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January 29, 2011 - February 12, 2011

Donna Viola Commander
Heidi Beemer Executive Officer, Chief Geologist, Science Team Leader

Kevin Newman Chief Engineer
Andrea 'Andie' Gilkey

Health and Safety Officer, Chief Biologist
Max Fagin Crew Engineer and Astronomer

Sukrit RanjanCrew Astronomer and Journalist

Donna Viola is a senior undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she will be completing her self-designed major in astrobiology in May of 2011. Next fall, she plans on beginning graduate school to pursue a PhD in an astrobiology-related field.

Donna has wanted to be an astronaut since she was 16, shortly after suddenly and irrevocably setting her sights on a career in science. She has since gained a range of research experiences in planetary science and biology through her participation in the 2009 SETI Institute REU in Astrobiology, the 2010 NASA Ames Academy, and semester research at Johns Hopkins University. She is also actively involved on campus at UMBC, as vice president of both the Astronomy Club and the Interdisciplinary Studies Council of Majors, captain of the women's rugby team, and a tutor for introductory chemistry classes.

She will be returning for her third rotation at MDRS after previous stints with Crew 80 in 2009 and Crew 87 in 2010, and is looking forward to her first opportunity as commander.


Heidi Beemer is the Crew Executive Commander, Crew Geologist, and Science Team Leader of Project LAMBDA for Crew 99. In May she will graduate from the Virginia Military Institute as a Chemistry major and Astronomy minor.

Heidi has held many leadership roles at VMI, including Alpha Company Lieutenant

and Cadet Equity Association Vice President. This summer, as a member of the 2010 NASA Ames Academy, she worked with Dr. Nathalie Cabrol on creating a geological map of Mars' Newton Crater. After graduation Heidi will commission in the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant. Her long-term plans include a PhD in Planetary Geology and a NASA career, hopefully as a member of the Astronaut Corps.

Heidi is very excited about Crew 99's mission and is proud to help add knowledge to the ever expanding pool that will one day help send men and women to Mars and beyond.

Kevin Newman is a senior undergraduate at the University of Arizona. He is studying Optical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and will graduate with his bachelor's degree in May of 2011. His research interests are based on using the study of light for exploration of the universe. Currently this includes development of an adaptive optics system for the 61" Kuiper Telescope, which will be dedicated to the engineering research of adaptive optics techniques and advanced instruments.

Kevin began working with the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics as part of a Space Grant internship in the fall of 2007. Over the past summer, Kevin participated in the NASA Academy at the Ames Research Center, where he developed a system of video cameras to track and record meteors in cooperation with the SETI Institute.

In his spare time, Kevin enjoys exploring Earth by various means of adventure, including hiking, scuba diving, flying, and boating.

Kevin is serving as the crew engineer and is the engineering lead for the LAMBDA experiment.


Andrea 'Andie' Gilkey is a 1st year masters student at MIT in the aeronautics and astronautics department. Her research interests include human biomechanics and spacesuit design. She obtained her B.S. degree in biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Andie has had the opportunity to take part in NASA Academy at Ames Research Center where she analyzed perceptual and oculomotor performance data of astronauts during a launch simulation of next-generation spacecraft. She has also interned at NASA Johnson Space Center in the Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility conducting an evaluation of the suit-seat interface in Orion. Last year she had the opportunity to fly an experiment on NASA's Zero-G plane as a part of the Microgravity University program.

Andie will serve as the Health and Safety Officer and Chief Biologist, while conducting experiments testing an extravehicular mission planner.

Max Fagin is a 5th year B.E. student at Dartmouth College, where he studies mechanical engineering. He did his undergraduate work at Vassar College, where he earned two bachelors in Physics and Astronomy, respectively. He spent last summer at Ames as part of the 2010 NASA Academy, working under Dr. Pete Worden on the design of a Phobos impacting probe based on the LCROSS mission template. At Dartmouth, he works at the Lynch Rocket Lab, designing CubeSat payloads for flight on high altitude balloons and sounding rockets. Working at MDRS has been one of his life goals ever since he was 12.

In his spare time he enjoys acting, filmmaking, kite boarding, skiing and amateur astronomy. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, The Mars Society, The American Radio Relay League and the International Thespian Society.


Sukrit Ranjan will be serving as crew astronomer and journalist for Crew 99. Sukrit holds an S.B. in physics from MIT and is currently studying astrobiology and exoplanets as a grad student at Harvard. He looks forward to helping move forward project LAMBDA, helping restore Musk Observatory, and communicating the MDRS experience as part of the 2010 field season.