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!   

Methane Discovered on Mars

posted Dec 17, 2014, 1:47 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Dec 17, 2014, 2:16 PM ]

NASA scientists announced yesterday that the Curiosity rover has detected methane on the planet Mars. The announcement, which was discussed at some length in the New York Times and detailed in a peer-reviewed article in Science, is of extraordinary importance. 

The origin of the methane discovered by Curiosity is unknown. However, because of the high level of ambient ultraviolet radiation, methane cannot last in the Martian atmosphere for more than a few decades. Therefore, any methane found on Mars today had to be made recently, and not in the distant past.

Furthermore, there are only two ways that methane could be created on today’s Mars: via biogenic or hydrothermal processes. Therefore, either Curiosity has actually found life on the Red Planet, or it has provided proof of a subsurface environment that could readily support life. 

In addition, another striking aspect of the Curiosity discovery is that the concentration of methane detected varies sharply over time. That can only be the case if the source of the methane is locally concentrated, as a globally spread source could not cause such sharp variations. Thus, there may be a patch of ground relatively close to Curiosity which is the source of the emissions, and, therefore, a prime target to drill in an attempt to find subsurface life. Similar biologically suspect spots may well exist elsewhere. We need to locate such spots, and then send human explorers to drill and find out what lies beneath.

Is life unique to Earth or a general phenomenon in the universe? Is life as we know it on Earth the pattern for all life everywhere or are we just one example drawn from a much vaster array of possibilities? These are questions that thinking men and women have pondered for thousands of years. Curiosity has now revealed to us where the answers may finally be found.

For the past four decades, NASA’s human spaceflight program has been adrift, seeking to find a purpose for itself without success. That purpose has now been found.

Mars. If we wish to know, we must go.

[Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SAM-GSFC/Univ. of Michigan]

Support the Mars Society Today!

posted Dec 17, 2014, 6:01 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Dec 17, 2014, 6:04 AM ]

Support Mars exploration, research and education by helping the Mars Society!

The Mars Society is the world's largest and most influential space advocacy organization dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the planet Mars. 

Established by Dr. Robert Zubrin and others in 1998, our group works to educate the public, the media and government on the benefits of exploring Mars and creating a permanent human presence on the Red Planet.  

Mars Society activities include:

+ Mars analog simulations in Utah and Canada

+ The University Rover Challenge

+ The Youth Rover Challenge

+ Public outreach and educational programs

+ Political advocacy efforts

+ Privately-funded research

+ Chapter meetings in the U.S. and around the world

+ The Annual International Mars Society Convention

Please consider a donation (tax deductible in the U.S.) to the Mars Society to help advance our work to promote humans-to-Mars! Get involved today!

Mars Desert Research Station Crew 144 - Final Report

posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:43 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Dec 16, 2014, 5:44 PM ]

The following is the final report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 144, which recently wrapped up its two week field visit to the Mars Society's Mars surface
simulation facility in southern Utah.

 
Mission Summary
By Greg Leonard
 
Two weeks ago, crew members from across the globe arrived in the remote, high desert town of Hanksville, Utah, home of the Mars Society’s ‘
Mars Desert Research Station’ (MDRS) astronaut analog facility, in great anticipation for our MDRS-144 mission. In the two weeks that followed, this Mars analog research facility became a center for interdisciplinary research, creative outreach, and most importantly a training and proving ground for living and working within the confines of a simulated Mars surface exploration mission. We all believe, very soon, that humans will break the bonds of Earth to begin human-based Mars research exploration and settlement on the Red Planet.
 
There was a palpable sense of validation in our shared dream of Mars exploration, supported by the fact that despite coming from different nationalities (USA, UK, Brazil, Finland, and Japan), age generations, genders, and professional disciplines, the crew is here together and willing to provide service to the advancement of space pioneerism.  In addition to our MDRS mission, the team members are finalist candidates for the 
Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission scheduled to take place at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in the Canadian Arctic in 2015. We are competing with two other highly qualified teams for the opportunity to test ourselves and demonstrate human capability to survive and thrive at FMARS.

To read the full mission report, please click here.

Field Testing for MA365 Program Wraps Up at MDRS Habitat

posted Dec 13, 2014, 8:12 PM by M Stoltz


The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Crew 144 completed its two week visit to the Utah-based Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) today, ending the field testing and training period for finalist candidates for the Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission. For additional details about the MA365 program, please click here.

Army Officer Competes for Mars Arctic 365 Program

posted Dec 9, 2014, 6:30 PM by M Stoltz

By Walter T. Ham IV
U.S. Army (www.army.mil) 

MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION, Utah (Dec. 9, 2014) -- A U.S. Army 1st lieutenant is competing to spend a year on a Canadian Island with the Mars Arctic 365 program.

At the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, 1st Lt. Heidi Beemer is taking part in a Mars simulation this month.

Beemer is a decontamination platoon leader from the 63rd Chemical Company, 83rd Chemical Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade, 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), the U.S. Department of Defense's only formation that combats CBRNE threats around the world.

Beemer, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, said three teams are competing to be the first crew to spend one year in an analog Martian simulation at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, Canada.

The program is run by the Mars Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to human Martian exploration research.

To read the full article, please click here.

Mars Desert Research Station Crew 143 - Final Report

posted Dec 6, 2014, 10:57 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Dec 6, 2014, 10:57 AM ]

The following is the final report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 143, which recently completed its nearly two week field rotation at the Mars

Society's Mars surface simulation facility in southern Utah.

When Crew 143 arrived at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) on the afternoon of November 15, each crew member had only just met the others barely a day before. The Crew is a cross section of disciplines and nationalities from around the world, including professions from the sciences, engineering and journalism with the countries of Canada, France, Russia, and the United States of America represented. English and French were the primary languages that helped bind this crew together and with a shared interest in space, everyone was eager to not only pursue their own research goals, but to assist others with the performing of theirs. 

To read the full Crew 143 report, please click here.

2015-16 MDRS Crew Applications Now Being Accepted

posted Nov 26, 2014, 8:11 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 26, 2014, 8:21 PM by Michael Stoltz ]

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the 2015-2016 Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) field season application is now available on the MDRS web site

There are special crew opportunities for this upcoming season. Crew 156 will be an all engineering team, while Crew 170 is open to all veteran MDRS crew members who served on Crews 1-70. Standard fees are waived for both of these crews. We are also accepting crew applications for one, three and four week rotations at MDRS. 

For more details and a listing of other crew options, please visit the MDRS web site.

[Image: J.Urquhart]

Donate to the Mars Society via Amazon.com!

posted Nov 25, 2014, 8:10 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 12:16 PM ]

Planning to shop at Amazon.com for the holidays and want to help support the Mars Society and its important work? Then visit Amazon Smile, a wonderful program
that benefits non-profit organizations and their causes!

Amazon.com will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the Mars Society! It's a great way to promote Mars exploration and space advocacy during the holiday season!

To make a donation to the Mars Society via Amazon Smile, please click here. Thanks!

Mars Desert Research Station Crew 142 - Final Report

posted Nov 25, 2014, 5:03 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 5:04 AM ]

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. 

In addition, as the first crew of the season, we had the task of bringing the hab back online, including not only the expected amount of cleaning and organizing, but also creating inventories, and identifying and addressing a number of significant equipment deficiencies in order to achieve a state where we could conduct a full sim. All of this had to be done in the absence of an up to date operations manual, as the new one is still in the process of being prepared. A number of teething troubles still remained, such as unreliability of some ATVs and a very delicate toilet system.  But these are all issues that could occur on Mars, and were dealt with accordingly. 

The crew operated in sim from the evening of Tuesday 4th November till the evening of Friday 14th following as faithfully as possible a regimen that would be likely to apply at a human outpost on Mars. This included first aid training and a number of safety drills/rehearsals, scrupulous water discipline (relaxed only where needed to keep the toilet running) and exercises to maintain physical fitness. We also hosted two media visits during our rotation, in addition to local media interviews before and after in France, Germany, Italy, England, and Australia.

To read the full Crew report, please click here.

[Video] A Trip to Mars - ABC4 Utah

posted Nov 21, 2014, 6:46 AM by M Stoltz

A trip to Mars: ABC4 explores a Mars simulation project in southern Utah

By Tasmin Mahfuz, ABC4 Utah

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Ever wanted to visit Mars? ABC4 had an exclusive tour of a Mars simulation space project in Hanksville. Even though Mars is millions of miles away, it's not stopping enthusiasts from their very own martian expedition in southern Utah.

Six selected strangers from around the world met at the Mars Society Desert Research Station (MDRS) to live as if they're in outer space.

For two weeks, MDRS Crew 142 worked as a team to identify the challenges that scientists would face if they were actually on martian soil.

The crew was led by commander Digby Tarvin (Australia) and the lucky applicants joining the space odyssey were Christiane Heinicke (Germany), Dario Paratesh, Italy, Cyprien Verseux (France), Carmel Johnston (USA) and Vincent Coljee (USA).

To read the full article and view the video, please click here.

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