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

News & Announcements

  • Associated Press Visits MDRS in Utah
    Remote Utah Outpost Serves as Stand-in for Surface of Mars
    By Brady McCombs, Associated Press, 05.01.15

    HANKSVILLE, Utah (AP) — Four people wearing space helmets and square backpacks emerge from a circular structure resembling a water tank and step onto a reddish, barren landscape.

    One hikes up a hill to take magnetic readings of the ground with a rectangular apparatus that looks like a large leveling tool. Another pushes a wheelbarrow equipped with sensors arrayed in a zig-zag pattern.

    For a group of six Belgian college students, it's just another simulated day on Mars.

    This rocky corner of Utah bears such a resemblance to the red planet that it's become a hot spot for scientists and engineers to run imaginary missions to Earth's neighbor. They've been coming here for more than a decade, hoping their research someday helps put humans on the Martian surface.

    This site and others that allow crews to mimic interplanetary missions are helping to raise buzz about Mars to an all-time high as advancements in science and engineering convince space enthusiasts that the 140-million-mile trip is a realistic possibility in this century.

    The research center is run by the nonprofit Mars Society, an advocacy group that believes getting people to Mars to be the great challenge of our time. The group is not affiliated with NASA or the federal government.

    To read the full article and view the video, please click here.

    Posted May 2, 2015, 7:12 PM by M Stoltz
  • Mars Desert Research Station Crew 153 - Final Mission Report

    The following is the final report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 153. A full review of this year's activity at MDRS will be presented at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, which will be held August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC.  

    Final Mission Summary

    Crew 153, Mission to Mars UCL

    We are Crew 153, a team that consists of 6 Belgian students from the UCL, the Catholic University of Louvain. One year ago, we had a dream: having an enjoyable and enriching stay on Mars or rather in the MDRS located in the Utah desert. We postulated and have been chosen a few months ago. And here we are, at the end of April 2015, we’ve completed our dream. What a fantastic experience we live in this small station, both from the relational and scientific points of view.

    The aim of this final report is to develop what we learned during our stay in the MDRS. In the first part of this report, I will try to summarize our organization during the days and how we manage our time to avoid or minimize conflicts within the crew. In the second part, I will focus on the experiments we worked on, the major issues we encountered and the main results we obtained.

    To view the full mission summary, please click here.

    Posted Apr 29, 2015, 5:24 AM by M Stoltz
  • NASA Expert on 3-D Printing, Niki Werkheiser, to Address 2015 Mars Society Convention

    Niki Werkheiser, NASA Project Manager for the In-Space Manufacturing (ISM) Initiative, will speak at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention,

    August 13-16, at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In this role, Ms. Werkheiser is responsible for developing the technology roadmap and implementation plans which will result in the manufacturing technologies and processes required to enable on-demand, sustainable operations for Exploration Missions to destinations such as Mars. The ISM portfolio includes the 3D Printing in Zero-G Technology Demonstration payload on the International Space Station, which made history by being the first 3D Printer to manufacture parts in space. 

    Previous to this role, Ms. Werkheiser served as the Project Manager for NASA’s Ares Crew Safety and Reliability Office. Ms. Werkheiser spent the majority of her career in NASA’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs Payload Offices where she designed, developed, integrated, and operated multiple NASA payloads. She  works for Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA and is stationed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.  Ms. Werkheiser’s academic background includes a Master’s degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with an emphasis in Gravitational and Space Biology, as well as a B.A. in Russian Studies and a B.S. in Biology. 

    For more information about the 2015 Mars Society convention, including registration details and a list of plenary speakers, please click here.

    Posted Apr 26, 2015, 7:40 AM by M Stoltz
  • MDRS Crew 152-B - Final Mission Report
    The following is the final mission report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 152-B. A complete review of this year's activities and research at MDRS
    will be presented at 
    the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, to be held August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Online registration is now available
    .

    Crew 152-B arrived at MDRS on Saturday, April 4, 2015. We received the handoff from Crew 152A. They oriented us; we settled in and began our Mars simulation on Sunday, April 5, 2015.
     
    Our crew members are as follows: 
    Liz Painter—Commander
    Melody Flowers—Commander in Training, Astronomer
    David Moran—Executive Officer, Journalist, Health and Safety Officer
    Arwhil St. Thomas—Engineer, Chemist
    Hannah Burgess—Photographer, Biologist
    Crystal Webster—Geologist

    Monday through Friday of our simulation, we followed a daily schedule of breakfast, engineering rounds, EVA, lunch, work on individual projects, dinner, CapCom reports and on various evenings, an astronomy activity.

    Our first day of simulation was spent orientating to the suits, helmets, packs and ATVs. We rode in two directions to view the land for future EVAs that would be beneficial to the crew member’s projects and to take GPS waypoints of these locations.

    To read the full crew report, please click here.

    Posted Apr 24, 2015, 8:15 PM by M Stoltz
  • NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier to Speak at 2015 Mars Society Convention
    William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration & Operations Directorate, will give a plenary address at the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, August 13-16, 2015 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In his current position, Mr. Gerstenmaier
    provides strategic direction for all aspects of the agency's human exploration of space and cross-agency space support functions of space communications and space launch vehicles.

     
    In addition, Mr. Gerstenmaier provides programmatic direction for the continued operation and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS), development of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft, and is providing strategic guidance and direction for the commercial crew and cargo programs that will provide logistics and crew transportation for the ISS program.
     
    Mr. Gersteinmaier received a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1977 and a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo in 1981. In 1992-93, he completed course work for a doctorate in dynamics and control with emphasis in propulsion at Purdue University. In addition, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including three NASA Certificates of Commendation, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, a Senior NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award, and Distinguish Executive Presidential Rank Award.
     

    For more information about the 2015 Mars Society convention, including registration details and a list of confirmed plenary speakers, please click here.
    Posted Apr 22, 2015, 7:19 AM by M Stoltz
  • 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
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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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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)

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