MarsNews.com
March 20th, 2019

The road to Mars includes a detour through Lakewood, Colorado

The Mars Society has two practice Mars exploration sites, one of which is in a desert near Hanksville, Utah.

In Robert Zubrin’s Lakewood office hangs a photo he took in 2009 of a space shuttle taking off to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, a mission he strongly advocated for, despite pushback from former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe.

Zubrin, an aerospace engineer, sees two versions of the future for humanity. The first is where new worlds are being explored, and even if things can go wrong, there’s an optimistic future of infinite possibilities. The other future is bleak in which the world is crowded and lacks enough resources to go around.

“I want the first version, and Mars is the closest planet that has all the resources needed for life and civilization. If we can go there, that’s the first step in becoming a multi-planet species,” said Zubrin. “They say the Earth is only so big. It isn’t, because it comes with an infinite sky.”

Zubrin co-founded The Mars Society in 1998, a Lakewood based organization that is dedicated to human exploration and settlement on Mars. The organization, which has at least 7,000 members, works on public outreach and educational programs, political advocacy and research.

The Mars Society has two simulated sites that mirror conditions on Mars — one in the Canadian Arctic and the other in a Utah desert. The sites are used for practice Mars missions to further understand the technology and science needed for humans to operate on the planet. Crews of typically six people attempt to conduct a sustained program of field exploration while operating as if they are on Mars. In the Utah location, a crew found a dinosaur bone, something that Zubrin says a robotic rover might have missed.

November 9th, 2018

The Mars Society Launches $10,000 Prize for Designing the Best Plan For a Mars Colony of 1,000 People

Each contestant will need to submit a report of no more than 20 pages presenting their plan by no later than March 31, 2019.

The Mars Society is holding a contest for the best plan for a Mars colony of 1000 people. There will be a prize of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second and $2500 for third. In addition, the best 20 papers will published in a book “Mars Colonies: Plans for Settling the Red Planet.”

The colony should be self-supporting to the maximum extent possible – i.e. relying on a minimum mass of imports from Earth. In order to make all the things that people need on Earth takes a lot more than 1000 people, so you will need to augment both the amount and diversity of available labor power through the use of robots and artificial intelligence. You will need to be able to both produce essential bulk materials like food, fabrics, steel, glass, and plastics on Mars, and fabricate them into useful structures, so 3-D printing and other advanced fabrication technologies will be essential. The goal is to have the colony be able to produce all the food, clothing, shelter, power, common consumer products, vehicles, and machines for 1000 people, with only the minimum number of key components, such as advanced electronics needing to be imported from Earth

As noted, imports will always be necessary, so you will need to think of useful exports – of either material or intellectual products that the colony could produce and transport or transit back to Earth to pay for them. In the future, it can be expected that the cost of shipping goods from Earth to Mars will be $500/kg and the cost of shipping goods from Mars to Earth will be $200/kg . Under these assumptions, your job is to design an economy, cost it out, and show that after a certain initial investment in time and money, that it can become successful.

August 23rd, 2018

Timely Debate on Lunar Orbit Platform-Gateway at Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that a formal debate on NASA’s proposed Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a human-tended facility in orbit around the Moon, will be held at the 21st Annual International Mars Society Convention on Thursday, August 23rd at 8:00 pm in the Pasadena Convention Center’s main ballroom.

The discussion will involve the following proposition: “Resolved: The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is the right next step for NASA’s human spaceflight program to take to support the human exploration and development of space.” Speaking in the affirmative will be John Mankins, while arguing in the negative will be Dr. Robert Zubrin.

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway debate is scheduled for one hour, allowing each side 20 minutes for an opening statement, 10 minutes for rebuttal and the remaining time will allow the speakers to take questions from the floor, with one minute answers followed by one minute rebuttals. The full event will be open to the public and the media.

August 22nd, 2018

Robert Zubrin wants to establish a ‘new branch of human civilization’ on Mars

Settling on Mars would involve building bases, generating power to use on the planet and terraforming the landscape to make it habitable for humans.Pat Rawlings, SAIC / NASA

To say Robert Zubrin is passionate about Mars is a bit of an understatement. The 66-year-old aerospace engineer has devoted the better part of his life to thinking about and encouraging the exploration of Mars.

In 1998, Zubrin co-founded The Mars Society, a Lakewood, Colorado-based nonprofit, and in the years since has become an outspoken advocate for the establishment of a permanent settlement on Mars — and a harsh critic of what he considers NASA’s stagnant human spaceflight program.

Recently, NBC News MACH spoke with Zubrin about why he feels so strongly that humans should colonize Mars and that NASA shouldn’t build a lunar “spaceport” — and why Mars exploration is so deeply personal to him.

August 7th, 2018

Five things you need to do to build a home on Mars

Ella and Nicki at the Mars Desert Research Station. Author provided

If you had to live the rest of your life on Mars, what would you miss the most? Figuring out how we could we be comfortable living on the red planet is a challenge but with increasing discussion about how to send people to Mars with the ultimate aim of colonising the planet, how to replace the sensation of the sunshine on your face or the grass beneath your feet is prescient one.

Luckily there is no shortage of expertise. On May 16, 2018, I organised a workshop at the University of Bristol in collaboration with local artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent to come up with a plan for building a Martian house here on Earth. The project is part of a large-scale public art work, with a plan to designing the house before building it in 2019. We have already identified five key things to do, taking inspiration from research facilities such as Biosphere 2 and the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, US.

July 12th, 2018

What Ikea’s Designers Learned From Living In A Simulated Mars Habitat

[Photo: courtesy Ikea]

Ikea is looking to space for inspiration–literally. The furniture company announced last week that it will be collaborating with NASA in order to learn about what life would be like on Mars, and how the company might apply the space agency’s knowledge of living in small spaces to its products.

For the company’s designers to understand what it might be like to live on Mars, Ikea sent five people to live for three days inside a model Mars habitation in the Utah desert. Built in 2001 by the Mars Society–an advocacy group dedicated to helping humans get to Mars–the Mars Desert Research Station hosts scientists and students for two to three weeks at a time, allowing them to simulate what life might be like on the red planet next door. The Ikea team went through a three-day version of a Mars simulation with the engineer and space architect Constance Adams, with lectures, daily routines, and even an excursion outside the building to see what working on the planet’s surface might be like.

January 12th, 2017

To prepare for life on Mars, astronauts are going to … Utah?

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto and Hugh Gregory collect rocks outside the Mars Desert Research Station during a previous Mars simulation mission in Hanksville, Utah. A new crew of six is set to begin a new mission this month. (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto and Hugh Gregory collect rocks outside the Mars Desert Research Station during a previous Mars simulation mission in Hanksville, Utah. A new crew of six is set to begin a new mission this month. (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)

This is the true story of six scientists, picked to live in a capsule in the middle of the Utah desert, work together and have their lives studied, to find out what happens when people stop being Earthlings and start being Martians.

While it’s too soon to say whether the crew of a certain long-running MTV reality show will make Mars its next setting, one thing’s for certain: if humans are really going to live on the Red Planet one day, we need to know exactly how that’s going to look. That’s where Team PRIMA 173 comes in. It’s a group of six highly qualified scientists, engineers, artists and leadership experts from around the world. Among the crew: Michaela Musilova, an astrobiologist from Slovakia; Arnau Pons, an aeronautical engineer from Spain; Roy Naor, a graduate student in planetary geology from Israel; and Niamh Shaw, an artist and journalist from Ireland.

They’ve all been selected by the Mars Society to take part in a scientific simulation project at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah.

January 11th, 2017

Four extreme environments where humans are tasting life on Mars

David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

No spot on Earth is a perfect match for Mars, but by training at some of Earth’s extreme habitats, space agencies including NASA and ESA are fine-tuning techniques for a trip to the Red Planet. New Scientist gathered postcards from four of them

November 4th, 2016

A Dress Rehearsal For Life on Mars

In the Utah desert, scientists live and work at the Mars Desert Research Station. The terrain’s ferrous-red hue and the harshness of the climate are supposed mimic Mars’s. Each crew carries out experiments ranging from astrobiology and meteorite analysis to 3D-printing and social psychology.

June 30th, 2016

HBO Pays a Visit to Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS)

HBO Vice, the network’s award-winning news program, will broadcast a 15-minute report about current planning for a human mission to Mars on Friday, July 1st at 11:00 pm EDT (8:00 pm PDT). The segment will include a visit to the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, which took place last December during the field rotation of Crew 158. The program can be viewed on television, but can also be seen online via HBO GO immediately after the show is aired.