Status Report

Mars Society Special Bulletin #46

By SpaceRef Editor
July 16, 2001
Filed under , ,

In this Issue

*** Mars Society Mission Simulation Begins in the High Arctic

*** Mars Desert Research Station Exhibit Opens at Kennedy Space

*** Mars Society Convention News

*** Mars Society Political Work Expands

*** Ares 3 CD Issued


Mars Society Mission Simulation Begins in the High Arctic

After a week-long delay due to bad weather, the Mars Society mission
simulation has begun at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on
Devon Island. The first crew rotation led by Project Scientist Pascal
Lee began on July 7, and although cut short by the startup delays,
was able to perform three EVAs, including a broad ranging motorized
reconnaissance of some of Devon’s Mars-like canyon systems. The
second rotation, led by Mars Society President Robert Zubrin, began
on July 12, and has thus far conducted three EVAs including a
paleontology survey of Haynes Ridge, during which 400
million year old fossil bacterial stromatolites were found and live
extremophile cyanobacteria were sampled for later microphotography in
the station. Such fossils and bacterial samples are exactly the type
of evidence of life that human explorers will need to search for on
Mars. In another 4 hour, 3 person EVA, the second crew succeeded in
deploying an elaborate 24-sensor geophone flute array, getting good
seismic data on the subsurface composition of Haynes Ridge to a depth
of more than 500 meters.

Commenting on the mission simulation activities so far, Dr. Zubrin
said; “These field exercises are showing the tremendous power that
human explorers will bring to Mars exploration. In less than a week
we have performed essential exploration tasks that would have taken
robots decades. The Haynes Ridge paleontology survey alone required
traveling all over a very rocky piece of terrain and processing the
equivalent of millions of high resolution images for subtle clues. It
is doubtful that a fleet of robots, if landed in the same place,
would ever have found the stromatolites. The geophone deployment
would essentially be impossible using robots. What we are showing
is that if we are serious about doing science on Mars, it is
essential that we send people.”

Located at 75 degrees north, Devon Island is a polar desert
containing a 20 km crater left by a massive meteor impact that has
created some of the most Mars-like geology on Earth. For 7 weeks, six
rotating crews of the Mars Society’s Flashline Mars Arctic Research
Station will conduct a sustained program of field science on Devon
while operating in the same style and under many of the same
constraints that human crews will be faced with on Mars. By
practicing on Devon, we hope to start developing the field tactics
that will allow humans to explore most effectively on Mars.

Press interest in the Flashline Station field exercise has been
intense, with heavy coverage from the Discovery Channel,, Popular Science, and, and further major
stories planned by Popular Science, CNN, and others. For the most
complete coverage, including transcripts of the personal
journals of many of the crew members and selections of the log of
Mars Society Mission Support in Denver, visit the FMARS website at

A complete report on the Flashline Station activities from many of
the participants will be presented at the 4th International Mars
Society Convention, to be held August 23-26, 2001 at Stanford
University, Stanford , CA. See the Mars Society website for
registration information.


Mars Desert Research Station Exhibit Opens at Kennedy Space Center

After months of planning and weeks of grueling labor, The Mars
Society is proud to announce that our MDRS exhibit has opened for
viewing at Kennedy Space Center. The exhibit consists of an
informational display in a large dome tent, with artwork and models
graphically illustrating a potential colony on the red planet. After
viewing the display, visitors are guided through the actual MDRS,
outfitted as a research station, complete with Incinolet lavatory and
Astronaut Ice Cream. Mars Society tour guides explain the viability
and importance of manned exploration of Mars, as well as the
Mars Society’s role in advocating for exploration. The exhibit is
currently receiving between 800 and 1000 visitors daily.

A highlight of the exhibit is a nightly dialogue with the Devon
Island research team. Maintaining protocol and communicating through
Mission Support, visitors are allowed to send audio questions and
receive responses directly from FMARS crewmembers.

Kennedy Space center is an easy 35 mile drive from Orlando and well
worth the visit. The Mars Society exhibit is located in the
Explorers area near the shuttle model and open from 10:00 a.m. to
8:00 p.m. daily. The live link occurs at 6:00 p.m. EST.

Additional volunteers are needed to staff the exhibit. Volunteers
are provided with transportation, housing right on the beach and a
daily meal allowance. Our second crew of volunteers even got to see
the shuttle lift-off. Openings exist for the entire month of August,
through Labor Day, for both tour guides and take down crew. You must
be willing to commit at least two weeks to the project, be eighteen
years old, a U.S. citizen (badging for non-citizens to enter KSC
takes 8 weeks or longer), and a committed Mars Society member. If
you are interested in participating in this very exciting event,
contact and

For more information on the Mars Desert Research Station visit the new
web site at


Mars Society Convention News

The deadline for abstract submissions, which was extended to July 15,
has now closed. Once again we have received over 100 abstracts
covering a broad range of topics. Planned highlights of the
convention include a plenary presentation by Elon Musk, founder of and Mars Society Board Member, on private sector involvement in
Mars exploration, a panel presentation Thursday evening on the link
between Mars exploration and environmental issues, a special panel on
Friday evening featuring noted authors of Mars fiction, reading from
and discussing their works, an on-sight viewing of the Michigan
Mars Analog Rover, a youth session Saturday afternoon sponsored by US
Space Camp, the latest reports from Devon Island and Kennedy Space
Center, and many more exciting and unique events.

Convention flyers are available for chapters wishing to promote the
convention. The flyers feature line art derived from Robert Murray’s
inspirational Mother and Child on Mars painting displayed at our KSC
exhibit. Email to receive a supply of flyers.

As you watch the video reports from the FMARS, be sure to check out
the new official Mars Society cap. A small quantity of these hats
will be available for sale at the convention. We will have a few
other surprises in store as well.

In response to some recent email questions, I have prepared a short
convention FAQ.

What are the hours of the convention?

Early registration begins at 6:00 p.m. Wed., Aug 22, at the
Governor’s Corner Dormitory area. The conference opens for
registration at 8:00 a.m. Thurs. the 23rd and the first plenary
session begins at 9:00 a.m. There are evening events Thursday,
Friday and Saturday. The conference closes at 6:00 p.m. on
Sunday, August 26th.

Where on campus is the conference located?

The conference is located in the central area of campus. Morning
plenary and registration will be held at Dinkelspiel Auditorium.
Tracks will be held in various locations from Memorial Auditorium and
Annenberg at one end of campus to Dinkelspiel at the other. The walk
is about three blocks from one end to the other; a pleasant stroll
under shaded verandas for the most part.

Where are the dorms located?

The dorms are located in the Governor’s Corner area of campus, a few
blocks from the conference location.

What nights are covered by my dorm room reservation?

Dorm check in begins on Wednesday evening and check out is before
noon on Sunday. We will arrange for a location for luggage storage.
You will need to tender a $75 key deposit in advance of check-in,
which will be returned when you turn in your key at check out. If
you have booked a double room but not specified a roommate, Stanford
personnel will assign a roommate of the same gender.

I have trouble walking long distances. How can I get from the dorm
to the event?

We anticipate renting a few golf-cart type vehicles for use by our
mobility-impaired guests.

What is the fee for children?

Children under the age of 10 are admitted with a parent at no
charge. They are free to attend the banquet on Saturday night
without paying, but we cannot guarantee seating. Because the meal is
buffet style, you may share a small portion with your child. We do
not offer babysitting services, however US Space Camp is planning on
offering a youth program on Saturday, the 25th.

Can I cancel my registration and obtain a full refund?

Up to July 31st you may cancel your reservation for any reason.
Because the reservation fee does include membership dues, we
encourage you to request only the conference portion of your
contribution as a refund. After July 31st, we will consider
refunding conference registration fees with cause.

How can I help?

The conference, like all Mars Society activities, is manned entirely
by volunteer staff. We can always use help with registration and
logistics. Even if you only have an hour or two to spare, stop by
the registration desk and lend a hand.


Mars Society Political Work Expands – The Mars Society Speaks to the
Bush Administration

Last year, The Mars Society received a tremendous amount of publicity
concerning it’s “Operation President” program. Mars Society members
all around the United States were able to bring the Society’s “humans
to Mars “message to all of the candidates and numerous members of
Congress, as well as advisors. Over the past several months, the
fruits of those labors have begun to pay off. During this past winter
and spring, Mars Society members Joe Webster, Chris Carberry, Tom
Hill, Alan Rubin, and Robert Terry, have had meetings with high
ranking members of the Bush Administration, including bringing our
message directly into the West Wing of the White House. During these
meetings, various concepts were discussed, including the proposal to
commit one percent of NASA’s budget to investigate technologies
required for a human mission to Mars, strategies to encourage
the private sector to take the lead in sending humans to Mars (i.e.
tax incentives), and a range of other funding possibilities. One
official noted that the Administration is clearly interested in Mars
exploration, as evidenced by the substantial increase for the robotic
Mars program proposed for FY 2002. In addition, there appears to be
some interest by the Administration in the one percent proposal, but
it was clear that the Administration wants to ensure that the Space
Station funding situation has been stabilized before proposing any
major new programs for NASA. We intend to maintain an ongoing dialog
with the Administration on these issues in the months ahead.

These developments are a direct result of contacts we made during The
Mars Society’s “Operation President” program last year. According to
Chris Carberry and Joe Webster, the Society intends to continue these
efforts, and at the same time, intensify the efforts of the Society’s
new Congressional outreach program, “Operation Congress.” During the
fall of 2001, “Operation Congress” intends to provide every member of
Congress with the information regarding the proposal to commit one
percent of NASA’s budget to a program that would develop many
of the technologies necessary for future human Mars exploration. This
will be achieved through a major letter writing campaign, a
literature drop in Washington, D.C., as well as several other
initiatives, details of which will be announced at The Mars
Society convention at Stanford University this summer.


Ares 3 CD Magazine Issued

Mars Society members (who have kept their snail mail addresses up to
date) began receiving the Ares 3 CD last week. Highlights of volume
3 include Sam Burbank’s Mars Society movie report on Devon Island and
the FMARS as well as a complete slide show presentation and many
other nifty features. Quicktime is required to view the movie. If
you do not already have this program on your computer, you can
download it at no charge from the Apple website.

We have a supply of these high quality CD’s available for chapter
outreach activities. They can be purchased in bulk at $5.00 each for
quantities of 100 or more, or $3.00 each for quantities greater than
1000. The quality and content of volume 3 make it an outstanding
product for chapter use.

SpaceRef staff editor.