Mars Society Names Crew for First Phase of Planned Year-Long Stay on Devon Island

A crew at FMARS in the Canadian Arctic. (Credit: Mars Society)
A crew at FMARS in the Canadian Arctic. (Credit: Mars Society)

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (Mars Society PR) — The Mars Society announced today the selection of nine crew members chosen to participate in the Mars Arctic 365 mission (Phase 1) this July at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic. This will be the thirteenth crew to inhabit the FMARS facility since its establishment in July 2000, continuing the Mars Society’s pioneering work in organizing sustained field exploration while operating under Mars mission constraints.

Scheduled to be in Canada for two weeks, the new crew will install key equipment and infrastructure and also upgrade systems needed to support the one-year Mars surface simulation expedition (Phase 2), which will begin in the summer of 2014. The visit to FMARS is also expected to include a limited duration Mars simulation exercise to provide crew members with an opportunity to gain first-hand experience with technical and human factor considerations which are likely to be faced by the first human explorers to the Red Planet.

The following nine people will make up the Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission crew for July 2013:

Joseph Palaia (Orlando, FL)

Mr. Palaia is the MA365 Crew Commander (Phase 1) and is a FMARS veteran who served as Executive Officer on the most recent Mars Society expedition to Devon Island in July 2009. He is also Chief Operating Officer of Earthrise Space Inc.

Dr. Alexander Kumar (Oxford, UK)

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. Kumar will serve as Principal Investigator of the MA365 mission and is a member of the project’s science team.

Adam Nehr (Orlando, FL)

Mr. Nehr is a veteran engineer experienced in electro-mechanical design and image system operations, who will serve as MA365 Executive Officer and Engineer (Phase 1). He is also Senior Manufacturing Engineer for Earthrise Space Inc.

Justin Sumpter (Orlando, FL)

Mr. Sumpter will serve as IT Specialist for the MA365 expedition (Phase 1). At present, he works as Senior Systems Administrator for Earthrise Space Inc.

Barry Stott (Chadds Ford, PA)

Mr. Stott is a veteran pilot and owner of several aircraft charter firms. He will serve as one of the pilots during the MA365 July mission. He is also a life-time Mars Society member and one of the major sponsors of the MA365 summer expedition.

Dr. Richard Sugden (Driggs, ID)

Dr. Sugden is a family medical doctor and an experienced pilot who owns Teton Aviation. He will serve as one of the pilots during the MA365 July visit to FMARS.

Richard Spencer (Wilson, WY)

Mr. Spencer is an experienced aviator who will fly one of the aircraft during the MA365 summer mission. He is also a former investment banker and headed several major investment firms. In addition, he served as a naval pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Garrett Edquist (Glenwood Springs, CO)

Mr. Edquist will serve as the crew videographer during the summer mission on Devon Island. He is experienced in filming and producing short-form films and documentaries and holds the position of Editor at Summit Films Inc.

James Moore (Farmington, CT)

Mr. Moore is an experienced photo-journalist who serves as Associate Editor of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Mr. Moore is being dispatched by AOPA on editorial assignment to cover the MA365 summer mission.

Commenting on the importance of MA365 and the summer mission, Dr. Alexander Kumar said, “Once completed, the first phase of the MA365 mission will open the door to new Mars-related science and exploration. The one-year Mars 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.

The MA365 Phase 1 expedition is made possible with the involvement of the summer crew, as well as through the generosity of key mission sponsors, including Barry Stott, the Louis L. Stott Foundation, Arctic Cat, Association Planète Mars, Earthrise Space Inc., ATCO Structures & Logistics Services, Iridium Communications Inc. and dozens of private donors. In addition, pilots Richard Sugden and Richard Spencer are kindly providing the use of their personal aircraft, Quest Kodiaks, to ferry crew, equipment and supplies to the Canadian Arctic and land them on Devon Island.

MA365 Crew Commander (Phase 1) Joseph Palaia sums up the summer mission as follows, “I know we will be able to depend on this terrific crew and talented pilots to complete our critical work, making FMARS a much more robust and capable simulated Mars habitat. MA365 Phase 1 prepares the facility, setting the stage for ground-breaking science in the upcoming MA365 one-year Mars surface simulation. I’m proud to be doing my part to help drive this initiative forward.”

A full report on the MA365 Phase 1 summer mission will be given by members of its crew at the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention, August 15-18, 2013 at the University of Colorado in Boulder. For more details about this year’s Mars Society convention, including registration details, please visit our website.

Your Help is Needed

While the beginning of the Mars Arctic 365 summer mission is only weeks away, additional funding still needs to be raised by the Mars Society to ensure the full success of the project.

Among the intended goals in upgrading the FMARS facility will be to refit and better insulate the hab, build an equipment storage shed and add two new generators, a thermal heating system, four all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), four snowmobiles (skidoos), a weather station, a ham radio station backup com system, a small electric range and an upgraded lab.

Those contributing $5,000 or more will be given the right to name any one of the 16 aforementioned major units (the hab was named after in 2000) as they choose, on a first come, first choice basis. Please indicate your top three preferences with your donation.

To raise money for the MA365 mission, the Mars Society is making use of the online fundraising system Crowdtilt. Those wishing to donate online are kindly asked to visit our Crowdtilt page. In addition, those interested in contributing by check should send their donation to The Mars Society, 11111 W. 8th Avenue, unit A, Lakewood, CO 80215 (USA).

All donations to the Mars Society, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, are tax deductible. Our organization’s federal tax ID number is 31-1585646. Please help make the Mars Arctic 365 mission a historic success by giving generously!