Press Release

Association of Mars Explorers holds first dinner

By SpaceRef Editor
April 11, 2004
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Association of Mars Explorers holds first dinner

The Association of Mars Explorers held its first biennial dinner since
its founding in 2002. Gathering in the luxurious Fairmont hotel in San
Jose, California, the historic meeting was attended by notable veterans
of human Mars exploration Carol Stoker and Penny Boston and it was
honored by the presence of one its founding members, Nobel Laureate
Baruch Blumberg.

The successful evening featured a talk by Penny Boston on ‘Exploring
Martian Caves’. She captivated the audience with incredible insights
into the diversity of caves on Earth and the life they contain and she
explained how caves will one day be used on Mars as possible sources of
materials and to escape the harsh radiation environment on the surface
of the planet.

The non-profit, independent club, which requires that members have ‘led
or taken part in scientific exploration on Mars or in Mars analog
environments’ now has seventy members worldwide and is growing.
Twenty-five of the members gathered at the dinner in San Jose, which was
preceded by the Association’s first Board meeting since founding.

The President of the Association for 2002-2004, Charles Cockell, Ph.D.
said, ‘The 2004 dinner was really historic as the first official
gathering of the Association. A new sense of community was created
amongst its members who believe in the human exploration of Mars. It was
a really fun evening with a real sense of camaraderie – kindred spirits
with a common purpose’. Cockell, who has worked in the Antarctic and
arctic, was the first to publish proposed routes for expeditions across
the Martian polar ice caps and has a life long interest in human Mars

The Association of Mars Explorers, created in April 2002 as ‘The Mars
Club’, an informal name it still holds, dedicates itself to acting as a
forum for future explorers of the Martian frontiers, including the
deserts, mountains and poles. As no humans have yet been to Mars its
membership is currently exclusively composed of expeditioners and
explorers who study Mars-like environments on Earth in preparation for
these great adventures. The association, which accepts international
membership, holds a biennial dinner and is planning a number of other
programs. The Association is run by a President who holds office for two

During the 2004 dinner, the Presidency was handed over from Charles
Cockell to University of Florida scientist, Andrew Schuerger, Ph.D. with
the ceremonial signing of the Presidential flag. Schuerger, who has
worked extensively on life support systems for space exploration,
including Mars, will hold office until the next dinner in 2006.

Other highlights of the dinner included:

William Hartmann became the Association’s first Honorary Life Member. As
an explorer, Hartmann was recently the author of ‘A Travelers Guide to
Mars’, a book that brings together many of the different environmental
conditions on Mars and considers them from a human exploration
viewpoint. As a scientist, Hartmann has a life long research career
studying the geology of other worlds and particularly Mars. As an
artist, Hartmann has brought the excitement of solar system exploration
to many in his diverse paintings.

The dinner also saw the unveiling of the Associations’ new flag –
bearing the characteristic red planet and blue sights, a reference to
the Association’s acronym, ‘AME’. Already on its way to Mars analog
environments around the Earth, the flag is the rallying point of the
prestigious Association.

The next dinner of the Association will be held in 2006.

Information on the Association can be obtained at

SpaceRef staff editor.