2015-2016 MDRS Crew Applications Now Being Accepted

A snowy first day "on Mars" courtesy of crew 131 at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah. Image Credit: The Mars Society

A snowy first day “on Mars” courtesy of crew 131 at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah. Image Credit: The Mars Society

December 11, 2014 – The Mars Society is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) field season. Each MDRS crew will consist of six people who will spend two weeks at the Mars analog habitat in southern Utah conducting simulation work in one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth to help prepare human explorers for a mission to the Red Planet.

Mars Analog Research Stations are laboratories on Earth that allow teams to experience what it will be like to live and work on another planet. Each is a prototype of a habitat that will land humans on Mars and serve as their main base for months of exploration in the harsh Martian environment.

In addition to providing scientific insight into the Red Planet, the analog environment offers unprecedented opportunities to carry out Mars analog field research in a variety of key scientific and engineering disciplines that will help prepare humans for the exploration of that planet. The research is vitally necessary before we leave Earth. For example, it is one thing to walk around a factory test area in a new spacesuit prototype and show that a wearer can pick up a wrench – it is entirely another to subject that same suit to two months of real field work. Similarly, psychological studies of human factors issues, including isolation and habitat architecture are also only useful if the crew being studied is attempting to do real work in an isolated environment.

The make-up of each team will vary, with some consisting of scientists, teachers, students, journalists and artists, as well as veteran and new crew members. There are also special crew opportunities for this upcoming season. Crew 156 will be an all-engineering team, while Crew 170 is open to all veteran MDRS crew members who served on Crews 1-70. Standard fees are waived for both of these crews. Applications are also being accepted for one, three and four week rotations at MDRS.

While on site, crews will carry out a variety of research directly related to human Mars exploration. Areas of testing will include: geology, microbiology, communications, bio-medical, human factors, engineering, astronomy, food nutrition, robotics and agriculture, to name a few.

The priority deadline is January 15, 2015 and final deadline for consideration is July 1, 2015. Crew selection will begin shortly after the priority deadline, and any application received after that date will be given consideration on a space available basis only.

The Mars Society is a non-profit group that advocates for manned exploration of Mars. For more information, and to apply, visit: http://mdrs.marssociety.org