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!   

Eyes in the Martian Sky (Red Planet Pen Blog, Issue #28)

posted Apr 17, 2014, 7:58 PM by M Stoltz

By Kathryn Sharp, Red Planet Pen Blog (Issue #28)

While the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity cruise the surface of Mars, three operating satellites orbit above, keeping a keen eye on the planet. In addition to
documenting the surface of Mars with an unprecedented level of detail, these satellites continue to provide critical support for ground missions. They relay vital communications between the rovers and Earth, monitor surface weather, look for safe driving paths around large boulders, and identify points of interest for further study. Although they often work in tandem to support the rovers, each orbiter has made its own fundamental contributions to our understanding of the Red Planet.

The oldest of the three currently operational satellites orbiting Mars is the 2001 Mars Odyssey. Named as a tribute to science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s beloved work “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Mars Odyssey has been plugging away for well over a decade in low Mars orbit and has set the record as the longest serving spacecraft orbiting a planet other than Earth. Early in its mission, Mars Odyssey surprised scientists by detecting levels of water ice in the Martian soil that far exceeded expectations. This discovery intensified interest in the history of water on Mars and what that history could mean for the possibility of life there. Though perhaps its most important science work is done, Mars Odyssey has been granted numerous mission extensions, primarily to serve as a telecommunications relay between rovers Opportunity and Curiosity and Earth.

To read the full blog, please click here.

[Image: NASA/JPL]

MDRS Crew 139 Posts Final Mission Report

posted Apr 17, 2014, 7:54 PM by M Stoltz

The following is the final mission report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 139. A full review of this year's activities and research at MDRS will be presented at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held August 7-10, 2014 at the South Shore Harbor Resort in League City, Texas (outside Houston near NASA’s Johnson Space Center). 
Our crew had been preparing for months, and finally, the time had come. On Saturday, April 5th, we landed on Mars and gazed at the Mars Hab and the
gorgeous landscape it is surrounded by, for the first time. The crew, composed of Executive Officer Joshua MacFie, biologist Kelsey Compagnon, chemist Dylan Kirby, astronomer Kyle Flaherty, HSO and geologist Liz Painter, and myself, Commander Paulina Sidwell, set foot in the Hab on Saturday afternoon and began our mission.
We spent a few hours being briefed by crew 139, who did a fantastic job getting us up to speed and showing us what our duties and tasks would be for the following week. Having been here before, I was impressed by the clean state the Hab was in and the recent renovations that had been done. However, we also learned that we would be sharing the Hab with a family of Martian rodents that refused to vacate the facilities despite previous crews’ efforts. We said goodbye to the departing crew, and began our activities. As we settled in, the crew started feeling the excitement and anticipation of waking up Sunday in-sim.

To read the full report, please click here.

Bas Lansdorp to Discuss Mars One Planning at 2014 Mars Society Convention

posted Apr 15, 2014, 10:04 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Apr 15, 2014, 10:07 PM ]

Bas Lansdorp, CEO and Co-Founder of Mars One, will give a plenary talk about his organization’s current planning for the Red Planet at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held August 7-10, 2014 at the South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, Texas, just outside Houston near NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Mr. Lansdorp is a Dutch entrepreneur and holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Twente in 2003. For five years, he worked at Delft University of Technology and in 2008 founded Ampyx Power in order to develop a new, viable method of generating wind energy. Mr. Lansdorp sold his majority interest in Ampyx in 2011 in order to launch the Mars One initiative. 

Mars One is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands that has put forward conceptual plans to establish a permanent human settlement on the planet Mars by 2024. Planning includes sending four trained applicants to the Red Planet, becoming the first residents of Mars, with every step of the crew’s journey being documented for a reality television program.

For more details about the 2014 International Mars Society Convention, please click here.

Winner of 2014 Mars Society Poster Contest Announced

posted Apr 10, 2014, 5:25 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Apr 11, 2014, 5:08 AM ]

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2014 Mars Society Poster Contest is Scott Porter, a Ph.D. student studying architecture at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Each participant (12 in total) in this year's competition was required to submit a poster design that best represented the theme - ‘Blazing the Path to Mars’ - for the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held August 7-10 in League City, Texas (just outside Houston). 

In addition, the Mars Society would like to express its appreciation to the second and third place winners - Jamie Polancic and Miguel Cooper (respectively). The organization would also like to recognize two additional artists for honorable mention - Katarina Eriksson Marka and Joseph Sweeney.

To view the winning poster as a PDF document, please click here.

Kepler PI William Borucki to Give Update at Mars Society Convention

posted Apr 9, 2014, 2:09 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Apr 9, 2014, 2:10 PM ]

William Borucki, Principal Investigator for the Kepler Mission, NASA’s planet-hunting space telescope, will present an update at the 17th Annual International

Mars Society Convention, scheduled for August 7-10, 2014 in League City, Texas (just outside Houston, near NASA's Johnson Space Center). 

The Kepler space telescope was developed to determine the frequency of terrestrial planets orbiting in and near the habitable zones of other stars. Launched in March 2009, Kepler and its follow-up observations have found, as of early 2014, nearly 1,000 confirmed exoplanets. 

A veteran space scientist in the Astrobiology and Space Research Directorate of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mr. Borucki led the design and operation of the Kepler space telescope and specializes in research on the detection of extrasolar planets and planetary lightning. 

Mr. Borucki received a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1962 and then moved to Silicon Valley where he first worked on the development of the heat shield for the Apollo mission in the Hypersonic Free Flight Branch at NASA Ames. 

After NASA’s successful moon landings, he transferred to the Theoretical Studies Branch where he investigated lightning activity in planetary atmospheres and developed mathematical models to predict the effects of nitric oxides and chlorofluoromethanes on Earth’s ozone layer.

For more details about the 2014 Mars Society Convention, please visit our web site.

NASA ISRU Chief Engineer Jerry Sanders to Speak at Mars Society Convention

posted Apr 1, 2014, 6:13 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Apr 1, 2014, 9:19 PM ]

Gerald (Jerry) Sanders, In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Chief Engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), will give a plenary address to the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held August 7-10 at the South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, Texas (just outside Houston). 

Mr. Sanders has worked at NASA JSC for over 26 years, primarily in the Propulsion and Power Division of the Engineering Directorate, and has extensive experience in chemical propulsion, fluid systems and ISRU. In the field of ISRU, he has supported or led most major architecture studies, technology road mapping and hardware development activities associated with Mars and Lunar ISRU within the agency for the last 15 years.

To move ISRU from paper to reality, Mr. Sanders co-led and coordinated three international ISRU analog field tests in Hawaii on Mauna Kea (2008, 2010 and 2012) where ISRU technologies, systems and operations were evaluated. He also helped propose and develop two ISRU related robotic precursor experiment development activities; the Mars In-situ propellant production Precursor (MIP), which was manifested on the cancelled 2001 Mars Surveyor mission, and the Regolith and Environment Science & Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) experiment which is being considered for flight in 2018. 

Besides ISRU, he has worked extensively in the area of crewed vehicle and in-space chemical propulsion development. He also served as the NASA propulsion lead for Russian propulsion and propellant transfer systems for the International Space Station from 1992 to 1998, and served as the Chief for the Propulsion and Fluid Systems Branch in the Engineering Directorate at NASA JSC for four years (2001-2005) and Deputy for three years (1998-2001).

The Mars Society convention speakers list will be posted online in the coming weeks.

Call for Papers

It is an anticipated that there will be dozens of speakers at the August conference. If you would like to be one of them, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to The deadline for abstracts is June 30, 2014. Talks on all matters (science, engineering, politics, economics, public policy, etc.) associated with the exploration and settlement of Mars will be considered.

Convention Details 

Online registration for the Mars Society conference is now open. Rooms at the South Shore Harbour Resort are available at a specially discounted rate of $100/night for single or double occupancy for Mars Society conference attendees. 

Latest Mars Society Events & Programs - Get Involved!!! (Blog)

posted Mar 31, 2014, 5:17 PM by M Stoltz

By Nicole Willett, Red Planet Pen Blog (Issue #27)

Annual conventions have become a staple of the Mars Society. Many leading scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs hold plenary talks and participate in panel discussions regarding many aspects of the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet. The 17th
 Annual Mars Society Convention will be held from August 7-10, 2014 in the Houston area in League City, Texas (near NASA’s Johnson Space Center). The convention will be held at the South Shore Harbour Resort.

The Mars Society invites presentations for the 17th Annual International 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.

If you would like to submit an abstract to be considered for a presentation at the convention you may email your submission here. Email is preferred, however you may mail your submission to The Mars Society, 11111 West 8th Avenue, Unit A, Lakewood, CO 80215 . The submissions are to be no more than 300 words and must be submitted by June 30th. A few of the proposed conference sessions are:

  • The search for life on Mars
  • Latest findings from Mars spacecraft
  • Why Mars?
  • Plans for 2014 Mars missions and beyond
  • Curiosity rover – research & accomplishments
  • Concepts for future robotic Mars missions
  • For further details and a full list of conference sessions, please click here.
To read the full blog, please click here.

MDRS Crew 138 Posts Final Mission Report

posted Mar 31, 2014, 4:22 PM by M Stoltz

The following is the final mission report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 138. A complete review of this year's activities at MDRS will be presented at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention, which will be held August 7-10, 2014 at the South Shore Harbor Resort in League City, Texas (outside Houston near NASA’s Johnson Space Center). 

MDRS Crew 138

Commander: Jamie Guined M.Ed., MBA, CSCS, FMS

Executive Officer, GreenHab Officer: Avid Roman-Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Health & Safety Officer, Crew Biologist: Bechara (Besh) Saab, Ph.D.

Crew Geologist: Johanna Hoyt, M.S.

Crew Journalist: Jimmy (Jim) Urquhart

Crew Engineer: Jay Berger, B.S.

Mission Overview

Crew 138 is comprised of a team of highly-skilled professionals with varied backgrounds who were selected by the Mars Society to undertake a two-week interdisciplinary expedition at the Mars Desert Research Station.  The Crew’s activities ranged in scope from preparing operational handbooks and checklists for the Mars Desert Research Station, performing hardware and logistical evaluations for future research at MDRS, an analysis of Google Earth as a tool for geological field mapping, evaluations of commercial-off-the-shelf engineering and electrical components, the design of a Mars EVA work day functional task battery, and assessing the viability for incorporating an exercise countermeasures hardware and program into the Mars Desert Research Station.

Mission Objectives

The primary objectives of the Crew 138 expedition are as follows:

+ Develop operational handbooks and checklists for MDRS

+ Assess the viability for integrating exercise countermeasures hardware and an exercise countermeasure program into MDRS

+ Develop a proof-of-concept Mars EVA Work Day functional task battery

+ Engineering & hardware evaluation of a variety of biomedical monitoring devices

+ Logical analyses for future biomedical & biological research at MDRS

+ Extravehicular activity (EVA) reconnaissance techniques

+ Investigate varying degrees of crew autonomy and its effects on efficiency and productivity during EVA

+ Evaluate accuracy of Google mapping of remotely sensed imaging

+ Photography and videography of expedition

+ Facilitate educational and public outreach activities.

To read the full mission report, please click here.

Mars Society Posts Inspiration Mars Student Design Reports Online

posted Mar 28, 2014, 3:48 PM by M Stoltz

The Mars Society recently announced that 10 student teams had been chosen as finalists in the International Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest, a

worldwide competition involving the design of a two-person Mars flyby mission for 2018. 38 teams representing 56 universities in 15 countries registered for the contest.

Each team competing in the competition was required to submit a 50-page design report, which provided the basis for selecting the 21 semifinalists and eventually the 10 finalists. The final 10 have been invited to present and defend their architectural and engineering conceptions before a panel of judges chosen by the Mars Society, Inspiration Mars and NASA next month at the NASA Ames Research Center. 

“I am amazed at the extraordinary strength and quality of the work set forth by these student teams. Their designs will be of enormous benefit to Inspiration Mars, the global space community and anyone else who is willing to step up and take on the challenge of planning a humans-to-Mars mission. Our student participants have shown that a new generation of talented young engineers is ready to pick up and carry the banner of human space exploration into the future,” said Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin. 

To provide a greater understanding of the high quality work that has been done in the contest by our student participants, the Mars Society has posted online the full design reports of all finalists and semifinalists, as well as those teams which received honorable mention. 

Finalists (10)

Delta V (Russia)

Mars 18 (Germany)

Joint Ventures in Mars Exploration (USA)

Immortal (USA)

Eclipse (USA)

Adrestia (The Netherlands)

Team Kanau (Japan)


Indo-Martian Express (India)

Space Is More (Poland)

Semifinalists (11 - additional teams that were chosen for the semifinals)

Mars IV (Poland)

Exhaustive Space Architecture (USA)

WUT Dream Team (Poland)

Team Barsoom (USA)

Mars Is Not Our Limit (India)

Notre Dame (USA)

York-RMIT (Canada)

Ares-M (USA)

AJ-SICSA Mars Design (USA)

Team Russia (Russia)

Cranspace (UK)

Honorable Mentions (8)

Vimania Notion (India)

Spectre Mars (UK)

Mars Plus (USA/Italy)

Team Jasper (USA)

Hyshire (USA)

Barsoom Inception (Bangladesh)

IUT Astronaut (Bangladesh)

Red Rock Trailblazers (USA)

For more details about the International Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest, please visit the Mars Society web site.

Latest Issue of The Mars Quarterly (TMQ) Online

posted Mar 27, 2014, 9:04 AM by M Stoltz

The latest issue of The Mars Quarterly (TMQ) is now available online.

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