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Mars Society Announced Crew for Devon Island Simulation

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
May 18, 2009
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The Mars Society today announces the selection of six crew members, chosen to take part in a month-long Mars simulation on Devon Island in the Canadian arctic.

This will be the twelfth crew to inhabit the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), conducting a sustained program of field exploration while operating under Mars mission constraints. The simulation, conducted throughout the month of July, will provide the opportunity to conduct a range of research projects focused on understanding the technical and human factors which may be faced by the first human Mars explorers.

The 2009 FMARS expedition will be led by Commander and Chief Geologist Vernon Kramer of Del Mar College (Corpus Christi, TX), a seasoned mining engineer who has conducted exploration and mining development for multinational corporations in 42 states and 18 different countries.

Vernon will be leading a highly skilled team of scientists and engineers. This will include:

  • Executive Officer and Engineer Joseph Palaia of the 4Frontiers Corporation (New Port Richey, FL)
  • EVA Lead and Geologist Stacy Cusack of NASA JSC (Houston, TX)
  • Interdisciplinary Scientist Kristine Ferrone of NASA JSC (Houston, TX)
  • Chief Geophysicist Brian Shiro of NOAA (Ewa Beach, HI), and
  • Chief Medical Officer Christy Garvin of Vaughan Elementary School (Powder Springs, GA).

“We have selected a terrific crew for this year’s expedition,” said Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin. “With this mission, the Mars Society will renew its effort to learn how to explore the Red Planet in the most Mars-like environment on Earth.”

The 2009 FMARS expedition will continue the tradition of excellence in scientific and operational research set forth by past FMARS expeditions. The crew will execute an ambitious research program intended to provide improved understanding of how future human Mars explorers will search for resources via aerial, ground, and subsurface geophysical surveys. They also will conduct experiments studying the physiological and psychological aspects of human performance. The crew will perform repairs, upgrades, and improvements to the FMARS habitat, ensuring that the station will remain a premier Mars analog research destination for years to come.

As plans develop to return to the Moon and go on to Mars, analog facilities like FMARS can provide significant benefit to NASA and other organizations as they prepare for significant human space exploration. The 2009 FMARS simulation is occurring at a time when the United States space program is at a critical crossroads, with political leaders deciding if there will be a destination-driven space program conducted in the upcoming decades.

Commander Vernon Kramer sums things up nicely, “I look forward drawing upon the diverse life experiences of this crew as we explore new science and improve our understanding of how analog simulations, like FMARS, can help us prepare to go boldly where none have gone before. Move over Captain Kirk!”

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