July 5th, 2007

Historic 4-Month Arctic Mars Mission Reaches Midpoint; Crew to Switch to Mars Time Mars Society

The Mars Society’s four-month Mars exploration Arctic simulation mission, the first of its kind, reached its halfway point today (7/2/07), and will now begin a unique experiment by shifting its operational cycle to Mars time.
The long-duration simulated Mars mission on Devon Island in the high Canadian Arctic has been operating successfully for two months. The seven-person crew of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) has conducted a comprehensive program of geological and microbiological field exploration in the island’s Mars-like polar desert, 900 miles from the North Pole, all while operating under many of the same constraints that human explorers would face on Mars. By doing so, they are learning from direct experience many lessons that will be of critical value when human explorers actually set foot on the red planet.
At this writing, the crew has completed two months of mission simulation on the island, doubling the one-month duration record set by previous crews. The plan is for the crew to continue for two more months, quadrupling the previous record for an active Mars mission simulation.
As Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin explained, “This is an utterly unique experiment that goes far beyond anything that anyone has ever done before. In contrast to the isolation studies done by the Russian Space Agency, for example, our crews are not sitting in a room in the middle of a major city playing chess for weeks on end. Rather, they are being tasked to undertake a tough program of actual field exploration, doing real science under risky conditions hundreds of miles from the nearest human settlement in one of the most hostile environments on Earth. It is by taking on challenges like this that people are going to learn how to explore on Mars.”

June 23rd, 2007

Mars Is Under Attack! It Is Time For The Mars Society To Mobilize To Save Human Missions To Mars! Mars Society

Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science recommended an increase of over $280 million above the requested level for NASA. However, within this budget markup, there is language that would prevent work on programs devoted to humans to Mars. According to a House Appropriations Committee press release, the markup language states that NASA cannot pursue “development or demonstration activity related exclusively to Human Exploration of Mars. NASA has too much on its plate already, and the President is welcome to include adequate funding for the Human Mars Initiative in a budget amendment or subsequent year funding requests.” THIS ANTI-MARS LANGUAGE MUST BE REMOVED! Otherwise, the program may turn into MOON ONLY program. We can’t let that happen.

May 14th, 2005

MDRS Log Book Mars Society

Psycho-Sociological Study on Group Dynamics was the main objective of the Mona Lisa – Leonardo project. Each crewmember took a personality test before the rotation; then during the isolation period at MDRS, the crewmembers had to take a set of three measurements:
Salivary samples to measure physiological stress;
Cognitive performance evaluation using the CogHealth software;
Online survey on group functioning, perceived stress and coping strategies. These measurements were taken three times during the mission: on Day 1, Day 6 and Day 12. The results of the Mona Lisa crew will be compared to the ones of the Leonardo crew, and the results will be published in a paper at the IAF congress in October 2005.

May 4th, 2005

All-Female International Crew Begins Work at Mars Desert Research Station Mars Society

Yesterday, Crew 40, the Mona Lisa Project, got underway at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) near Hanksville, UT. The Mona Lisa Project is the second half of a study to observe the effects of having an all-female crew in a Mars analogue environment. The first half of the study was the just completed Leonardo Project that had an all-male crew establish a baseline. The idea of sending an all-female crew of six to one of these analogue habitats was born in August 2004 at the Summer Session of the International Space University (ISU). The main research topic of this project is to assess group dynamics in an international all-female/all-male crew in a Mars simulation.

May 3rd, 2005

MDRS Log Book Mars Society

We started the day with a big clean up… Reorganization like only girls can do! We also fixed the generator and one of the space suits… After having organised the Hab and completed the clean up, we are ready for two extravehicular activities (EVA): Anne and Natalie did the emergency evacuation experiment from elementary students. You should have seen them running in the space suits… fantastic!

May 2nd, 2005

MDRS Log Book Mars Society

First extravehicular activity EVA for 4 of us. What a great experience! Looking for geology samples and a nice site for geology exploration, testing the Cliff Reconnaissance Vehicule CRV. First elementary student experience on Mars: for that mission: the temperature and the degree of humidity inside the space suit during a space walk. How much does the body have to adapt itself to the variation of temperature? What a lot of adaptation! The sun is very hot in desert on the top of the space suit, the boots, the gloves and hair in the face. Impossible to scratch your nose! The view is marvellous. OK, my colleagues insist, I asked for the same color of space boots to match the color of my space suit because the picture will be on the web site and in the media

May 1st, 2005

MDRS Log Book Mars Society

The Leonardo crew left around 9 am. Then we had a morning briefing were everybody presented their projects: the spacesuits comparison, the student experiments from Canada, the CRV, the geological studies and the psychosociological studies. Then after lunch some of us worked on the generator issues (see engineering report) while the others cleaned and organized the lab downstairs. Finally we all practiced riding the ATV without spacesuits.

April 24th, 2005

MDRS Log Book Mars Society

Our rest day! All crew slept in as any dawn EVAs were postponed due to muddy conditions. We were inside all day, and each was able to pursue his own interests, such as catching up on email, reading or doing some engineering work on MarsSkins. Georg was even able to suit up and go for a run! So a relaxing day, and now we’re ready for another week. Tomorrow we plan for an all-day rover trip to Capitol Reef for three, and also an ATV ride up Candor Chasm for other three. This latter EVA will be the first Leonardo EVA for the MarsSkins and a trial run before comparison CRV EVAs begin with the MDRS suits. We are starting to look hairy and haghard (so apologies for webcam appearances!), but we are all fighting fit and keen to continue our scientific explorations.

April 23rd, 2005

MDRS Log Book Mars Society

The wind is howling around the hab tonight. A dust storm has enveloped us, and the structure groans and creaks in response. This late weather is in contrast to the bright sunshine during the day, which baked us in our suits as we journed to the east on Cactus Road. With the sun focused on my face through the helmet bubble and the ventilation working full-time, I felt like a roast chicken in a fan-forced oven. This was all forgotten, however, as we were again treated to a spectactular scene of flood plains and huge rock formations at our destination.

April 22nd, 2005

MDRS Log Book Mars Society

Another cooked breakfast fuelled EVA-7 towards the northern reaches of the Copernicus Highway. After travelling along various ridges, the ‘highway’ dipped down into the magnificent labyrinth of the Snoshti Canyons, where the infrequently travelled track was lost among a carpet of blue and yellow flowers. After several dead-ends, washouts and backtracks, the team eventually battled through to Muddy Creek. While not the most analogous scenery to Mars, our geologist made several interesting finds, including anomolous black rocks that seem to have just fallen from the heavens. EVA-8 pushed even further north, taking the Hubble Highway just before the creek. Future EVAs will strive further northwards to the end of the Hubble Highway and the tracks of Crew 22, whose map is serving us well. The generator has been fixed and hopefully the power fluctuations will cease, but the vacuum cleaner needs another power-head belt. Hopefully this arrives before the all-female Mona Lisa crew, or gender relations may never be the same again! Three pizzas were ‘delivered’ tonight, and finished off a great day. Almost half-way through, and all lights are green on Leonardo.