

 

While the Mars Society has been able to raise part of the funds needed to fully rebuild and restore the MDRS GreenHab, the organization currently lacks

money to equip the planned facility with the necessary tools to perform important crew research and testing.

 

MDRS staff intend to build new planters at MDRS to study dirt and regolith, install a hydroponics system that can eventually be converted into aquaponics, and purchase LED lighting, environmental controls, fans, sensors, Raspberry Pis and other supplies and equipment, all needed to ensure that crews using the GreenHab are able to provide the latest research in planning for human Mars exploration.

 

The Mars Society and MDRS staff are seeking YOUR HELP to restock and resupply the GreenHab. Contribute to future human Mars exploration by donating to our online campaign today! Thank you for your support and please help share our online campaign.

Andy Weir to Speak at 2015 Mars Society Convention Banquet

posted Jul 24, 2015, 10:06 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated ]

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the featured speaker at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention’s Saturday evening banquet
(August 15th) will be Andy Weir, author of the best-selling novel, “
The Martian,” which is scheduled to be released this October as a major motion picture starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott. Mr. Weir will address the banquet (via Skype) and then take questions from the audience.
 
Prior to Mr. Weir’s talk, Kevin Sloan, Director of the Mars Society’s 
University Rover Challenge (URC), will speak about the record-setting 2015 URC competition, which was held in late May at the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah. 44 student teams from around the world registered for this year’s event, with 22 eventually competing with their rovers in the final round, testing their remote field exploratory capabilities in the harsh Mars-like terrain of the Utah desert. Mr. Sloan’s presentation will include dramatic video footage from the three-day international competition.
 
The Mars Society banquet promises to be a great night. Please join us next month in Washington, D.C.!

For more information about the 2015 Mars Society convention, including online registration, banquet details, full program schedule and final days to reserve discount hotel rooms at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., please click here.

New Horizons Team Member to Discuss Pluto Fly-By at 2015 Mars Society Convention

posted Jul 22, 2015, 8:43 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jul 22, 2015, 3:18 PM ]

Dr. Michael Summers, a member of NASA’s science team for the New Horizons mission and a professor of planetary science and astronomy at George Mason University, will give an update about the historic fly-by of Pluto and its moon, Charon, as well as plans for the spacecraft’s next objective - exploring the Kuiper Belt - at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, August 13-16, at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
 
A planetary scientist who specializes in the structure and evolution of the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, Io, Titan, Triton, Uranus, Pluto and its moon Charon, Dr.
Summers has served on several space mission science teams (UARS, MAS, Space Shuttle, AIM, ARES Mars Airplane, among others) in the role of science planning and the interpretation of spacecraft observations. He has also participated in numerous NASA panels and research groups.
 
Prof. Summers is active in educational activities and has contributed to the development of the GMU Astronomy B.S., Physics Ph.D., CSI Ph.D., Climate Dynamics Ph.D., B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences degrees, and numerous other concentrations and curricular programs. In addition, he  serves as an advisor for education and research to NASA and the commercial space industry. 
 
Dr. Summers received a Bachelor’s degree from Murray State University (majoring in Physics, Mathematics and Russian), a M.S. degree from the University of Texas at Dallas (Space Physics) and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (Planetary Science and Astronomy).

For more information about the 2015 International Mars Society Convention, including registration details, sponsorship opportunities and a list of confirmed plenary speakers and panelists, please click here.

Schmitt, Zubrin & Dreier to Debate Future of Human Space Exploration at 2015 Mars Society Convention

posted Jul 15, 2015, 10:38 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jul 18, 2015, 3:15 PM ]

The U.S. human spaceflight program is currently adrift without a goal. It badly needs one in order to focus its efforts and insure that something concrete is accomplished over the coming decade. But what should that goal be? There is no more important question facing today’s space program. 

The Mars Society is therefore pleased to announce that it will be convening a special event at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention on the evening of Friday, August 14th, 2015, in which the question of “Where Next for Human Space Exploration” will be debated by three leading advocates. Those participating will include former Apollo 17 astronaut and U.S. Senator Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, who will represent the case for the Moon, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin, who will represent the case for Mars, and Planetary Society Director of Advocacy Casey Dreier, who will advocate the case for a step-wise approach that eventually reaches the Red Planet, but which targets missions to Mars orbit first.

The public debate will be formal, with each contender, in order chosen by lot, making a 15 minute opening statement, followed by 5 minutes of rebuttal from each, and then 45 minutes of questions to the panel posed by members of the audience. The event will follow directly after a plenary talk by Dr. Schmitt entitled: “The Moon: the Fastest Operational Path to Mars.” 

There will be over 60 other speakers at the Mars Society conference, which will run from August 13 through August 16 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The convention's full program itinerary, covering subjects ranging from near term robotic Mars exploration to the settlement of the Red Planet and its implications for the human future, is now online. 

Those interested in attending the convention can register via the Mars Society web site. Discount hotel rooms are available (until Saturday, July 25th) from the Phoenix Park Hotel, located just two metro stops away from the convention site. Those wishing to obtain a room should call the hotel at 877-237-2082. Please mention that you are attending the Mars Society convention (group code 19866).

NOW ONLINE: 2015 Mars Society Convention Itinerary

posted Jul 13, 2015, 7:31 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jul 13, 2015, 7:43 AM ]

The full program itinerary for the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention has been posted online. 

The conference will include a series of plenary talks, panel discussions and public debates involving leading experts, scientists and policymakers discussing the latest news on Mars exploration and planning for a human mission to the Red Planet. 

Join us at our international convention, scheduled for August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
 
Convention highlights include:

  • + An address by Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division Jim Green on U.S. planning for Mars exploration.
  • + A public debate between Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp and two MIT graduate research fellows.
  • + A talk with Google Vice President & Internet pioneer Dr. Vint Cerf on long-term planning for Mars and beyond.
  • + A special banquet address by science writer and author Andy Weir on his book, “The Martian.”
  • + A briefing by the Heritage Foundation’s Dean Cheng on China’s space policy and program.
  • + An update by NASA’s Dr. Bruce Jakosky on the MAVEN Mars orbiter mission.
  • + A discussion by the Atlantic Council’s Dr. Bhrath Gopalaswamy on current and future planning for India’s space program.
  • + A public debate on the future of human spaceflight involving former Apollo astronaut Dr. Harrison Schmitt, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin and Planetary Society Director of Advocacy Casey Dreier.
  • + A talk by Goddard Space Flight Center’s Dr. Pam Conrad on the search for life on the Red Planet. 

To view the Mars Society convention’s full program itinerary, please click here 

For additional details about the convention, including how to register online, please visit our web site.

Mars One to Debate MIT Critics at Mars Society Convention

posted Jun 30, 2015, 7:56 AM by M Stoltz

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that a formal debate will be held at its 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. August 13-16, 2015 on the proposition: “Is Mars One Feasible?”
 
Leading the affirmative team will be Mars One President Bas Lansdorp. The negative proposition will be argued by Sydney Do and Andrew Owens, two
members of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology team that 
published a headline-making critique of the Mars One plan late last year.
 
At a public event on the evening of Thursday, August 13th, the two sides will have it out. The debate will begin with the negative team speaking for 20 minutes, followed by the affirmative team for 20 minutes. Then each side will have 10 minutes for rebuttal, after which there will be 30 minutes for questions from the audience, which may be directed to either side for a two minute answer, to be rebutted by the other with equal time.
 
Is Mars One feasible? Come and hear both sides and decide for yourself!

Call for Papers/Early Registration
There will be dozens of speakers at the 2015 Mars Society conference. If you would like to be one of them, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to abstracts@marssociety.org. The deadline for abstracts is June 30th at 5:00 pm MDT. Talks on all matters (science, engineering, politics, economics, public policy, etc.) associated with the exploration and settlement of Mars will be considered. 
Registration for the 2015 conference is available at www.marssociety.org. Discount early registration ends (today) June 30th at 5:00 pm MDT, so register now!

ONE DAY LEFT for Early Registration & Abstract Submission for Mars Society Convention

posted Jun 29, 2015, 1:53 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jun 29, 2015, 1:53 PM ]

The Mars Society will be holding the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention on August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in
Washington, D.C. Dozens of leading scientists, policymakers, journalists and space advocates will be discussing the latest news about Mars exploration and the planning for a human mission to the Red Planet.
 
Those interested in attending should take advantage of the EARLY REGISTRATION TICKET DISCOUNT available until Tuesday, June 30th at 5:00 pm MDT and sign up to attend the Mars Society convention this summer. Online registration is available at 
the Mars Society web site. There are special rates for Mars Society members. In many cases, you can save money by joining our organization today.
 
In addition, Tuesday, June 30th is also the DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING ABSTRACT PAPERS for consideration for the Mars Society convention. Subjects for discussion can involve all matters associated with the exploration and settlement of the planet Mars, including science, technology, engineering, politics, economics, public policy, etc. For full details, please 
click here.

Learn more about Mars and ongoing efforts to encourage human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet by joining us this August in Washington, D.C.!

NASA Researcher to Speak about Martian Surface Chemistry at 2015 Mars Society Convention

posted Jun 24, 2015, 3:25 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jun 24, 2015, 6:25 PM ]

Dr. Jennifer Stern, a NASA space scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, will give a plenary talk about the chemical make-up of the Martian

surface and the potential for life on the Red Planet at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for August 13-16, 2015 at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. 

Dr. Stern specializes in the study of the atmosphere and surface of Mars and instrument development for geo-chemical measurements on planetary surfaces. She is a member of the science team for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover Curiosity and also a team member on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite, one of the 10 instruments on Curiosity, which uses mass and laser spectrometry to measure the chemical composition of the Red Planet’s atmosphere and surface. 

Dr. Stern has a B.A. in Geology-Biology from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from Florida State University, where she developed analytical techniques for isotope and trace metal analysis of environmental waters in order to trace the impacts of agriculture in the Florida Everglades and methane emissions from landfills. She decided to apply her interest in geochemistry to astrobiology as a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Goddard Space Flight Center, where she studied how organic molecules can be formed by non-biological processes occurring in meteorites and at hydro-thermal vents. 

Today, in parallel with her participation on the Curiosity team conducting experiments on Mars, Dr. Stern participates in field expeditions to places where geo-chemical processes similar to those that may have occurred on Mars are recorded in Earth’s rock record, such as Greenland, Svalbard and southern Mexico. 

For more information about the 2015 International Mars Society Convention, including registration details, sponsorship opportunities and a list of confirmed plenary speakers and panelists, please click here.

What Does the Mars Society Do?

posted Jun 19, 2015, 12:12 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Jun 19, 2015, 12:13 AM ]

By Nicole Willett
Red Planet Pen Blog, Issue #33

The latest episode of Neil DeGrasse-Tyson’s Star Talk, featuring, Bill Nye, President of The Planetary Society, Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, and
Astrophysicist, Dr. Michael Shara, was chock full of great information and insight.  While watching, my heart ached for our civilization to understand the importance of a manned mission to Mars.  Charles Bolden stated NASA’s plan is to be on Mars around 2030 with the current budget of half of one percent of the US budget, we believe with more resources and cooperation from various countries and private organizations we could be on Mars sooner and possibly cheaper.  A major reason for needing a human touch on Mars is for exactly what Bill Nye stated which is that a human scientist could do in one minute the job that a robot does in a week, it’s about a ratio of 1:10,000.  The problem was stated clearly by Dr. Michael Shara, “Frankly, we are not as brave as we should be.” These statements are extraordinarily important to be shared with the public.  We are 
not as brave or as curious as we should be. Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of The Mars Society and one of the bravest men I have ever known, says we could be on Mars in ten years with the proper funding.

Aren’t you curious? Is curiosity lost to our civilization for the most part?  Some days I think it is.  I often get asked this question, “What does The Mars Society do?”  This question sometimes frustratingly comes from a place of condescension and rarely a place of curiosity.  I have to remind myself that the work we are doing here is to take humans to another planet, an event that would change human history and that most people unfortunately have no concept of why it is so important. The short answer is:  We are an advocacy group to promote the human exploration and settlement of Mars.  Our goal is to educate the public through our Education Department, bring like-minded people together at chapter meetings and our annual conventions, and promote a human mission to Mars via projects and competitions.  Sounds simple right?  Well, not really. You see, people really like the societal pleasures of who is who, who is wearing who, what team are you for, what kind of car do you drive, what do you do for a living???? On and on this goes.  Meanwhile, billions of people are left uninformed of what is really important: Curiosity, knowledge, and exploration.  Instilling curiosity, providing access to true knowledge of scientific facts, and the goal of Mars exploration by humans, is an important part of what we are trying to accomplish.

To read the full blog, please click here.
[Image: NASA]

NASA Scientist to Give Update on Mars 2020 Rover at 2015 Mars Society Convention in Washington, D.C.

posted Jun 13, 2015, 5:58 AM by M Stoltz

Dr. Deborah Bass, Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, will discuss the planned exploration mission at the 18th Annual International Mars
Society Convention, scheduled for August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
 
Dr. Bass also serves as Section Manager for Mission Systems Engineering at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where she and her team focus on making spacecraft, software and processes easier to operate. In addition, she has conducted independent research on the Martian water cycle, focusing on surface-atmosphere interactions.
 
While a post-doc at the Southwest Research Institute (in San Antonio), Dr. Bass was involved with the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander and also the highly successful Cassini mission. When Dr. Bass joined JPL in 2001, she acted as the Science Operations System Engineer and later Deputy Science Team Chief for the Mars Exploration Rovers Mission. After MERs’ primary missions, Dr. Bass moved to the Phoenix Mars Lander Project where she was appointed Deputy Project Scientist. 
 
Dr. Bass received her bachelor's degree in Geology from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in Planetary Geology from UCLA.
 

For more information about the 2015 International Mars Society Convention, including registration details, sponsorship opportunities and a list of confirmed plenary speakers and panelists, please click here.
 

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