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December 31, 2011 - January 6, 2012


Julie MasonCommander 
Will YuExecutive Officer / Chief Engineer
Sam MarronHealth and Safety Officer
Lyndsey BankersCrew Engineer
Aaron OlsonCrew Engineer
Mark RuffCrew Engineer / Journalist

Julie Mason: Crew Commander

Julie’s passion for space exploration started when she watched STS-90 launch at the age of nine; her family had passes to watch the launch up close. Julie grew up in Wisconsin but has lived in fourteen different countries and speaks French fluently. She will graduate in May 2012 with a double major from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in engineering mechanics and astronautics and French.

She has experience leading the UW-Madison zero gravity team for the past two years and tested the influence of frequency on the performance of ultrasonic enhancement of liquid convection cooling in variable gravity on NASA’s C9. This year she will fly a microgravity experiment to test space suit dust removal techniques.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she’s done research with both the Engineering Physics Department and the Department of Environmental Engineering, and she has experience with space habitats as part of a winning university team to design, test, and manufacture an inflatable habitat as part of NASA’s eXploration Habitat Academic Innovation Challenge. She participated in a three week field test with the habitat at NASA Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) where she lived in the habitat and evaluated it as part of an engineering crew.

As part of crew 110A, Julie will study habitat architecture and habitability. She will also use the Celestron telescope at Musk Mars Desert Observatory to study techniques for measuring atmospheric aerosols and work with a member from the European Space Agency, Euro Moon-Mars team, to map 3D robotic traverses.

Julie has work experience with NASA at Goddard Space Flight Center and with The Boeing Company in Everett, WA. After graduation, she plans to continue working for Boeing while pursuing a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.

In her free time, she enjoys kiteboarding, running, mountaineering, speaking French, and traveling.



Will Yu: Chief Engineer/Executive Officer

Will is a 24 year-old astronautical engineering graduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing his Ph.D. studying electric propulsion. Will graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in engineering mechanics and astronautics.

As the Chief Engineer of the MDRS crew 110A, Will oversees the day-to-day operations and maintaining the functionality of the station.

Will was a member of the Badger Exploration Loft (BXL) team that won NASA's 2011 X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge, which contributed to the goals of the Deep Space Habitat (DSH) for NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (DRATS). He has worked with the UW-Madison Shock Tube Laboratory as a lab assistant investigating Rictmyer-Meshkov and Rayleigh Taylor instabilities between gases to further understand inertial confinement fusion (ICF). Will has also interned at Masten Space System, Inc., where he performed field testing of vertical-takeoff-vertical-landing (VTVL) rockets as part of NASA's Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CruSR) program.

Will grew up in Madison, WI and enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, snowboarding, rock climbing, skydiving, and scuba diving.



Sam Marron: Health and Safety Officer

Sam is a graduate student of Engineering Mechanics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. His specialization is in structural analysis and analysis of dynamic systems. He is an alumnus of the Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics undergraduate program at UW-Madison.

As a member of MDRS Crew 110a, Sam will be evaluating the use of terrestrial measurement techniques of atmosphere aerosols, and the evaluation of construction techniques in a simulated Martian environment.

Sam has experience working in the aerospace and biomedical engineering fields. He has worked on product development of orthopedic implants and surgical equipment at Biomet in Warsaw, Indiana. He has also worked for NASA at Johnson Space Center and in Arizona at the Desert Research and Technology Studies on deep space habitation systems.


Lyndsey Bankers: Engineer

Lyndsey is a 22-year-old Engineering Mechanics & Astronautics undergraduate student, expecting to obtain her Bachelor’s of Science in May of 2013. Her past work includes two summer internships at Woodward Inc working with fuel system controls, and one year as a member of the UW-Madison Zero Gravity Team. After graduation she plans on working in the aerospace industry. In her free time, she enjoys running, skiing and snowboarding, and traveling. As a part of Crew 110A, Lyndsey will be investigating the effects of crew exercise on work and habitability.

Aaron Olson: Engineer

Aaron is a 22 year-old Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Aaron is a part time student researcher for NASA Langley Research Center and alum of the NASA Academy at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

As a part of MDRS crew 110A, Aaron will be creating a 3-D model of the area surrounding the habitat to enable more efficient future robotic traverses

He has researched inflatable structure technology at NASA Langley and was also a member of the Badger Exploration Loft (BXL) team, where he designed the soft goods for the team’s winning expandable habitat module. This module won NASA’s inaugural Exploration Habitat Academic Innovation Challenge and functions as a part of the Deep Space Habitat (DSH) for NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (DRATS).

Aaron will be pursuing a doctorate degree in Aerospace Engineering after completing his bachelor’s degree.

He is also proficient in French, enjoys playing Basketball and American Football, and traveling.


Mark Ruff: Engineer/Journalist

Mark is a 22 year-old senior undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics and Computer Science. As a part of MDRS crew 110A, Mark will be documenting crew life and activities, as well as studying the potential use of off-the-shelf mountaineering equipment in conjunction with spacesuits for increased mobility on Mars.

Mark’s experience within the field of Aerospace Engineering includes work done on several space-systems projects focused on in-situ resource utilization while working as an intern at Pioneer Astronautics in Lakewood, CO.

After completing his bachelor’s degree, Mark hopes to work in the emerging private spaceflight industry, while also working part time to pursue a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Outside of work and academia, Mark enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, and kayaking. He is also an avid public speaker, and regular competitor for the University of Wisconsin Forensics Team.