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Crew Announcements for 2012-13 Field Season

posted Aug 24, 2012, 3:18 PM by James Burk   [ updated Sep 9, 2012, 10:30 PM ]

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that preparations for the 12th annual Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) field season in Utah is moving ahead as planned.  The upcoming season is currently scheduled to run from December 1, 2012 through May 4, 2013.

Volunteer positions are now open for participating crew members at the MDRS.  Crew members will be required to pay for their own transportation to/from Grand Junction, Colorado and also provide a $1,000 participation fee (reduced to $500 for students) to cover station expenses.  Volunteers should send their applications to:MDRSapplications@marssociety.org by September 30, 2012 in order to be considered. 

Both individual applications and group applications of up to an entire crew (6 people) will be considered. 

Applications to MDRS should include: 

+ Your full name,

+ Full contact information (home/work address, telephone numbers, email address(es),

+ 3 references from work or school environment,

+ A copy of your resume,

+ Proposed projects for your rotation,

+ A list of all crew rotation dates in which you would be available to participate,

+ The crew position (engineer, biologist, geologist, journalist, etc.) that you are seeking,

+ Experience in leading expeditions/teams if you wish to be considered for the position of crew commander,

+ Any food allergies / being a vegetarian or vegan (because of the ongoing food-study).  In particular, please answer the following question: “Is there any specific food or drink that you cannot or will not consume for medical, ethnical, religious, cultural or other reasons?”  Y/N.  If the answer is yes, please describe the dietary restrictions you observe,

+ Research project(s) for your rotation or even several rotations during the season (having a research project aimed at publishable results is definitely a leg-up in getting selected).

To enhance your chance of finding a crew rotation, it is very important that you list ALL slots in which you could participate.


Tentative MDRS rotations are as follows: 

Dec. 1 - Dec.16                  MDRS crew 119

Dec. 15 - Dec. 30               MDRS crew 120

Dec. 29 - Jan. 12                MDRS crew 121

Jan. 11 - Jan. 26                 MDRS crew 121

Jan. 25 - Feb. 9                   MDRS crew 122

Feb. 8 - Feb. 23                   MDRS crew 123

Feb. 22 - Mar. 9                    MDRS crew 124

Mar. 8 - Mar. 23                    MDRS crew 125

Mar. 22 - Apr. 6                     MDRS crew 126

Apr. 5 - Apr. 20                      MDRS crew 127

Apr. 19 - May 4                      MDRS crew 128


Included in the participation fee you pay to the Mars Society is:

+ Transportation from Grand Junction, Colorado to MDRS, where every participant is expected to arrive no later than the Friday night before the start of the rotation,  

+ The return trip from MDRS to Grand Junction will usually be on the Saturday evening at the end of the two week rotation (Note: Flying out should not be booked before Sunday morning after your rotation),

+ Food during the rotation,

+ Water, heating, electricity,

+ Use of science and engineering and general equipment, science reagents, etc.,

+ ATVs, HabCar,

+ Use of EVA suits / backpacks


Not included in the participation fee:

Cost of gasoline for the trip from Grand Junction to the Hab and the return trip from the Hab to Grand Junction (160 miles one-way).  Cost of two hotel nights for the overnight stay on Friday night before your rotation and Saturday night after your rotation.  The Mars Society has an agreement for a competitive room rate in Grand Junction with the Sandman Best Western motel.  Sharing of motel rooms is recommended.  The Best Western room rate includes free breakfast and free Wi-Fi Internet, plus an airport shuttle between GJT Walker Airfield and the motel.

For a list of what to bring in gear and clothes, please read the crew briefing documents carefully.

Every crew is expected to participate in a number of season-long projects.  At the moment that includes:

The ongoing food study in cooperation under the supervision of Prof. Jean Hunter of Cornell University.  All food including snacks at the MDRS will be provided by the Mars Society.

Other season-long research projects determined by the MDRS Remote Science Team will be added before the season starts in December.

Anyone applying for the position of crew engineer, a vitally important job for the station as a whole and your crew in particular, needs to have a varied background in many engineering/handyman duties, and needs to be willing to be trained on the systems of the station by the Engineering Team.  You must follow instructions from Mission Support.

Please note that no modifications or additions to the facility will be conducted without prior approval from Mission Support Engineering.

Applications received well in advance of the September 30, 2012 deadline are greatly appreciated, and will receive special consideration for the earlier crew slots.

Click here to access the required crew onboarding documents.  These will need to be read and signed by every crewmember.

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