The Mars Society seeks to educate the public, media and government about the importance of space exploration and the necessity of a strong and sustainable Mars exploration program, including a humans-to-Mars mission in the coming decade. To that end, the organization regularly posts various announcements, releases and articles about ongoing Mars exploration and research, as well as Mars Society news and activities. We welcome any feedback regarding this effort. Thank you!
By Amy Shira Teitel
The future of spaceflight will be powered by ion engines and warp drives, right? Not just yet. There is still some uncharted territory in the world of liquid-fueled rockets, which have been powering spacecraft since the 50s, and SpaceX is testing the waters with its new Raptor engine. It could be the engine that, if Elon Musk gets his wish, propels the first colonists to Mars.
Right now the Raptor looks like it will be developed to deliver 1 million pounds of thrust at launch, which is certainly a step up from SpaceX’s existing engines—SpaceX's Merlin 1D delivers about 147,000 pounds at launch. The Raptor will even beat out the Space Shuttle’s main engine, which delivered 375,000 pounds of thrust at launch. In other words, the Raptor is expected to be a huge engine, dwarfed only by the F-1 engine powering the gigantic Saturn V rocket.
Can SpaceX build a rocket engine to rival the giants? The firm has had good luck developing rocket engines in the past. Its Merlin 1D engine, which uses the traditional mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen, has the highest thrust-to-weight ratio of any engine currently in use. But it still uses the same basic technology of all liquid rocket engines that came before it.
To read the full article, please click here.
By Kathryn Sharp Guest Writer
Red Planet Pen, Issue #26
Recent years have seen an exciting uptick in the number of humans-to-Mars mission plans, from manned fly-bys to permanent settlements. Each lays out its own priorities and objectives, suggesting creative solutions to challenges common to all of them. One important challenge each mission will face is the danger of space radiation exposure over the course of lengthy interplanetary travel.
There are two major types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing. Many forms of nonionizing radiation will sound familiar: your car radio, cell phone, microwave, all of which operate at frequencies low enough that their energy isn’t sufficient to damage human DNA. These are therefore not considered to be carcinogenic, or cancer-causing. On the other hand, ionizing radiation carries energy high enough to break chemical bonds and damage DNA, which in turn increases the risk of developing cancer. Some examples include medical X-rays and CT scans, which, when used infrequently, do not significantly increase cancer risk, and radioactivity remaining from the era of atmospheric nuclear testing.
To read the full blog, please click here.
Dr. Mike Griffin, former NASA
administrator, will give a plenary address to the 17th Annual International
Mars Society Convention, which will be held August 7-10 at the South Shore
Harbour Resort in League City, Texas (near NASA’s Johnson Space Center outside
Generally considered to be the most
accomplished engineer to lead NASA in decades, Dr. Griffin headed the space
agency from 2005 to 2009. Among his many accomplishments during his term in
office, Dr. Griffin returned the Space Shuttle to flight, achieved the rescue
of the Hubble Space Telescope, oversaw the successful implementation of the
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Phoenix missions and initiated the
Constellation program to create a system of flight vehicles for enabling human
missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Dr. Griffin’s address will be given
during the plenary session on the morning of Saturday, August 9th. Many
other prominent speakers are also being scheduled and will be announced in the
coming weeks and months prior to the Mars Society convention in August.
Call for Papers
The 2014 Mars Society Convention will
involve dozens of speakers. If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 300
words to: The Mars Society, 11111 W. 8th Avenue, unit A, Lakewood, CO 80215 or
via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org (email submissions are preferred). The deadline for abstract submission is June
30th at 5:00 p.m. MDT.
Subjects for discussion at the League
City convention can involve all matters associated with the exploration and
settlement of the Red Planet, including science, technology, engineering,
politics, economics, public policy, etc.
Registration & More
Online registration is now available
for the International Mars Society Convention.
Rooms at the South Shore Harbour Resort are available for convention
attendees at a specially discounted rate of $100/night for single or double
occupancy. For more details, please visit our web site.
The Mars Society is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2014-2015 Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) field season! The application can be found at the bottom of the MDRS web site.
The deadline for priority applications is July 1st. Please note that this is much earlier than in prior field seasons.
In addition, there are several scholarships available for the upcoming field season. They are listed in the application. More details will be forthcoming.
Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin will appear on The Space Show on Thursday, March 13 from 7:00-8:30 pm (PDT). The Space Show is one of the leading online science news programs, hosted by Dr. David Livingston.
During the interview, Dr. Zubrin will talk about the Mars Society's Mars Arctic 365 mission and current planning for a human mission to the Red Planet.
The Mars Society is holding the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention in League City, Texas (right outside Houston near NASA's Johnson Space Center) August 7-10, 2014. The event will bring together key experts, scientists, policymakers and journalists to discuss the latest news on Mars exploration and efforts to promote a human mission to the Red Planet.
Mars Society management is looking for reliable volunteers (age 18 and up) to help us during the four-day convention with registration and other related activities. If you're interested or would like more details about our volunteer options, please contact us (email@example.com).
Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS)
Crew 137, also known as ‘Team Nippon’, began its two-week field rotation at
the Mars hab facility in the Utah desert on March 1st. The
six-person Japanese team, led by MDRS veteran Dr. Hiroyuki Mirajima, is carrying out a variety of research testing while “on Mars.” This includes the study and
design of Mars habitats, possible cooking methods and hygiene control for
future Mars astronauts and the testing of high mobility exploration on the
Martian surface using EVA equipment.
To follow Crew 137’s work while at MDRS, please visit our Facebook page. Also the Japanese chapter of the Mars Society maintains its own Facebook group page, with regular updates about Crew 137’s activities.
The Mars Society is pleased to
announce the establishment of a new chapter in Egypt, the organization’s first official
presence in the Arab world. Initiated by a group of six engineering students at
Cairo University (CU), the new branch was set up in the most populous Arab country with the goal of
helping promote Mars and space exploration and planning for a human mission to the Red Planet.
The new chapter is led by Hamed
Gamal, a CU student and member of the board of directors of the school’s Space Systems Technology Laboratory (SSTL), a student-run research facility at the
university’s Aerospace Engineering Department. “Setting up a Mars Society
chapter in Cairo will help further Mars and space advocacy and also open up new
horizons for Egypt’s youth by encouraging them to consider space-oriented
fields of study, including science, technology, engineering and math,” said Mr.
Chapter members recently created a Facebook
chapter page and group page, which include Mars-related
postings and information in Arabic and English. A chapter web site is also currently under
development. In addition, Mr. Gamal and several other SSTL students have registered to participate in the Mars Society’s University Rover Challenge this summer in Utah.
“We welcome our new Egyptian chapter
and its members to the Mars Society family. We’re pleased with the growing
international interest in and support for Mars exploration. Establishing a
chapter in Cairo will help spread the word to this part of the globe about the
hopeful future that could be opened by looking outward to space,” said Mars
Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin.
The following is the final mission report of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 136. A full review of this year's activities at MDRS will be presented at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention, which will be held August 7-10, 2014 at the South Shore Harbor Resort in League City, Texas (outside Houston near NASA’s Johnson Space Center).
This report marks the end of our rotation at MDRS as the 136th crew, Mission to Mars UCL. We had been preparing for a long time, and we were really glad to see this project through. We'll soon go back to Belgium having learned a lot and start the formation of the next crew.
These two weeks were first and for all an excellent life experience. We had worked together for nearly one year getting ready for the mission, but living in such close proximity with all six of us for 15 days was even stranger than we expected. We are all easy going people though so it went without a problem despite the lack of intimacy and personal space.
The semi-finalists for
crew selection for the Mars Society’s Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission have been
announced. Chosen from a group of over 200 applicants, the 62 semi-finalists consist
of 49 men and 13 women drawn from 17 countries, including the United States, Canada,
Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Russia,
Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
The 62 individuals
selected represent a wide range of expertise and skills including geological,
biological, medical, aerospace, mechanical and electrical engineering, mechanical trades, journalism and Arctic and wilderness survival training.
list of the selected semi-finalists can be viewed here.
next step in the MA365 crew recruitment will be a process leading to the
selection of 18 finalists. The final 18 will be divided into three crews of six
people each, who will then be sent to the Mars Society’s Flashline Mars Arctic
Research Station (FMARS) on Canada’s Devon Island for two weeks of trial field
testing during the summer of 2014. On the basis of demonstrated performance,
the best crew will then be chosen for further training, leading to the
initiation of the Mars one-year mission beginning in the summer of 2015.
The MA365 mission is an
effort to conduct a one-year simulated human Mars mission in the Canadian
Arctic. The mission will take place at FMARS, a simulated landed spacecraft and
research station "on Mars" built and operated by the Mars Society.
at 75 degrees north and less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole, the Mars
facility is perched on the rim of a 14 mile wide impact crater in the midst of
a polar desert considered one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth.
MA365 will see a crew of six scientists, researchers and explorers conduct a
Mars surface mission simulation for 12 months, including over the harsh,
sub-zero Arctic winter.
conducting this full-scale dress rehearsal of a human expedition to Mars in a realistic
habitat and environment for practically the same duration as an actual mission
to the Red Planet, we will take a great step forward in learning how humans can
work together to effectively explore the new frontier of Mars.
Nothing like this has ever been done
before! You can help make it happen!
is not a spectator sport. If we want to get humans to Mars, everyone needs to pitch
in. The Mars Society recently launched an Indiegogo online campaign to help fund
this historic mission. Please donate generously and spread the word to others!