The Mars Society has announced a landmark private space mission that willhelp researchers understand the long-term effects of living on Mars. MIT(Cambridge, MA), the University of Washington (Seattle, WA), and the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) are leading the project. The privately funded, pioneering mission will study the effects of prolonged exposure to Martian gravity on mammals, a vital step on the road to human exploration of Mars. Student teams at three leading universities will design, construct, and launch a satellite with a payload of mice on board. The mice will experience Martian gravity— 3/8 that of Earth. While in space, some will give birth to a second generation, who will grow and develop entirely in this new environment. After nearly two months, the craft will return to Earth, where teams of scientists will study the crew and their offspring to obtain the first clues about life and development in reduced gravity.