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March 26, 2011 - April 9, 2011

Yuval BrodskyCrew Geologist, Human Factors Researcher
Franco Carbognani Commander, Crew Engineer
John E. Deaton Health & Safety Officer, Crew  Psychologist, Human Factors Researcher
Angeliki  Kapoglou
Materials Engineer, Journalist
Kavya K. ManyapuCrew Physiologist, Human Factors Researcher, Back-up Engineer, Journalist
Lara VimercatiExecutive Officer, Crew Biologist

Yuval Brodsky graduated from McMaster University in 2009 with an honors B.Sc. in Earth and Environmental Sciences, with a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS). In 2010 he earned his M.Sc. in Space Management from the International Space University. Yuval is a highly inter-disciplinary scientist, and specializes in integrated applications and solutions using space-based assets. He has worked on a variety of projects in the fields of disaster response/relief, public health, natural resource management, mobile asset tracking, and many others. He has also worked as a systems engineer on a recent successful balloon-sat project. Yuval has a keen interest in human performance in extreme environments, particularly space. He has worked as a forest firefighter with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and an inshore rescue specialist with the Canadian Coast Guard. In his free time, Yuval enjoys playing soccer, guitar, cooking, and a variety of outdoor adventure sports. He also takes pleasure in traveling, photography, motorcycle riding and graphic design.      .



Franco Carbognaniis currently Head of Interferometer Operation Department supporting the Virgo Gravitational Wave Detector Project at the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) in Pisa, Italy. In particular he is providing onsite Software Engineering support and participates in all the efforts related to the control of a large experimental facility and the integration of heterogeneous industrial subsystems.

He holds an MSc with double Major in EECS (Information Technology/Hardware Engineering) from the University of Bologna and CEFRIEL Research Center in Milan. Franco professional experience focus on the areas of Control Software, Software Engineering and System Level Design both within large international companies and research institutions. He has previously worked for the Very Large Telescope(VLT) Project at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Munich. During his military service, Franco served as Army Lieutenant with the duty of Mortar Platoon Commander.

His passion for space and astronomy comes from a young age when he built his first telescope stealing his father binoculars. He enthusiastically advocates Mars exploration within the Italian chapter of the Mars Society.

Franco enjoy riding his recumbent bike, playing drums and folk dancing.


Dr. John E. Deaton is an active aviation research psychologist, currently working as the Chair of the Human Factors program at the Florida Institute of Technology in central Florida (Melbourne), and Director of Research for the College of Aeronautics.  As such, he regularly develops and participates in research efforts generally related to human performance in stressful environments, aviation psychology, man-machine systems, artificial intelligence applications, G-induced loss of consciousness, human-computer interaction and design, and cross-cultural psychology, among others.  Most of this work is for the Department of Defense and the FAA and involves the development of training systems using intelligent tutor technology, virtual training technology, the integration of artificial intelligence methodologies, and training issues associated with NEXTGEN aircraft.  John was a former Commander in the U.S. Navy, having completed the Navy’s basic flight training, and receiving his flight wings as an Experimental Aerospace Psychologist.  John was a semi-finalist in the selection process for NASA’s Astronaut Training Program, and shares a keen interest in space travel and specifically the long-term effects of space exploration.   In his spare time you'll probably find him flying his radio controlled airplanes at a local park, practicing martial arts, or helping his two teenage daughters with their homework.

Angeliki Kapoglou is a Materials Engineer (MSc) with specialization in the Quality Control of Materials. One of her most educating experiences so far has been the participation at CERN’s Summer Internship program as an undergrad. At CERN she had the privilege to work in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division. After her graduation Angeliki admitted to the Trainee Program at the Materials Mechanics and Processes Section within the European Space Agency (ESTEC/ESA).  There she performed quality assessment, using Scanning Kelvin Probe force Microscopy on Germanium-Kapton and Germanium-Upilex coatings (High-tech space materials for extreme environments) and followed closely the MICAST project (examination of different growth patterns and the evolution of Al microstructures during crystallization in microgravity at the International Space Station) and a study session of the MarSREx Concurrent Design, investigating the challenges related to an Mars mission. The fact that she has been trained and worked for ESA’s Materials and Processes (M&P) Laboratories, is a direct indication of her knowledge in the field of Quality Control and N.D.T testing, by which hardware is qualified for space use. Additionally her experience at ESTEC afforded her greater insight into the space missions and confirmed her desire to work on space related projects. Angeliki is also a research fellow at CALTECH studying the fracture toughness of a new class of bulk metallic glass. But her involvement to the space sector is not only limited to materials research. She has been active member of many space related organizations, like Euroavia, the Space Generation Council and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) for more than six years. This provides her with a good knowledge of the international space sector mechanisms, its objectives and programs. Currently, she acts as the Greek National Point of Contact for the Space Generation Advisory Council in support of the United Nations programme on space applications.  SGAC is a global non-governmental organization which has a permanent observer status at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Angeliki is addicted to photography and travelling around the world. Other things that she loves include good restaurants, Singularity and pop culture. She particularly enjoys travel souvenirs, LOST marathons, pasta, carrot cake, and polar bears!

Kavya K.Manyapu  graduated  with Masters in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2010. Her interest in humankind’s space endeavors began with her  father’s stories of the Apollo flights when she was a child. She has since cultivated a deep interest in space engineering, with the ultimate goal of becoming an Astronaut. At the Field and Space Robotics lab at MIT, she worked on using advanced renewable power sources (micro fuel cells) for powering sensor networks in extreme environments for both space and terrain applications. She worked on a project sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory using fuel cells for powering small sensors  with long mission durations on the Lunar poles. During her graduate studies she also worked in the Space Physiology area as a team member on a project that combined exercise, vibration and artificial gravity and conducted experiments that intended to reduce bone loss in Astronauts during long term exposure to microgravity.

She did her undergrad at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Aerospace Engineering in 2006. At the Space Systems Design Lab at Gatech her research focus was on the Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) phase for Robotic and Human Exploration of Mars.  She also conducted EDL (parachute) analysis for the student led Mars Gravity Bio-satellite program as a Gatech student in collaboration with MIT in 2005-2006. She worked on the Orion-Constellation program for 2 years after her undergrad at Lockheed Martin as a Space Systems Engineer. During her years at Lockheed, she participated in the International Astronautical Congress, Space Generation Congress and other space outreach programs where she worked on several projects in support of the human exploration of space and conducted outreach activities in support of the same. She presently works at the Boeing Company as a Structural analyst on the 777 aircraft. She is also a professional Indian classical  dancer and her hobbies include acting, star gazing, running, swimming, riding motorcycles.

Lara Vimercati has always dreamt of becoming an astronaut and one day joining the first manned mission to Mars. Since high school she was very interested in all science subjects and decided to pursue a Major in Biology while in college. As she had always wanted to work for NASA, she initiated her path towards space science through an internship at the Australian Center for Astrobiology. This 3 month internship permitted her to work on hyperthermophiles phylogenetics for her undergraduate thesis in 2007. Her interest in astrobiology and extremophiles has continued to grow since her undergraduate studies. After undergraduate school, Lara worked for 9 months in 2009 in a collaboration between SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center. In this assignment she focused on UV radiation resistant halophiles which were flown into space on the Biopan experiment. After this internship she received a Master's Degree in Advanced Biology.
She is currently involved in a Plantary Biology Internship at Nasa Ames Research Center where she is focusing on the existing connection of Dessication and UV radiation resistance in cryptoendolythic Cyanobacteria.
Lara also has a deep interest in evolutionary biology and the origin of life. She firmly believes that quantum mechanics will reveal the answers about the accident that we call life. Lara plans on pursuing a PhD in anything related to space science and would like to get a degree in geology and astrophysics. She can’t wait to spend 2 weeks at MDRS, which will be a unique opportunity for her whereas she can further understand the experience of living and researching on Mars.
In her free time, Lara enjoys travelling all over the world, trying extreme sports, hiking, camping, and being with friends. She hopes to climb the highest mountains on Earth, acquire a skydiver and pilot license, and explore the most remote and unknown places on the planet.