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Crew 108

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December 3, 2011 - December 18, 2011

Charlotte PouponCommander
Michael LeClairExecutive Officer / HSO
Ashley DaleEngineer
Mike LottoEngineer
Usha LingappaAstrobiologist
Alicia FramisArtist

Charlotte Poupon, 34, Industrial Designer - Station Leader, France.

After ten years as a professional journalist, Charlotte chose to turn to industrial design. For her graduation thesis and project, she is working on extreme and unusual environments (EUEs), and isolated and confined ones (ICE) such as submarines, polar stations in Antarctica, space ship/stations or future extra-terrestrial settlements.

As a Reservist on Duty for the French Navy (Marine nationale), she boarded a submarine in august 2010 to study the living/working conditions of the crew. Now, she is working on the living quarters design of the future generation of French submarines (aka Barracuda).

As a civilian, she went to Antarctica during the summer campaign 2011, being part of the 45th ground logistic traverse between Dumont d'Urville Station and Concordia Base, which represented a crew of 12 people in total autonomy, during 21 days, on the Continent inlandsis.

Her involvement in the MDRS should close her practical and personal experiments on these extremes environments on which she is working.

Michael LeClair, 38, Geologist - Executive Officer, Safety Officer, Canada.

Michael currently works as a Computer Programmer Analyst in the Financial Sector in Waterloo Ontario Canada, specializing in object-oriented database implementation and custom component software analysis and design.

Recently, his team won both the IT industry CIPS and Conestoga College ITAL awards of excellence for best Computer Applications Development Package. Michael is an accomplished pilot, having competed as a finalist in the Canadian Webster Memorial Trophy Pilot Competition in 2007.

He prefers to spend his days in the cockpit. A practiced Geologist, Michael worked 2 years on a successful Gold Exploration project in Northern Canada where he specialized in geomagnetics and structural modeling, while managing project data and supervising daily drilling operations.

Previously, as an undergraduate with the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo, his research interests included Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Human Factors and Human-Machine Interaction.



Ashley Dale, 23, Engineer, United Kingdom Born in Namibia to South African parents, Ashley spent the majority of his childhood in Southern-Africa experiencing much of the wilderness and diversity of tribal cultures, but receiving little in the form of formal education. From there he was pulled away to Los Angeles for some time, before returning briefly, only to go away again to London. He had some of his later education there and in Belgium. He went back to the United Kingdom for a university education, and graduated with a masters in Aerospace Engineering.

Enjoying the academic freedom, he is now doing a Ph.D. – “Composite and Morphing Wing Optimisation”. His work involves developing methodologies and technologies for the creation of lighter and more aerodynamically efficient wings. On top of conceiving and developing novel morphing structures, the work has very multi-disciplinary involvement in aerodynamics, aerostructures, composite lay-up tailoring, and optimization techniques.

Ashley has great passion for the publicising of science. His
experience at MDRS will help him produce lectures and articles in the UK on what the Mars Society stand for.


Mike Lotto, 20, Engineer, United States of America.
Mike Lotto has interned with the Maintenance and Mechanisms group of the Johnson Space Center's Mission Operations Directorate. While there, he practiced the skills required to repair and operate many different subsystems on-board the International Space Station.

Additionally, he has had the privilege to intern with Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser team. He is enrolled in the aerospace program at the University of Colorado at Boulder; however, he is currently working as a Cooperative Education Student at NASA's Johnson Space Center. This Fall, he's been helping to establish a launch abort simulation for NASA's Commercial Crew Development program.

During the Summer of 2012, he'll be working with the Extravehicular Activity group of the Mission Operations Directorate. Eventually, he hopes his career is involved with Extravehicular Activity technology.

As engineer of Crew 108, he will ensure the successful operation of the Hab's systems, and he'll be assisting research as needed. He cannot wait to be a part of Crew 108!

Usha Lingappa, 20, Astrobiologist, United States.

Usha grew up in San Francisco, California. When she started college three years ago, her academic interests were divided between theater, visual arts, and languages. Within her first semester, she changed course completely to pursue studies in natural science. She is currently in her final year as an undergraduate at Hampshire College, finishing up a self-designed major in astrobiology.

Usha has spent the last two years doing Mars analog geomicrobiology research at Hampshire. This began with looking at UV tolerance of actinomycetes in rock varnish from Death Valley, and has since evolved into a broader study of microbial diversity and physiology in rock varnish from both the Mojave and Atacama deserts.

Other research experience includes multiple summers studying the biochemistry of rabies virus at Prosetta Antiviral in San Francisco and the fall semester of 2010 studying globular cluster NGC2808 at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in La Serena, Chile.

Currently, Usha is writing and illustrating a book on the molecular origins of life and applying to graduate programs in biochemistry. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to spend 2 weeks at MDRS as the biologist for Crew 108.

Alicia Framis, 44, Artist, Netherland.

Alicia Framis (1967 Barcelona, ES) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work blends architecture, design, fashion and performance. Her work is project based and focuses on different aspects of human existence within contemporary urban society. Framis often starts out from actual social dilemmas to develop fictional settings. Collaborating with artists from other work fields she then develops platforms for interaction.

Alicia Framis studied at the Barcelona University and the Ecole de
Beaux Arts in Paris. She also completed her masters at the Institut
des Hautes Etudes, Paris and at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende
Kunsten, Amsterdam. Recent solo exhibition include the Instituto
Cervates, Pekin, The CIAXA Forum, Barcelona, the Santa Monica Art
center, Barcelona as well as the Museum of Design, Zurich.

She has participated in a wide range of groupshows, among which at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, Today Art Museum, Beijing, the MOCA museum Shanghai and the Center of Art Geneve. She participated in the Dutch contribution of the 2003 Venice Biennial. Alicia Framis has been awarded the 2000 Prix Lleida Contemporary Art (ES) and the 1997 Prix de Rome (NL).