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January 1, 2011 - January 15, 2011

 Judah EpsteinCommander / Health & Safety Officer
 Jim CrowellExecutive Officer / Human Factors Researcher 
Amanda Damptz
Crew Geologist 
Lucinda Land
Automated Exploration Scientist
Tonya Thompson
Usability Engineer
Nathan WongCrew Engineer 

Judah Epstein is currently pursuing graduate studies in Geosciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. He previously graduated from UTD with an M.S. in Management/Entrepreneurship and from SMU with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.  Judah has worked throughout the USA and internationally on downhole robotic tools for horizontal well conveyance of perforating explosives and geoseismic logging operations as Field Engineer / Engineer In Charge in the oilfield.

Judah also serves as a part-time Deputy Sheriff and as 2LT in the TX State Guard (currently in Medical Unit & previously Military Police). He is active in the IEEE (Electrical Engineers), serving on the IEEE-CVT Board and previously as Chairman/Founder of his collegiate branch. While working in the oilfield, Judah was Chairman & Founder of the Central Arkansas Study Group of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. And while a student at SMU, Judah interned in the Robotics Laboratory working on the Pneumatic Haptic Interface System and also competed on the Varsity NCAA Division 1 Tennis Team.

In Judah's free time he enjoys many activities such as tennis, scuba diving (professional divemaster), rock/ice climbing, skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, ping pong, competitive shooting, archery, HAM radio, softball, hiking, and basically all other fun activities. Judah also works part-time as Wilderness Guide Leader / Rock Climbing Guide / Medic for Frisco Wilderness Adventures.

Judah has previously participated on MDRS research teams as Commander / HSO of Crew 84 and Crew Engineer / Executive Officer of MDRS Crew 78. Thereafter, he continued to support operations as part of the Engineering Team. Judah has ventured on many additional expeditions such as aqueduct development and Wounaan Indian expeditions deep in the Jungles of Panama, arsenic water filtration and research in Nepal, Muay Thai kickboxing training in Thailand, catching Anaconda & Piranha in Venezuela, medic in Jerusalem, NASA Planetary Field Volcanology, military hurricane deployments and medical missions on the TX/MX border, staff leader/guide throughout Israel, adventure races in US, MX, Norway, and both competing and working as a Jungle Medic in the 7 day Jungle Marathon; 220+KM unsupported foot race through the Amazon Jungle.

Judah's plan is to continue the adventure and join additional adventurous scientific research expeditions. This may include scientific research of extreme and remote environments, water exploration, expanding medic training (current Emergency Medical Technician EMT-B certified), completing his pilot's license (currently certified for solo flight), and continuing space exploration through additional research expeditions towards aspiration of becoming the ultimate explorer; an astronaut journeying to Mars.



Jim Crowell is currently a junior undergraduate student at Arizona State University, studying Earth and Space Exploration - Exploration Systems Design.  While at ASU, he has worked with He has worked with Dr. Phil Christensen, using the Mars Odyssey thermal emission imaging system (THEMIS), photographing and mapping areas of the Martian surface. He was also part of a team who, with Dr. Matt Fouch and Dr. Kip Hodges, developed a simulation which, when completed, set up a network of seismometers across the lunar surface to detect subsurface structure of Earth’s moon.  He is also the co-founder and president of the ASU chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space at ASU, as well as a NASA Space Grant intern at ASU.  After he completes his BS, he plans to continue onto graduate school to earn his MSc and PhD in space-related fields.


Jim is currently employed at NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), analyzing images of the Moon, locating and identifying geomorphological features, and mapping out the lunar surface in preparation for mankind’s return to the Moon.  He is also the Chief Financial Officer and Director of the Board of Astronauts for Hire, Inc., which seeks to increase the competitiveness of commercial astronaut candidates by providing skills training, facilitating forums for candidate communication, engaging with potential employers, and inspiring the next generation.


Jim has always loved every kind of adventure.  Apart from his busy schedule, he enjoys mountaineering, hiking, rock climbing, skydiving, cycling, downhill skiing, aviation, physical conditioning, and amateur astronomy.  Ultimately, Jim seeks to enable the progression of mankind’s exploration of space by developing systems for long-term, sustainable human presence on other worlds and traveling to these worlds, like Mars, to ensure mankind’s advancement.



Amanda Damptz is a senior majoring in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Her primary research interest is planetary surface morphology, particularly terrestrial analogs; her early research projects include a flexural study of the icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn.


During the summer of 2009 Amanda interned with the EPA, where she investigated facilities with known soil and/or ground water contamination.  She also spent the fall of 2009 and the summer of 2010 at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where she interned through the Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP).  Her project at NASA included investigating Martian rampart craters.


Currently, Amanda is the secretary of UIC's Terra Society, a student lead organization which focuses on the earth, energy and environment.  During the school year she is a Teacher's Assistant for a 100-level geology course.


Amanda will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in 2011.  She hopes to attend graduate school for Planetary Science.


Lucinda Land is currently the Executive Director of The Mars Society. She has been involved with the international non-profit space advocacy organization since 2002 when she became a life-time member. She has been familiar with Dr. Zubrin's Mars Direct plan since the United State's announcement to send humans to Mars in 1989 during the elder Bush administration. She has worn many hats within the organization as part of the Political Web Team, Regional Coordinator, Director of PR, and has led several lobbying efforts for the society's collaboration with the Space Exploration Alliance in Washington D.C. (2004 -2009).


In addition to her Ex. Dir. role for the society, Lucinda is currently under the supervision of Dr. Chris McKay at NASA Ames working with Spaceward Bound. Dr. McKay spent four years creating a Mars curriculum for students and teachers to teach field science at MDRS. Lucinda is now in the position to continue a strong education and outreach effort with NASA, The Mars Society, MDRS, and the general public. Her goal is to create an, "Introduction to Field Science on Mars 101" course utilizing Dr. McKay's results of his four year study to further science education and communication beyond Earth. She looks forward to when students state excitedly that they are, "Spaceward Bound".


Lucinda has a background in geology and graphic design and combined those talents to become a CA clear credentialed geoscience secondary education teacher. She has taught physical science with a Mars space science component to middle schoolers for the past five years. She is now focusing on finishing her MSc degree in Inter-Professional Science Education and Communication (IPSEC) at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, UK and is due to graduate in June 2011. Lucinda currently resides in Silicon Valley, CA. You can follow her twitter page at: LandOnMars

Tonya Thompson is a PhD student in the School of Informatics at Indiana University Bloomington. Her research interests include Human Computer Interaction, Complex Systems and Security. Specifically, she is interested in affective computing in Smart Homes.  She has always been fascinated with space travel and is particularly interested in the habitability of spacecraft and habitats.


Tonya is a NASA graduate student research program fellow (2008 to present).  She interns each summer with the Distributed Team Performance Lab in the Human-Systems Integration division at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA.  She also spends time training with the PsychoPhysiology Lab at Ames.  


Tonya is currently writing her dissertation.  In her spare time, she enjoys painting, digital art, bellydance, singing, cooking and learning how things are made. Her current project is a flotation tank.


Nathan Wong is a senior undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, focusing on Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics.  Upon graduation in the spring he will be attending graduate school pursuing a Ph.D in aerospace engineering.  At the University of Wisconsin he is president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, and the Zero G team.


Nathan has held multiple internships in the space industry relating to exploration.  He worked at NASA Glenn Research Center on a portable metabolic analyzer and at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center on in-situ resource utilization.  He also worked at Ventions LLC on various aerospace projects.


At MDRS Nathan will serve as Crew Engineer, while also performing a study on rock varnish as a habitat for Martian bacteria.