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Spaceward Bound Mars Simulations Background

The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope. – Teilhard de Chardin.

Spaceward Bound is a two-week student training and research mission to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. Crew members are expected to plan all aspects of the expedition, including learning how to get along "off the grid." They are involved in all aspects of mission planning from logistics, to research, to Advanced Extravehicular Activities training. Student training and research missions generally take place in the fall.

The Vision for Space Exploration calls for the first human landing on the Moon between 2018 and 2020 and missions to Mars to follow. Of the crews that will be sent, many of the next generation of moon walkers, and the first Mars walkers, are studying in universities and graduate research labs right now...

To begin to prepare these explorers, the students perform actual research on local geology, crewmember physiology, and microbiology as well as field-testing on new EVA hardware, rigging data loggers, and performing work-study task and procedure analysis. A significant portion of the work is done before the trip, working out the logistics of what equipment will be necessary during a two-week stay in a Mars analogue environment. Crews typically work 12-15 hour days and are expected to conduct themselves as leaders.

Anyone majoring in an engineering or scientific field is welcome to apply. Students may be either grad students, undergraduates, recent graduates or teachers at the time that they apply. Preference will be for people with field research experience and/or a demonstrated comfort in being in a rugged environment.

Applications are invited from those in good physical condition, at least 18 years of age of any race, creed, color, gender, age or sexual orientation. Scientific, engineering, practical mechanical, first aid, wilderness, literary skills, ability to work as part of a team, a commitment to human space exploration and a good sense of humor are all considered a plus. Those selected are invited to participate in crew training exercises, and asked to create a code of conduct for their crew and adhere to mission guidelines as established by the instructors during the expedition. Every participant must commit to being in Utah for the full expedition and will be required to sign a liability waiver.

Each participant will receive a 500$ stipend to put toward travel to Grand Junction, Colorado. Spaceward Bound will pay for transportation between the Grand Junction airport and MDRS, and all expenses at MDRS including room and board.

Spaceward Bound crew rotations at MDRS take place from October to March each year and are currently planned through 2010. Applications are through the Mars Society. New annnouncements appear at: or contact: Julie Edwards -- Be sure to mention Spaceward Bound in your message.

Past Expeditions: Spaceward Bound, Expedition: MDRS 1 (November 2006 through April 2007)


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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: April 2007
Students Contact: Loretta Hidalgo
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe