Press Release

Mars Society Special Bulletin #28

By SpaceRef Editor
February 6, 2000
Filed under

Mars Society Special Bulletin #28

Feb. 4, 2000

Reproduce or pass on as desired.

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In this issue:



The Mars Society announced on January 26 that, the premier
software component marketplace, has elected to sponsor the $1.3 million Mars
Arctic Research Station (M.A.R.S.), the world’s first simulated Mars base.
This innovative sponsorship by allows the company to become
more involved in humankind’s historic reach into space, an effort in which
technological quality plays such a critical role. Flashline will donate
$175,000 to the society. In return for this generosity the Mars Society has
decided to name the habitat the Mars Society Flashline Arctic Research
Station. The habitat, to be located at Haughton Crater on Devon Island,
Nunavut, Canada, began construction in the United States in December 1999
and is expected to be operational on Devon in July of 2000. For more details
on the station, visit the Flashline Station website at

Although the high tech community has widely adopted the notion of naming
rights in North American professional sports, The Mars Society Flashline
Arctic Research Station marks the first agreement of its kind in the
aerospace industry.

The Mars Society is one of the fastest growing space advocacy groups around
and is committed to furthering the human exploration and settlement of Mars.
The Flashline Arctic Research Station is the Society’s first major project
and underscores its commitment to science and exploration. As a contributing
part of NASA’s Haughton Mars Project, the station will enable scientists,
engineers and eventually astronauts to develop the tools, technologies,
strategies and human factors experience needed to prepare for the human
exploration of Mars.

Dr. Robert Zubrin, president of The Mars Society said, “This agreement
demonstrates’s vision. The securing of naming rights is just
the first step for private companies as they see more opportunities in space

“The computer industry and the space program have always been intertwined in
a historic synergy that has fueled advancements in both Earth-bound and
space-related technology,” said Charles M. Stack, president and CEO of “My hope is that The Mars Society’s projects will re-energize
public and private efforts to explore space. We are extremely honored to
participate in this project.”

About Flashline.Com is a privately held company pioneering the development of the
world’s first true software component marketplace. It is a leading resource
to research, buy and sell reusable JavaBeans, Enterprise JavaBeans, COM, and
CORBA software components. This award-winning site is fourth in a family of
successful Internet companies created by Charles Stack, who is well known
for creating the first Internet retail store. Information on
can be obtained at their website at

A complete report on the building and first shakedown operations of the Mars
Society Flashline Station will be presented at the Third International Mars
Society convention, to be held at Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario,
August 10-13, 2000. Further information on the Flashline Station and the
convention can be found at the project and Mars Society websites at and respectively.


New renderings of Flashline Station have been posted at the Station’s
website at These renderings accurately depict
the design currently under construction by Infrastructure Composites
International at the Mesa Fiberglass fabrication facility in Commerce City,

The design effort was led by Kurt Micheels, M.A.R.S. Project Manager and
Architect, with the input and assistance of many Mars Society members. The
nearly two-year effort saw a total of 19 design iterations. Early versions
of the station (August ’98 – March ’99) envisioned a three-deck structure
sporting five entry hatches. Extensive review of Mars habitat design
combined with the need to be compatible with the environment on Devon Island
lead to the current two deck/three hatch configuration.

The most prominent hatch visible in the renderings is the primary EVA hatch
(ExtraVehicular Activity, the term refers to going outside of a spacecraft).
It connects to an airlock and EVA preparation area (mud room). The second
hatch to the right of the EVA hatch provides access to the sample processing
area of the lab compartment on the first deck. The crane depicted between
both hatches would be used for manipulating rock boxes or other heavy
objects. A third hatch opposite the EVA hatch will provide connection to a
future peripheral structure, most likely a greenhouse. The first deck will
also house a toilet room, a medical facility and dry storage, for now all
contained within a storm shelter located at the center of the deck. In
addition, the deck will also contain large mechanical compartment,
containing water storage, hot water heater, waste storage, electrical
conduits, plumbing and HVAC ducting.

The second deck contains all crew living quarters, a galley, wardroom,
toilet and shower. Work areas for observation and control of EVA activities
will be provided by two 1.0-meter diameter windows. The domed ceiling above
the second deck will allow opportunities for locating planters and indirect
lighting. At the present time, the contractor is assembling all materials
necessary to begin fabrication of the individual hab panels and components.
This work is scheduled to be completed by February 16. Given the current
pace of work, a test assembly of the hab may begin as early as April 15.


During the New Hampshire primary, Mars Society members made it their
business to talk with every presidential candidate about a human mission to
Mars. Most candidates were approached more than once, and, for the most
part, we received positive responses. George W. Bush was approached by Rich
Robbins in Washington D.C., and by Chris Carberry and Alan Rubin in New
Hampshire. In all of these meetings, Bush was cautiously supportive of the
concept of a human mission to Mars. He mentioned to Robbins that he shared
his father’s dream of sending humans to Mars. In all cases, Bush said he
needed to study the concept more and wanted to know how much it cost.
Carberry and Rubin were able to hand him materials that addressed these
concerns, along with copies of the first 14,000 names on the Mars petition .
In a later conversation with Carberry, Bush did mention his concern with
NASA. As a result of the recent failures, Bush stated that he couldn’t
support any of this until “NASA got its act together.”

At the Nashua, New Hampshire Veteran’s Day Parade, Chris Carberry was able
to query Senator McCain about Mars. When Carberry introduced himself as
being a member of the Mars Society, McCain playfully asked Carberry whether
he supported metric or English units. McCain then asked Carberry if he had
every heard of Space Islands (McCain had spoken in support of Space Island
Corp. a few weeks earlier). Carberry and McCain spoke on that subject for
about a minute and then shifted back to Mars. McCain seemed interested in
meeting with the Mars Society (particularly Society president Robert
Zubrin). McCain also asked what the Mars Society’s opinion on Space Islands
is (few days later, Zubrin responded to this question). The Carberry-McCain
exchange lasted about five minutes and was played on C-Span. Overall, McCain
seemed very enthusiastic about space related issues.

When Carberry met Bill Bradley, the Democratic contender seemed cool to the
idea of a human mission to Mars. He was impressed with the Mars Society
however, commenting “Boy, you guys have an active organization.” He
mentioned that someone had handed him copies of Zubrin’s books (although he
admitted that he had not read them) and that others had queried him on Mars.
He seemed quite surprised that he was being asked this question so
frequently. Carberry was able to hand Al Gore a folder containing
descriptions of Mars Direct and the NASA reference mission along with copies
of the Mars Petition signatures. Carberry did see Gore briefly look through
this material. Unfortunately, he did not have an opportunity to query the
Vice-President on Mars exploration.

Carberry also spoke to Steve Forbes. Although Forbes at first did not show
overwhelming interest in a humans to Mars mission, he said he did like the
idea, because it would inspire the frontier spirit. Forbes stated that he
does not like the way NASA is run, but he did like the idea of a mission
partially or fully-funded by private means. Carberry mentioned that there
were some private initiatives being developed including ThinkMars at MIT.
The conversation lasted about five minutes. In a recent SpaceViews article
(you can read it at, Forbes said
that he would support continued funding for Mars exploration despite the
recent Mars mission failures, noting “Oh, we’re going to have a very
aggressive space program.” The Republican candidate added, “We want to go
out to the stars. We want to go out to space. We are a curious people, and
that’s not going to stop.” Forbes once again mentioned his desire to get the
private sector more involved.

When Carberry questioned Republican contenders Alan Keyes and Gary Baeur,
they both said they could support a human mission to Mars. Keyes said “It
should be a role of the U.S. government to support exploration”. Bauer,
while not as enthusiastic as Keyes, said he would like to see the United
States go to Mars, although he had some concerns with NASA management.

Carberry was also able to approach possible VP candidate Elizabeth Dole. She
said that she is a supporter of NASA and that she could support a mission to
Mars, but would have to be convinced that it could be done safely and at a
reasonable cost. Carberry told her that he would send her some materials
that addressed these concerns.

The campaign now moves to the rest of the country. The next primaries are in
South Carolina and Arizona followed by “Super Tuesday,” which includes
California. We need to continue bringing our message directly to the
candidates in as many states as possible. We have already had an impact on
this campaign. All of the candidates know that we exist and that they need
to be ready to respond to Mars questions. It is now up to us to show the
candidates that Mars exploration is a worthwhile venture and that there is
public support for it. Operation President will post as accurate scheduling
information as we can get. If you see or hear of a candidate event coming
up, please let us know, and we will post it and try to get some Mars Society
members at that event. To make this effort work, we cannot be shy. It is
time for all of us to seek out the candidates and tell them that we support
a human mission to Mars and that such a mission is in the best interests of
the United States and of humanity as a whole. On to Mars.


With close to a hundred chapters and task forces around the world, the Mars
Society has an army of Mars enthusiasts working to promote Mars exploration
and education. Some recent notable activities:

The Mars Youth Group has just released its first Mars Youth Newsletter —
“The Martian Chronicles.” Features include: Meet the Scientist: Dr. Pascal
Lee ~ Water on Mars ~ Does Mars have the Right Stuff for Life? ~ Puzzle of
the Week ~ A Future History ~ Artificial Gravity on a Mars Mission. Check
out the first issue at

The Outreach Task Force has launched the “Mars Goes Hollywood” program,
organizing chapters to set up tables at theaters planning to show any of the
upcoming Mars movies. In addition, the Outreach group is establishing a
program to establish a Mars Society presence at airshows across the United
States. For information on either program, swing by their website

The Society’s Oregon chapter, in collaboration with the Oregon Public
Education Network, (OPEN) and the Oregon L5 Society is developing a
comprehensive, state-wide Mars Millennium Project proposal focusing on a
Lava Tube Colony. Several Social Science lessons dealing with history are
currently in place, as is an Art section on constructing a Martian lava tube
model. Take a peek at

Numerous U.S. chapters report having presented public talks on Mars
exploration recently — among them chapters in New York, Ohio, California,
Washington state, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Mars Society members are also
waving the Martian flag (as it were) internationally, with the Mars Society
Polska reporting that a public presentation at the University of Warsaw was
well received. Likewise, the British chapter (Mars Society UK Ltd.) recently
hosted an “Afternoon on Mars” with the Challenger Learning Centre in
Leicester. More intriguing, UK members report that they have re-initiated
monthly London “Spacepub” meetings that bring together space advocates,
aerospace professionals and journalists.

The Red Planet Satellite Report offers a full listing of recent chapter and
task force activities. You can find it in the members section of the Mars
Society website at


Presidential-hopeful John McCain’s, in answer to the question: “Should the
U.S. pursue a manned mission to Mars?” published the following answer on his

“A manned mission to Mars appears to be technologically possible over the
next few years, but it would be a very costly undertaking. With the high
costs of the International Space Station, NASA doesn’t have enough funding
to undertake another major mission. However, if the cost of a manned mission
to Mars could be drastically reduced, I believe we should pursue this
important space exploration project.”

Editors’ note: It seems like Mr. McCain needs to hear more about the new
low-cost Mars mission architectures, such as the CalTech mission, Mars
Direct and NASA JSC’s Design Reference Mission.


In order to facilitate broad attendance at the Mars Society Convention, to
be held in Toronto August 10-13, 2000, Ryerson University has made available
to the Mars Society a block of 150 dormitory rooms that can be rented by
convention attendees at a rate of $22 (US) per night for students with ID,
or $33 (US) per night for others. These rates are much lower than the cost
of hotel rooms in Toronto, so if you wish to take advantage of this
money-saving offer, we suggest you reserve your room immediately.

Located approximately a one-minute walk from convention facilities, the
private rooms are dorm-style, with own telephone, TV, fridge and microwave
on every floor, and access to swimming pool and exercise room.

To reserve your room call Ryerson Residence Tel: (416) 979-5296


Valentine’s Day is coming, and, guys, this year the good news is that you
can show her your love, while helping get humans to Mars at the same time.
That’s right, romance her for Mars! The way to do it is to send her flowers
from 1-800-Flowers at the Mars Society Mall. It’s easy ó just go to the Mars
Society website at, click on ‘Shop Now,’ go to
1-800-Flowers and make your purchase. Five percent of whatever you spend
will go to the Mars Society to help build the Mars Society Flashline Arctic
Research Station, and other projects designed to help get humans to Mars.

Of course, if you really want to show her you care, offers fine
jewelry for the
serious romantic. But that’s not all that’s available at the Mall. Books,
clothing, art — it’s all for sale at the Mars Society Mall. And ladies,
don’t be left out! Guys like to get presents too. Everything a man can
possibly want (almost) can be gotten at the Mars Society mall.

The Mars Society Mall: If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.

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SpaceRef staff editor.