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Catholic University / Washington, D.C. / Aug. 13-16, 2015

News & Announcements

  • Heritage Foundation Expert to Discuss China Space Program at 2015 Mars Society Convention
    Dean Cheng, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, will discuss China’s growing space program at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
     
    Mr. Cheng specializes in China's military and foreign policy, in particular its relationship with the rest of Asia and with the United States. In addition, Mr. Cheng has written extensively on China's military doctrine, technological implications of its space program and "dual use" issues associated with the communist nation's industrial and scientific infrastructure.
     
    He previously worked for 13 years as a senior analyst, first with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), the Fortune 500 specialist in defense and homeland security, and then with the China Studies division of the Center for Naval Analyses, the federally funded research institute. Before entering the private sector, Mr. Cheng studied China's defense-industrial complex for a congressional agency, the Office of Technology Assessment, as an analyst in the International Security and Space Program.
     

    For more information about the 2015 Mars Society convention, including registration details and a list of confirmed plenary speakers, please click here.
    Posted Apr 17, 2015, 10:12 PM by M Stoltz
  • Andy Weir, Author of “The Martian”, to Address 2015 Mars Society Convention

    Andy Weir, author of the highly-successful science fiction novel, “The Martian”, will address (via Skype) the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention,

    August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 

    Mr. Weir’s first novel, “The Martian”, was released in 2014 to high acclaim and is currently being made into a movie by 20th Century Fox and Hollywood director Ridley Scott. The film, starring academic award winning actor Matt Damon, is scheduled for a November 2015 release. 

    Mr. Weir was hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at the age of 15 and has been working as a software engineer ever since. A self-described “space nerd”, Mr. Weir has a life-long interest in orbital mechanics, relativistic physics and the history of human spaceflight. 

    For more information about the 2015 Mars Society convention, including registration details, please click here.

    Posted Apr 15, 2015, 7:12 PM by M Stoltz
  • Call for Establishment of MDRS Scholarship in Memory of John Barainca

    The Mars Society and the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Mission Support Staff are calling for donations to help establish the John Barainca MDRS

    Memorial Scholarship, which will be used to subsidize teachers who participate as crew members in the MDRS program. 

    Having passed away recently, John (1935-2015) was one of the founding members of the Mars Society and a dedicated supporter of the MDRS analog simulation. He played a major role in establishing MDRS by helping select its location in southern Utah and working as part of the team that set up the station. 

    John also served as long-time Hab manager at MDRS, volunteering countless hours to repair and improve the station, manage its field seasons and train its crews. In addition, he was part of the MDRS astronomy team. 

    “John was a true believer in the potential of the Mars Desert Research Station to teach and inspire crew members, ranging from educators to students to scientists,” said MDRS Remote Science Team Coordinator Dr. Jean Hunter. 

    Please help honor the memory of a great person and an indispensable part of the Mars Society and its mission for more than a decade by contributing today to the John Barainca MDRS Memorial Scholarship. 

    Those who wish to submit words of condolence to John's family or extend a kind word of gratitude for his work on behalf of the Mars Society, please email: RememberingJohn@marssociety.org

    [Image: Gary Becker]

    Posted Apr 6, 2015, 7:48 AM by Michael Stoltz
  • 23 Student Teams Advance to 2015 University Rover Challenge Finals
    In December, 2014 a record 44 teams from eight countries set out to design and build the world’s top Mars rover. Now 23 teams have advanced past the Critical
    Design Review stage of the Mars Society's University Rover Challenge (URC) and will compete in the final competition, being held May 28-30, 2015 at the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah.
     
    The 2015 rendition of this competition, URC 2015, is the first time that teams faced a competitive down-selection process prior to the field event. Competition judges reviewed technical reports and video submissions from each of the teams that passed a previous Team Proposal round, all of whom had made significant technical progress.
     
    The final field was originally planned for 22 teams, however the competition for these spots was so close that judges were forced to open a 23rd slot.

    To read the full announcement, please click here.
    Posted Apr 4, 2015, 6:52 PM by Michael Stoltz
  • Mars Society Loses a Member of Its Family

    John Barainca (1935-2015) R.I.P.

    We announce with great sadness the passing of John Barainca, one of the founding members of the Mars Society and a dedicated supporter of the organization's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS).

    John played a key role in establishing the MDRS facility by helping select its location in Utah and working as part of the crew that built the station. He served as long-time Hab manager, volunteering countless hours to repair and improve the station, manage its field seasons and train its crews. In addition, John participated as part of the MDRS astronomy team.

    Commenting on John's passing, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, "John was a dedicated leader in the effort to move humanity forward and outward into the universe. More than that, he was a good man and a great friend. He will be missed."

    “We lost John. His passing marks the end of an era for MDRS. He was involved with the program from the beginning and was also my very dear friend. He will be greatly missed,” said MDRS Director Shannon Rupert. 

    MDRS Remote Science Team Coordinator Dr. Jean Hunter added, "We'll remember John's passion for teaching, his ability to build and repair twice as fast as volunteers half his age, his late night conversations on cloudy nights and late night stargazing on clear ones, and his delight in the cherry nut shakes at Stan's Burger Shack in Hanksville after a long day's work."

    Those who wish to submit words of condolence or gratitude for John and/or his family, please email: RememberingJohn@marssociety.org

    Posted Apr 4, 2015, 6:48 PM by Michael Stoltz
  • Bruce Jakosky to Give Update on MAVEN Mission at 2015 Mars Society Convention

    Dr. Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft currently orbiting the planet Mars, will provide an update about the mission, its latest

    discoveries and its long-term goals at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 

    In addition to his role with MAVEN, Dr. Jakosky has also been involved with a number of other NASA missions, including Viking, Solar Mesosphere Explorer, Clementine, Mars Observer, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Curiosity. He also heads up the University of Colorado’s team at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. 

    Dr. Jakosky teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Earth-planetary geology and extraterrestrial life, including both the science and the societal-philosophical issues relating to the science. His research interests are in the geology of planetary surfaces, the evolution of the Martian atmosphere and climate, the potential for life on the Red Planet and elsewhere, and the philosophical and societal issues in astrobiology. 

    He has published more than 100 papers in the refereed scientific literature. His book “The Search for Life on Other Planets” was published in 1998 by the Cambridge University Press, and “Science, Society and the Search for Life in the Universe” was published in 2006 by University of Arizona Press. He serves on numerous national advisory committees. He serves as Associate Director for Science in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado. 

    For more information about the 2015 Mars Society convention, including registration details, please click here.

    Posted Apr 2, 2015, 4:18 PM by M Stoltz
  • Volunteer for 2015 Mars Society Convention / Receive Free Admission

    The Mars Society will be holding its 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention August 13-16 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

    The four-day conference will bring together key experts, scientists, policymakers, government officials and journalists to discuss the latest news on Mars exploration and efforts to promote a human mission to the Red Planet in the coming years.

    The Mars Society is looking for volunteers (ages 18 and up) to help with the day-to-day running of the convention. Any volunteer who serves 10 (+) hours during the course of the conference will receive free admission (not including the dinner banquet).

    Those interested in helping out, please contact: Nicole Willett (nicolew@marssociety.org). Thanks!

    Posted Apr 2, 2015, 8:31 AM by M Stoltz
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*Upcoming Events*
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18th Annual International 
Mars Society Convention
August 13-16, 2015
Washington D.C.
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European Rover Challenge
September 5-6, 2015
Swietokrzyskie, Poland
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PREPARING HUMANITY FOR MARS
The Mars Society's One-Year Mars Surface
Simulation Mission in Northern Canada

International Inspiration Mars
Student Design Competition

For final contest results, please click here.

View from MDRS

A crew member exploring the Mars-like
terrain during an EVA near the Mars 
Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah.

A Quote to Remember


"I think NASA should be renamed NAMA. They ought to make [Mars] their one overriding goal and destination."

Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins (discussing the future of the space program)

The Mars Society is an officially registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to responsible and transparent financial management.


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