The Mars Society announced its team of scientists that will initiate the Mars Arctic 365 mission, which is slated to take place at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in Devon Island, Canada. Areas of research the team will conduct include geology, microbiology, human physiology and psychology, nutrition-food studies, field technology studies, and more. The simulated Mars mission is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014 and is intended to be the most realistic simulation of a manned Mars mission to date.
The eight-person team involved in mission planning is as follows:
Dr. Alexander Kumar (Principal Investigator):
Dr. Kumar is a British medical doctor and experienced scientific explorer who spent one year at Concordia Station in Antarctica and also organized the White Mars field study for Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ Coldest Journey expedition across the southern continent.
Dr. Chris McKay:
Dr. McKay is a planetary scientist at NASA who specializes in astrobiology, planetary atmospheres, terraforming, and planning for the human exploration of Mars, and has extensive experience in polar field work. He was also one of the founders of The Mars Underground.
Dr. Carol Stoker:
Dr. Stoker is a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center who works on developing instruments and robotic systems for space exploration and has led field testing in numerous analog environments, including Antarctica. She was also one of the founders of The Mars Underground.
Dr. Penelope Boston:
Dr. Boston is a speleologist and astrobiologist specializing in the study of caves, related subsurface structures, and geomicrobiology. She serves as academic director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute and was one of the founders of The Mars Underground.
Dr. James Rice:
Dr. Rice is an astrogeologist specializing in the surface geology and history of water on Mars. He is also a co-investigator and geology team leader on the MER (Spirit & Opportunity) project. In addition, Dr. Rice has extensive field experience in Antarctica, the High Arctic, Hawaii, and elsewhere.
Dr. Robert Zubrin:
Dr. Zubrin is an aerospace engineer, author, and president and founder of the Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet. He is also president of Pioneer Astronautics.
Mr. Fletcher is a Ph.D. candidate at Oxford (UK) specializing in environmental microbiology, planetary sciences, and engineering. He has also carried out extensive biological field studies in the harsh Mars-like deserts of Peru and Chile.
Ms. Rupert is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Mexico specializing in biological sciences and ecology. She also serves as Mission Director of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a Mars Society sponsored simulation analog in the Utah desert.
“Once completed, the first phase of the Mars Arctic 365 mission will open the door to new Mars-related science and exploration. The one-year Mars surface simulation on Devon Island will serve as one of the most reliable Mars analog studies conducted to date and will involve true isolation and real challenges lasting 365 days, where science, organized by some of the world’s leading experts and institutions, will cover topics ranging from human biology to geology to climate research,” Dr. Kumar said.
An update on the Mars Arctic 365 mission will be provided (including a pre-mission visit to the FMARS site) at the 16th annual International Mars Society Convention, which will be held August 15-18 at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
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