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MDRS Director Shannon Rupert Selected for NASA STAR Program

Dr. Shannon Rupert, field ecologist and long-time director of the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, was notified recently that she has been accepted into Cohort 3 of NASA’s STAR (Spaceflight Technology, Applications and Research) program, beginning in September 2022. A highly competitive 5-month course, STAR is a virtual NASA program for space biosciences training, with annual courses involving principal investigators, senior research scientists, and postdoctoral scholars. The goal of STAR is to facilitate each participant’s entry… READ MORE >

2022-23 MDRS Field Season Announced

With the 2021-22 field season at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah winding down in the coming days, MDRS management, led by its director, Dr. Shannon Rupert, is pleased to announce the crew itinerary* for the 2022-23 field season at MDRS. Congratulations to the crews on being selected, and we look forward to hosting them “on Mars”! 2022 October 1 – 16: MDRS Work Party October 20 – 23: [Off-Site] The 25th Annual International Mars Society… READ MORE >

JPL’s Vandi Verma to talk about driving rovers on Mars during next RPL podcast

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Vandi Verma, Chief Engineer of JPL Robotic Operations for NASA’s Perseverance and Curiosity rover missions, will be joining our Red Planet Live video podcast on Thursday, April 21 (6pm PT / 9pm ET) to talk about how the two robotic explorers navigate on the surface of Mars. Having joined JPL’s Mars rover team in 2008, Dr. Verma specializes in space robotics, autonomous robots and robotic operations. She has also designed, developed, and operated… READ MORE >

NASA’s Carol Stoker to Discuss Search for Life on Mars – Virtual Talk (MSC)

Dr. Carol Stoker, a senior scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center and one of the co-founders of the Mars Society, will be giving a virtual talk about the ongoing search for life on Mars on Wednesday, January 12th at 7:00 pm CT during a chapter meeting of Mars Society Chicago. Dr. Stoker has been involved with Ames for 36 years, specializing in a range of Mars exploration science and technology. Most of her recent work has focused on developing… READ MORE >

NASA at Its Best [Zubrin Op-Ed]

By Dr. Robert Zubrin, National Review, 12.28.21 On Christmas Day, NASA’s long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was finally launched into space. The JWST is, by far, the greatest astronomical observatory ever built. Its primary mirror is 21 feet across, triple that of Hubble, giving it ten times the light-gathering capacity. Add to that the fact that its infrared optics are ten times as sensitive, and the result is a telescope a hundred times as powerful. The discoveries it could make are beyond reckoning…. READ MORE >

Mars Society Convention to Host 4 Scientists Involved in NASA Perseverance Mission

Since its landing in Jezero Crater on the planet Mars in February 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover has been racking up achievement after achievement, including driving 2.6 kilometers over rough Martian terrain, collecting and preparing rock samples for a return mission to Earth, and using the Ingenuity helicopter for aerial exploration.    To keep the global community up-to-date about Perseverance and its scientific results, the Mars Society has invited four leading NASA-JPL scientists to give virtual plenary talks about the mission,… READ MORE >

Former NASA Astronaut José Hernández to Discuss Future of Space Exploration at Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that José M. Hernández, former NASA astronaut and President & CEO of Tierra Luna Engineering, LLC, will give a virtual address about “the Future of Space Exploration” during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention on Sunday, October 17th at 1:00 pm PT / 4:00 pm ET.   Beginning in 2001, Mr. Hernández served for a decade with NASA, initially at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, working as a materials research engineer… READ MORE >

Deputy NASA Administrator Pamela Melroy to Address 2021 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is very pleased to announce that Pamela Melroy, Deputy NASA Administrator, will give a virtual keynote address on Saturday, October 16th at 9:00 am PT on “NASA’s Path to Mars” during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17. As Deputy Administrator, Ms. Melroy performs the duties and exercises the powers delegated by the Administrator, assists the Administrator in making final agency decisions, and acts for the Administrator in his absence by performing all… READ MORE >

NASA Scientist to Outline Mars Subsurface Ice Mapping at Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Nathaniel Putzig, Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Colorado, will be giving a virtual plenary talk about exploring for buried water ice on the planet Mars during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17. As deputy team leader for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument, Dr. Putzig will present the latest results from the Mars Subsurface Water Ice Mapping (SWIM) Project, which involves… READ MORE >

NASA Astrobiologist Penny Boston to Speak at 2021 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Penelope “Penny” Boston, a senior NASA astrobiologist and geomicrobiologist with extensive experience in extreme environments, will give a virtual plenary talk during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17. The title of her address will be “Astrobiology by Any Other Name… What Do We Mean by a Search for Something as Undefined as ‘Life’?” Currently, Dr. Boston is involved in science integration broadly across the NASA sciences… READ MORE >

Mars InSight PI Bruce Banerdt to Provide Update to 2021 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. William “Bruce” Banerdt, Principal Investigator for NASA’s Mars InSight lander, will give an update about its mission, accomplishments, and status during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 14-17. A veteran scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1983, Dr. Banerdt supervises InSight’s efforts to study the deep interior of the planet Mars, including its crust, mantle, and core. Using state-of-the-art instruments, the lander has also detected over 500… READ MORE >

Mars Society Convention to Hear from NASA’s Karl Stapelfeldt about Exoplanet Exploration

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Karl Stapelfeldt, Chief Scientist for NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, will be giving a virtual presentation about the ongoing search for planets orbiting other stars during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021. Working at JPL in California, Dr. Stapelfeldt is involved in refining the content and direction of NASA exoplanet missions, technology developments, and scientific research. Over his 30-year career, he has been a member of… READ MORE >

JPL’s Vandi Verma to Give Update on Rover Mission Navigation at Mars Society Convention

Dr. Vandi Verma, JPL Supervisor of Operable Robotics for Mars Perseverance and Mars Curiosity, will provide a virtual update about navigating the two rover missions on the surface of Mars during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 14-17, 2021. Dr. Verma joined JPL’s Mobility and Robotics Systems Section 14 years ago, with research interest in robotic software that enables autonomy and commanding under uncertainty for coordinated manipulation, mobility, sampling and science. Since 2008, she has been driving Mars rovers… READ MORE >

NASA’s Carol Stoker to Detail Search for Life on Red Planet at 2021 Mars Society Convention

Dr. Carol Stoker, a veteran planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and a founding member of the Mars Underground, will give a virtual plenary address entitled “The Search for Life on Mars: What We Are Doing & What We Should Do” during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021. Dr. Stoker has been involved with the Ames Research Center for 36 years, specializing in a range of Mars exploration science and technology. Most of… READ MORE >

Roving Mars: Advancing Machines Explore the Red Planet

By Lawrence Klaes, Guest Writer, The Mars Society If there is one highlight among many that the Twenty-First Century can be noted for when it comes to space exploration, it is as the era when the automated rover really took off – and all over – the planet Mars. At this moment, there are three functioning multi-wheeled explorers making their way across different parts of the Red Planet, their suites of instruments gleaning what they can about their new homes… READ MORE >

Update from JPL’s Katie Stack Morgan about Perseverance during Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Katie Stack Morgan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s Perseverance rover, will provide an update about the mission’s current work exploring the Martian surface as well as future planning during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021. The Perseverance rover landed on the planet Mars earlier this year in February, with the goal of searching for signs of ancient life and collecting samples of… READ MORE >

NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green to Address 2021 Mars Society Convention

With the Ingenuity helicopter continuing to operate on Mars, NASA has begun expanding its planning for additional aerial exploratory missions. As such, the Mars Society is very pleased to announce that NASA Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Green will be giving a virtual plenary address about “the future of flying on the Red Planet” during its 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021. As a veteran planetary scientist and physicist, Dr. Green was appointed Chief Scientist at… READ MORE >

Titan Dragonfly PI Elizabeth Turtle to Give Update at 2021 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Turtle, Principal Investigator of NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander mission to Saturn’s largest moon Titan, will give a virtual update about the spacecraft during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 14-17, 2021. Scheduled for launch in 2026 and arrival in 2034 and taking advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly will explore dozens of locations across the moon’s frozen surface, sampling and measuring the composition of its organic materials, with… READ MORE >

MIT’s Sara Seager to Talk about Possible Life in Venus’ Atmosphere at Virtual Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Sara Seager, a prominent astronomer and planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will give a virtual update about efforts to search for bio-signatures in the atmosphere of the planet Venus during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021. Serving as the Class of 1941 Professor of Physics & Planet Science and Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics at MIT, Dr. Seager, along with other researchers at MIT, Cardiff… READ MORE >

Planetary Geologist Henrik Hargitai to Talk about Mapping Mars at Virtual Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Henrik Hargitai, a planetary geologist and mapping expert at NASA’s Ames Research Center, will give a virtual presentation about mapping the Red Planet at the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 14-17, 2021. Dr. Hargitai is involved in a post-doctoral fellow at the NASA’s Ames Research Center and the NASA Astrobiology Institute, focusing on planetary cartography, fluvial geomorphology and the history and localization of planetary nomenclature. Earlier this… READ MORE >

NASA’s Chris McKay to Talk Terraforming at 2021 Mars Society Convention

Dr. Chris McKay, a senior planetary scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center and one of the co-founders of the Mars Underground, will virtually address the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021, about the concept of terraforming the planet Mars. A renowned astrobiologist and expert on planetary atmospheres and terraforming, Dr. McKay’s research focuses primarily on the evolution of the solar system and the origins of life. He is also involved in planning future Mars missions, including human… READ MORE >

NASA’s MOXIE PI Michael Hecht to Address 2021 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Hecht, Principal Investigator for NASA Perseverance’s MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) instrument, will give a virtual address about the project to the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 14-17, 2021. As part of the growing list of “firsts” for NASA’s Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars, MOXIE successfully converted air from the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen in April, laying the… READ MORE >

NASA-Funded STEM Opportunity for Teachers in Utah

Spaceward Bound Utah to be held at MDRS Analog Spaceward Bound is a NASA-funded program to train K-12 educators in how to engage their students in activities that will inspire careers in the space sciences by taking teachers into the field with scientists who are working on space-related research in a given location. First instituted by researchers at NASA Ames, today scientists involved in that early project are still organizing Spaceward Bound field expeditions around the world. Spaceward Bound Utah… READ MORE >

Mars Society Hosting Facebook Watch Party for Perseverance Landing

The Mars Society will be hosting a virtual Facebook Watch Party for the upcoming landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on the surface of the planet Mars. Launched on June 30, 2020, “Percy” is scheduled to set down on February 18th inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater, where it will then begin its mission to explore the nearby area in search of signs of past and present life. We invite you to mark the arrival of the latest Mars rover by joining our live Facebook… READ MORE >

Record-Setting Interest in 2020 Virtual Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, concluded its 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention on Sunday, setting a new event record with over 10,000 registered attendees for the online forum, which ran from October 15-18. The organization’s first virtual conference, held due to COVID-19, created a large public surge of interest among Mars and space advocates around the world, as leading members of the space community… READ MORE >