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!   

[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.

Mars Arctic 365 Finalists Test at MDRS

posted Nov 18, 2014, 8:45 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 18, 2014, 9:01 AM ]

Finalist candidates for the Mars Arctic 365 Mission (MA365) are currently participating in field testing and training at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah as part of the down select process.

MDRS Crew 142 (at left), commanded by Australian engineer Digby Tarvin, and including (from left to right) engineer Christiane Heinicke (Germany), engineer Dario Paratesh (Italy), Digby Tarvin, astrobiologist Cyprien Verseux (France), environmental scientist Carmel Johnston (USA) and biologist Vincent Coljee (USA), has just completed its two-week visit at the site and has handed the station over to MDRS Crew 143, which will also operate the facility for the next two weeks. 

MDRS Crew 143 (at right) is led by planetary geologist Paul Knightly (USA) and includes, (from left to right) physicist Claude-Michel Laroche (Canada), aerospace engineer Alexandre Mangeot (France), arctic biologist Paul Sokoloff (Canada), journalist Anastasiya Stepanova (Russia), engineer Ian Silversides (Canada) and Paul Knightly. 

Reports from Crew 143 will be posted online in English, French and Russian. 

[Photo taken during pre-sim stage at MDRS]

[Blog] The Importance of Scientific Literacy to a Human Mission to Mars

posted Nov 12, 2014, 7:23 AM by M Stoltz

By Nicole Willett
Red Planet Pen Blog, Issue #31

I could start this article off with a plethora of statistics and facts about how poorly we are doing in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in the US.  But we all know how poorly our performance has been for several decades.  The fault lies with everyone, not one group of people (ex: teachers or parents) or one political party. We must all bear the responsibility for the downfall of the scientific literacy in our country.  We have all been let down and we are letting our children down.  They have been promised a bright future full of endless possibilities, such as space exploration, humans to Mars, and to the stars.

To read the full blog, please click here.

Welcome to Mars!

posted Nov 1, 2014, 3:35 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 2, 2014, 5:41 AM ]

Crew Arrives "on Mars" to Kick-Off 2014-15 MDRS Field Season 

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Crew 142 arrived on Saturday afternoon 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.

Calling All Space Advocates!

posted Nov 1, 2014, 12:28 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Nov 10, 2014, 12:20 PM ]

Join the Mars Society, the Planetary Society, the National Space Society, ExploreMars and other major space advocacy groups in participating in the 2015
Space Exploration Alliance Legislative (SEA) Blitz in Washington, D.C.! Help let members of Congress know that expanded space exploration and a human mission to the Red Planet is important to you and should be a top priority for the United States and its space agency. To sign up for the SEA campaign on Capitol Hill, scheduled to take place from February 22-25, 2015, please click here.

Sign Up for 2015 University Rover Challenge

posted Oct 20, 2014, 9:36 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Oct 20, 2014, 9:36 PM ]

Registration is now open for the Mars Society's 2015 University Rover Challenge (URC). Declare your team's intent to compete in the world's premier robotics competition for college students by December 5, 2014. 
For full details about the registration process, please visit the URC web site.

Humans to Mars as a Bridge to the Stars

posted Oct 2, 2014, 5:40 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Oct 2, 2014, 5:42 AM ]

By Nicole Willett
The Eerie Digest, 10.01.14

Becoming a space faring civilization is the goal of millions of Earthlings. If one pays attention to the universe around him, it is impossible to deny its breathtaking humility. We long to explore, to expand, to go out and touch a piece of another planetary body. This longing is what encouraged NASA and their supporters to stand behind the Apollo missions to the Moon.   President John F. Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the Moon not because it is easy… but because it is hard.” We are on the verge of a new millennial space race. On September 16, 2014 NASA announced the human return to space. They are utilizing Boeing and SpaceX to accomplish this. SpaceX and many others have plans to send humans to Mars. The interest in exploring and settling the Red Planet is obvious.   The first true plans to go to Mars were analyzed in 1948 and published in the 1950’s by Dr. Werner von Braun. 

To read the full article, please click here.

Mrs. Willett is the Director of Educational Outreach for the Mars Society.

Mars Arctic 365 Mission Finalists to Test at MDRS

posted Sep 26, 2014, 5:05 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Oct 8, 2014, 7:49 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.

Congratulations to all the MA365 finalists!

First Name

Last Name


City, Country



Ph.D Biochemistry, Molecular Biologist

Watertown, MA USA




Ph.D Engineer/Writer/Mountaineer

Erfurt, Germany




Engineer/Mechanic/Wilderness skills

Kuopio, Finland




Environmental Science Field Research

Whitefish, MT USA




Astrobiology Ph.D Candidate






Bedfordshire, UK/ Australia

commander              142             



Engineer, Adventurer, Athlete

Rome, Italy





Westminster, CO USA




Planetary Geologist

Phoenix, AZ USA

commander              143              



Aerospace Engineer

Merignac, France




Arctic Biology Field Work

Ottawa, ON Canada




Physicist & Military

St-Bruno, Quebec, Canada




Masters in Mechanical Engineering & Survival Training

Ste_Madeleine Quebec, Canada





Moscow, Russia




Electronic Engineer & Mountaineer

Tuscon, AZ USA

commander              144  



Studying to be MD, Ph.D Candidate in Snow & Ice Geophysics

Helsinki, Finland




JPL IT Engineer

Pasadena, CA USA




Survival Instructor/Biomedical Antarctic Research/Mt. Fuji Research

Yokohama, Japan




Army Officer & Chemist

Clarksville, TN USA



de Morais Teles

Geologist & Physicist

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil




MD, Human Factors Scientist

USA and UK


MA365 is a plan to simulate a one-year Mars human surface exploration mission in the Canadian high Arctic. The mission will take place at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), a simulated landed spacecraft and research station built and operated by the Mars Society on Canada’s Devon Island. Situated at 75 degrees north, less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole, the FMARS facility is perched on the rim of a 14 mile diameter meteor impact crater in the midst of a polar desert known as one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth.

The MA365 mission crew will conduct a program of field exploration, while operating under many of the same operational constraints as an actual Mars mission. In the course of doing this, crew members will learn a great deal about which methods, technologies and tactics will work best on the Red Planet. Furthermore, they will do this while dealing with the stresses that come not only from isolation, as the Mars500 crew experienced, but also cold, danger, hard work and the need to achieve real scientific results, and thus truly begin to explore the critical human factor issues facing Mars exploration. By conducting this full-dress rehearsal of a human Mars exploration expedition in a realistic habitat and environment for 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 it has ever been done before.

Image: T.Gagnon

India's First Mars Probe Makes Historic Red Planet Arrival

posted Sep 23, 2014, 8:22 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Sep 23, 2014, 8:26 PM ]

The Mars Society congratulates India and its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) for successfully reaching the Red Planet, joining the growing family of nations
currently exploring Mars and laying the ground-work for humanity's next step into the solar system.

By Mike Wall,, 09.23.14

India has joined the Mars club.

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) probe was captured by the Red Planet's gravity at 10:11 p.m. EDT Tuesday (Sept. 23; 0211 GMT and 7:41 a.m. Indian Standard Time on Wednesday, Sept. 24), making India's space agency just the fourth entity — after the United States, the European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union — to successfully place a spacecraft in Mars orbit. 

The MOM probe, which is named Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for "Mars Craft"), executed a 24-minute orbital insertion burn Tuesday night, ending a 10-month space journey that began with the spacecraft's launch on Nov. 5, 2013.

To read the full article, please click here.

Image: ISRO

2014-15 MDRS Field Season Itinerary Released

posted Sep 8, 2014, 7:30 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Sep 8, 2014, 7:46 PM ]

The Mars Society released over the weekend the official itinerary for the 2014-15 Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) field season, scheduled to take place at
the MDRS simulation facility in southern Utah from November 1, 2014 - May 23, 2015. 

The upcoming Mars simulation rotation will run six weeks longer than usual due to growing demand from scientists, teachers and graduate students to work on Mars-related science and research projects at the Mars Society's Utah station. 

For regular updates about MDRS and its crews, please visit the program's Facebook page.

+ Nov. 1 - Nov. 16  MDRS Crew 142 - Mars Arctic 365 - Team Finalist #1 (organized by Dr. Robert Zubrin)
+ Nov. 15 - Nov. 30  MDRS Crew 143 - Mars Arctic 365 - Team Finalist #2 (organized by Dr. Robert Zubrin)
+ Nov. 29 - Dec. 14  MDRS Crew 144 - Mars Arctic 365 - Team Finalist #3 (organized by Dr. Robert Zubrin)
+ Dec. 13 - Dec. 28  MDRS Crew 145 - Mars without Borders (commanded by Dr. Susan Jewell)
+ Dec. 27 - Jan. 11  MDRS Crew 146 - Mars Society Crew (commanded by Nick Orenstein)
+ Jan. 10 - Jan. 25  MDRS Crew 147 - Team ISU (commanded by Romain Charles)
+ Jan. 24 - Feb. 8  MDRS Crew 148 - Team RAR 2 (commanded by Lucie Poulet)
+ Feb. 7 - Feb. 22  MDRS Crew 149 - Tharsis Project (commanded by Paul Bakken)
+ Feb. 21 - Mar. 15  MDRS Crew 150 - Team Peru (organized by Dr. Alex Diaz)
+ Mar. 14 - Mar. 29  MDRS Crew 151 - International Emerging Space Leaders - Students from the U.S., France and Canada (commanded by Jamie Guined)
+ Mar. 28 - Apr. 12  MDRS Crew 152 - Lonestar Highlanders
+ Apr. 11 - Apr. 26  MDRS Crew 153 - Mission to Mars UCL (commanded by Bastien Mathurin)   
+ Apr. 25 - May 17  MDRS Crew 154 - TBD (3 week rotation)
+ May 16 - May 23  MDRS Crew 155 - Mars Medical Analog Team (1 week rotation - commanded by Dr. Sarah Blythe-Ballard)

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