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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 >

SpaceX’s Starlink Comms System Now Used by Crews at Mars Society’s MDRS in Utah

The Mars Society announced that its Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) management team has installed SpaceX’s Starlink system at its remote campus in southern Utah to help dramatically improve the facility’s communications network used by analog crews involved in on-site simulation training and field studies.  Starlink is a global satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing internet access coverage to dozens of countries around the world, and frequently used in areas where wifi connectivity is typically unreliable or completely unavailable. … READ MORE >

U of Michigan Wins URC Competition!

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the Michigan Mars Rover Team (University of Michigan) has won the 2022 University Rover Challenge, the world’s premier Mars robotics competition for college students, with 388.97 points! Way to go, Wolverines! Coming in second place was the Monash Nova Rover (Monash University, Australia) with 380.55 points, and third place was taken by the Mars Rover Design Team (Missouri University of Science & Technology) with 370.71 points. All 36 student teams did a… 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 >

Hiring: Assistant Director (for remote research station in Utah)

The Mars Society is seeking applications from highly qualified people for management positions at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, the largest and longest-running Mars analog facility in the world.  The station is set amid some of the most spectacular landscapes you will ever see, and researchers come from all over the world to work here. We are looking for assistant directors beginning in October 2022.  You must be able to work in the U.S. and possess a… READ MORE >

Mars Society to Hold International High School Mars Mission Design Class & Competition

The Mars Society will hold an international high school student Mars Mission Design Class & Competition this summer. The virtual class will be a unique experience, allowing high school students from around the world to take part in an educational activity modelled on the design course now practiced by the best world-wide university engineering departments. A university design class differs greatly from a typical college class. Instead of being taught some material by a professor and then being tested on… READ MORE >

Utah NASA Space Grant Consortium Approves 5K Grant for MDRS Classroom Initiative

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the Utah NASA Space Grant Consortium has approved a $5,000 grant request to fund an educational project called “Spaceward Bound Classroom: Bringing Mars to Utah Students,” which focuses on developing a series of labs in a box with engaging science experiments that can be shipped to Utah classrooms when visiting the organization’s Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah is not an option for students. Led by MDRS Director Dr. Shannon Rupert,… READ MORE >

Astrobiologist & Analog Astronaut Reut Abramovich to Join RPL Podcast

The next Red Planet Live video podcast will include a lengthy chat with Dr. Reut Sorek Abramovich, an astrobiologist & educator at the Dead Sea & Arava Science Centre in Israel, co-founder & former chief scientist for Israel’s D-MARS space analog program, and co-founder & current chairperson of Israel’s Mars Society chapter, on Sunday, May 8th (4:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm ET). The interview will focus on the search for life on Mars, in our solar system and beyond… READ MORE >

Invitation: NASA-Funded Utah Teachers Program at MDRS (Dec. 11-17, 2022)

Spaceward Bound is a joint NASA-Mars Society program to train K-12 teachers 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 scientists and researchers at NASA Ames, today researchers involved in that early project are still holding Spaceward Bound field expeditions all over the world. Spaceward Bound Utah is a 5-day workshop… READ MORE >

Red Planet Live to Host MDRS Director Shannon Rupert

Please join us on Monday, February 14th at 6:00 pm PT / 9:00 pm ET as we welcome Dr. Shannon Rupert to Red Planet Live, the Mars Society’s monthly video podcast! A trained ecologist with more than two decades of experience in Mars analog studies, Dr. Rupert has been the Director of the Mars Desert Research Station since 2009. MDRS is the largest and longest-running Mars surface simulation facility in the world, where 6-7 person crews participate in two-week field… READ MORE >

‘Coming Soon’ Trailer from MarsVR

The Mars Society’s MarsVR team has released a “Coming Soon” trailer for its MDRS Virtual Reality environment, to be hosted on Steam in the near future. The goal of the MDRS VR project is to create a special training environment for MDRS (Mars Desert Research Station) crew members and the general public in order to learn more about Mars analog science, technology, and procedures. The MarsVR team has been working since 2018 on a digital twin of the real-life MDRS facility located in southern… READ MORE >

Red Planet Live Podcast to Welcome Astrobiologist Graham Lau on Jan. 18th

Astrobiologist & science communicator Dr. Graham Lau will appear on Red Planet Live, the Mars Society’s monthly video podcast hosted by Ron Craig, this Tuesday, January 18th (6:00 pm PT / 9:00 pm ET) to answer all your questions about the ongoing search for life in our solar system.  With the latest research, scientists view not just the planet Mars as a possible abode for life, but also Venus, where biosignatures may have been detected in the planet’s atmosphere, and… 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 >

MDRS to Host Its First Ever Middle School Crew for Field Studies

Most visiting crews to our Mars Desert Research Station come for a two-week analog mission and consist of researchers, members of academia, or university students. In recent years however #MDRS has opened its doors occasionally to younger groups of would-be Mars explorers, including high school students. Beginning tomorrow (December 9th), a team made up of middle school students from Ogden Preparatory Academy in northern Utah will be participating in a three-day mini-sim on campus. Led by an educator who participated… READ MORE >

Tourists a (Major) Problem at Mars Analog Site (Article)

Dr. Shannon Rupert, Space.com, Nov. 3, 2021 Dr. Shannon Rupert is an ecologist and educator who has spent more than 20 years doing Mars analog research. She is the longtime director of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), which is owned and operated by The Mars Society. MDRS hosts researchers who conduct their work while in a simulation, living as if they were on Mars. For more details about the MDRS program, please visit: mdrs.marssociety.org. Dr. Rupert contributed this article to… READ MORE >

U of Hong Kong Scientist to Discuss China Mars Planning at 2021 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Joseph Michalski, an Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Science, will give a plenary address on Thursday, October 14th at 8:30 pm PT about China’s plans for exploring the planet Mars during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention. The title of his virtual talk will be “How China’s Exploration Ambitions are Helping to Shape the Future of Mars Exploration.” As a trained geologist… 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 >

Presentation on (Non-Crew) Biology Research at MDRS during the Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that a special one-hour virtual presentation entitled “Is There Life Out There: Current Biological Research at the Mars Desert Research Station” (MDRS) in Utah will be held during the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention on Friday, October 15th from 7:30-8:30 pm PT. A group of four experts led by MDRS Director Dr. Shannon Rupert will highlight several long-term research projects that are being conducted at the MDRS facility, including new research looking… READ MORE >

Red Planet Live Episode #5 with Dr. Jim Bell on Sept. 30th

Please join us Thursday, September 30th at 6:00 pm PT / 9:00 pm ET for another amazing episode of Red Planet Live!!! In this episode, RPL host Ron Craig will be speaking with Dr. Jim Bell, Professor of Astronomy & Planetary Science at Arizona State University’s School of Earth & Space Exploration, and past President & Board member of The Planetary Society. Dr. Bell will be discussing a number of incredible Mars-related topics that he is involved in… past, present… 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 >

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 >

Tune in This Week to Red Planet Live for a Discussion about Careers in STEM!

Do you have a strong interest in pursuing a career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related field? Are you a young adult following a traditional path and getting ready to take your first step at the university level or perhaps you’re already well on your way? Maybe you are a more seasoned adult looking to pivot to STEM after already pursuing other career choices? Red Planet Live is going to explore both options, although much of the… READ MORE >

Sponsor the 2021 Mars Society Convention!

The Mars Society invites potential sponsors to support the 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled to be held virtually October 14-17, 2021. Last year’s online Mars Society convention was a record-breaking success, with 1 million live stream viewers and over 10,000 attendees. 150 speakers gave presentations and also participated in panel discussions and public debates. The four-day virtual event will feature a variety of key experts in the fields of government, business, academia, military, media, and philanthropy who will… 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 >

Mars Society Selected to Receive $1 Million from Blue Origin’s Club for the Future

Today, the Mars Society was selected to receive a $1 million grant from Blue Origin’s Club for the Future. This generous grant will allow us to expand all of our activities, including conferences, publications, STEM outreach, engineering competitions, and student participation as crew members at our Mars analog research stations, helping us to learn how best to explore the Red Planet by engaging in comparable field exploration in some of the most Mars-like environments on Earth. “Our recent auction for the first seat on… READ MORE >