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Father of Robert Zubrin Passes Away

The Mars Society is sorry to announce that Charles Zubrin, father of Dr. Robert Zubrin, passed away late last week at the age of 100. A descendant of Russian Jewish immigrants, Mr. Zubrin was an army veteran of World War II, a successful businessman and world traveler. He will be truly missed by family and friends.  … READ MORE >

Mars Society President Tours Russia

Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin recently concluded a whirlwind tour of Russia, giving a series of seven talks in Moscow and St. Petersburg and conducting meetings with Russian space leaders and numerous interviews with Russian press along the way. Dr. Zubrin arrived in Moscow on May 26th, and after attending a gathering that evening went on to give interviews with Komsomolnaya Pravda Radio, Izvestia and Life TV the following day. On May 28th he spoke at the TEDx Moscow… READ MORE >

NASA Mars Czar Jim Watzin to Speak at 2016 Mars Society Convention

Jim Watzin, Director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, will address the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for September 22-25, 2016 on the campus of Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Appointed “Mars Czar” in December 2014, Mr. Watzin oversees NASA’s Mars portfolio and budget, helps shape the robotic exploration of the Red Planet, including current planning for the Mars 2020 rover mission, and develops strategies for future Mars research and programs. Prior to this role, Mr. Watzin served as… READ MORE >

Volunteer for 2016 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is convening its 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for September 22-25, 2016 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Every year, members and non-members who volunteer to help at the international convention (a minimum of ten hours required) receive free entry to the four-day conference. Please let us know if you’re interested in serving this year as a volunteer. Contact Nicole (nicolew@marssociety.org) for full details. Thanks!  … READ MORE >

URC2016 Crowns Back-to-Back Champions

The 2016 University Rover Challenge concluded on Saturday (June 4th) at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah as 28 rovers and more than 300 college students took on the harsh Mars-like terrain of this unique venue.  Following two rounds of competition and five different events over a three-day period, the Legendary Rover Team from Rzeszow University of Technology in Poland defended their title from 2015 with another amazing victory. The podium was rounded out by… READ MORE >

First Day of Excitement Kicks Off 2016 University Rover Challenge

The tenth annual rendition of the Mars Society’s University Rover Challenge (URC) featured an exciting Semi-Finals round of competition on Thursday, June 2nd at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah. The international robotics competition for college students, which is part of the Rover Challenge Series, features an elite field of teams vying to build the world’s best student-designed Mars rover. The Semi-Finals round of competition is a new feature for URC. Teams were required to compete in… READ MORE >

Mars Society President Visiting Russia

Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin will be visiting Russia from 28 May 28 – 3 June for a series of lectures and discussions [in English] on Mars exploration and planning for a human mission to the Red Planet. This will be Dr. Zubrin’s second trip to the Russian Federation over the last two years, focusing on cultivating a growing interest among the Russian scientific community and public in exploring the planet Mars and meeting with members of Russia’s Mars… READ MORE >

NASA Scientist to Provide Update on Search for Signs of Current & Past Life on Mars

Dr. Geronimo Villanueva, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, will present an update about the ongoing search for trace signatures of current and ancient life on the planet Mars during the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for September 22-25, 2016 at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. A Ph.D. recipient from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, Dr. Villanueva specializes in the search for organic molecules on Mars and nearby icy… READ MORE >

10 Teams Selected as Finalists for International Gemini Mars Design Competition

Viewing a lack of direction in the U.S. human spaceflight program, the Mars Society launched the International Gemini Mars Design Competition in August 2015 in an effort to provide focus and encourage a serious humans-to-Mars initiative. The new contest invited U.S. and international engineering students to create a plan for a two-person Mars flyby mission that could be placed on the desk of the President-elect in November 2016 and completed by the end of his or her second term in… READ MORE >

MDRS Field Season Comes to a Close

The 2015-16 Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) field season officially came to a close this weekend as Crew 169 (Team Peru IV) departed the Mars Society habitat in Utah. The next field season begins in September, one month earlier than usual. New crews, including our Mars 160 mission participants, will use MDRS to train and prepare for humans-to-Mars. As always we want to thank our tremendous Mission Support team for their hard work over the course of the season. Without… READ MORE >

2016 Mars Society Poster Contest Winner Announced

The Mars Society is very pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Mars Society Poster Contest. After reviewing over a dozen design submissions, a committee made up of senior Mars Society staff selected a poster created by Bill Wright, a freelance science fiction illustrator, as the first place winner. Design artists were asked to create a poster that uses the theme “Mars: A Mission for the Next Administration, Not the Next Generation,” for the 19th Annual International Mars Society… READ MORE >

Jim Green to Discuss NASA’s International Cooperation at Mars at 2016 Mars Society Convention

Dr. Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, will address the U.S. agency’s current and future plans for international cooperation and partnership on exploring the planet Mars at the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for September 22-25 at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Green began his NASA career in 1980 at Marshall Space Flight Center’s Magnetospheric Physics Branch where he developed and managed the Space Physics Analysis Network (SPAN). From 1985 to 1992 he served as… READ MORE >

SpaceX Announces Plans for Dragon Mission to Mars

By Jeff Foust, SpaceNews, 04.28.16 WASHINGTON — SpaceX announced April 27 it plans to send an uncrewed Dragon spacecraft to the surface of Mars as soon as 2018 on a technology demonstration mission aided by expertise, but not funding, from NASA. The company said it planned to launch a Dragon 2 spacecraft dubbed “Red Dragon” to Mars on a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle as soon as the next launch window for Mars missions, which opens in the spring of 2018…. READ MORE >

2016 Mars Society Convention to Receive Updates about Kepler & Webb Telescopes

Two senior scientists involved with the Kepler Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope will present timely updates about the two observatory missions at the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for September 22-25 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Dr. Paul Hertz, Director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division Science Mission Directorate, will discuss the latest news from the troubled Kepler observatory spacecraft, launched in 2009 with the goal of discovering Earth-size planets orbiting other stars…. READ MORE >

MDRS Crew 167 (Lonestar Highlanders) – Final Mission Report

The following is the final report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 167. A full review of this year’s activities at MDRS will be given at the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, which will be held September 22-25, 2016 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The call for papers can be viewed on the Mars Society web site. MDRS Crew 167 (April 3-17, 2016) – End of Mission Summary McLennan Community College (TX) sent two… READ MORE >

Mars Society Appoints Vice President for Development

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Michael Stoltz, who currently serves as the group’s Director of Media & Public Relations, has been appointed Vice President for Development. In this role, Mr. Stoltz will be responsible for the organization’s fundraising activities, including major gifts, grant writing, corporate sponsorship, planned giving and direct mail. With 15 years of non-profit fundraising experience, Mr. Stoltz has worked for several colleges in the U.S. as a senior development officer, as well as in… READ MORE >

NASA’s Jennifer Eigenbrode to Present MSL-Curiosity Mission Update at 2016 Mars Society Convention

Dr. Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, a NASA researcher, will give a plenary talk about the Curiosity-MSL rover mission and efforts to investigate possible bio-signatures on the surface of the Red Planet at the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held September 22-25, 2016 at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Working at Goddard Space Flight Center’s Planetary Environments Laboratory as a bio-geochemist and geologist with an interest in astrobiology, Dr. Eigenbrode is part of the research team working with MSL’s… READ MORE >

Record Number of Applications for European Rover Challenge 2016

60 teams have registered for the Third Annual European Rover Challenge (ERC). They hail from 12 countries, including Canada, Italy, Poland, Peru and the U.S. The final round of the competition will take place in Jasionka, Poland, September 10-13, 2016. In addition to participating in this major Mars rover competition, one of the main cores of the Rover Challenge series sponsored by the Mars Society, teams this year will participate in a mentoring workshop, according to ERC Director Lukasz Wilczynski…. READ MORE >

Mars Society Chapter Head Gary Hareland Dies after Illness

The Mars Society is saddened to announce the passing of Fredrick Gary Hareland, the founder and head of the organization’s China Lake-Upper Mojave Desert chapter, after a long illness. Known to Mars Society staff and friends as “Gary”, he was a strong advocate of a human mission to the planet Mars, as well as human spaceflight in general. Gary approached the Mars Society in September 2012 about the possibility of setting up a local chapter in the China Lake-Ridgecrest area… READ MORE >

Mars Society to Launch Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog Missions

The Mars Society is pleased to announce a new mission, Mars 160, using both of the organization’s analog research stations. This program will involve the same seven person crew doing similar science operations for the same period of time – 80 days – initially at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah in the fall of 2016 and then continuing at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in northern Canada in the summer of 2017. The multi-national… READ MORE >

MDRS Crew 166 – Final Mission Report

The following is the final mission report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 166 (Mission to Mars UCL). A full review of this year’s MDRS activities will be presented at the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held September 22-25, 2016 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Stationed at MDRS from March 19th thru April 3rd, Crew 166 consisted of six students from the UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain), a Belgian university. It was… READ MORE >

ExoMars Project Manager Don McCoy to Address 2016 Mars Society Convention

Don McCoy, Project Manager of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2016 mission, will present a full update about the spacecraft’s journey to the Red Planet and long-term mission at the 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held September 22-25, 2016 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Scheduled to arrive at the planet Mars this October, this first part of the ExoMars program, consisting of an orbiter and lander, will search for gases in the Martian… READ MORE >

12 Teams Propose Designs for Int’l Gemini Mars Competition

The U.S. human spaceflight space program is currently adrift. It needs a goal, and that goal should be sending human explorers to Mars in our time. In order to help provide such direction and get a serious humans-to-Mars program underway, the Mars Society launched the International Gemini Mars Design Competition in August 2015, which would create a plan for a two-person Mars flyby that could be placed on the desk of the President-elect in November 2016 and completed by the… READ MORE >

Mars Society Veteran Penny Boston Selected NAI Director

The Mars Society would like to extend its congratulations to Dr. Penelope Boston on her recent selection as the new Director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute (NAI), a California-based body that plays a major role in performing astrobiology research, as well as providing scientific leadership for astrobiology space missions. While a graduate student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, [then Ms.] Boston was one of the founders of the Mars Underground and helped organize a series of conferences called ‘The… READ MORE >