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January 1, 2011 - January 15, 2011

Lara Vimercati:Commander
Karina Moin DarbariHealth and Safety Officer
Sean Griffins Astrophysicist
Emmanuel BonnetExecutive Officer
Robert AverillEngineer
Ezio MelottiEngineer 

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 has since then been involved in several internships at NASA Ames Research Center where she focused on habitability of martian analogue environments and on the existing connection of desiccation and UV radiation resistance in cryptoendolythic Cyanobacteria.
Lara also has a deep interest in evolutionary biology, the origin of life and synthetic Biology. She plans on pursuing a PhD in anything related to space science and would like to get a degree in geology and astrophysics. After 2 previous missions at MDRS she will have the opportunity to be a Commander for the first time and 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, mountaineering, 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.

Karina Moïn-Darbari is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at McGill University. An avid space enthusiast, she attended Space Camp Canada when she was 12, Advanced Space Academy at age 17 and has worked for Space Camp Canada/Cosmodôme for almost three years. She is also a volunteer advanced medical first responder level A1 with St-John Ambulance in Montreal, Canada.

In the position of biolomedical, Karina will study the ability of crew members to act quickly and effectively in simulated medical emergency situations in analogue environments. These situations will require rapid logical reasoning in extreme environments, such as that of space on the International Space Station or during an EVA.

After her BSc, Karina will probably continue her education in rehabilitation science or in the domain of traumatic brain injuries. Her long-term goal is to apply to the Canadian astronauts corps or to work for Mission Control.

Karina also enjoys ballroom and latin dancing, music, reading, travel and volunteering. She is looking into getting her private pilot’s licence and her scuba diving certificate in the near future. 

Sean has held a strong interest in space science, astronomy and human spaceflight for most of his life. He is currently a Physics Ph.D. candidate at McGill University and completed his M.Sc. in 2011 (also at McGill). He works on the VERITAS experiment, a gamma-ray observatory at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Arizona, USA. While VERITAS typically looks at gamma-rays, Sean is instead designing a new detector to use on VERITAS when gamma-ray observations prove impractical. His detector, known as the VERITAS Transient Detector (colloquially referred to as TRenDy), is designed to search for very fast (sub-millisecond) variations in the optical flux of astrophysical sources. The time resolution of this device is several hundred times better than most optical detectors in use today. TRenDy will be used to probe new regime in time domain astronomy and could be used to search for structure in the optical afterglow of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), or differentiating certain classes of compact object such as black holes and neutron stars. Sean's research interests are vast and include hardware and calibration methods, pulsars, transient phenomena, exoplanets and SETI. Sean believes that participating in an MDRS crew will be a great life experience and help him develop the skills that will be necessary when humanity starts sending people to other planets.

Emmanuel Bonnet is a PhD student in “Organization Studies” at the research center of the French Air Force and Clermont University. He also teaches some courses in management to the French air force cadets. Moreover, Emmanuel had the opportunity to lead two cadets dissertations related to their mission in the MRDS.  His research topic focuses on the role of experience feedback to logistics in extreme environments. Before this research he was working as a technician in various sectors of the industry. He really enjoyed this experience and learned a lot about teamwork and the tacit part of knowledge that do not appear in codified process.

Briefly, he will seek to demonstrate why an organization in extreme environment should exploit concrete human experience rather than be drawn on abstract view of collective activity. He is particularly interested in the daily ongoing coordination, and everyday practices. His operational aim is building a “codebook” that could capitalize and share critical knowledge and best practices for the next missions. Thus the codebook is intended to be use by a Commander in order to help her/him to organize a next rotation.

Robert is a crew member with the Atlantica Expeditions (an effort to establish the first permanent undersea colony off the coast of Florida) participating with MDRS 116 as crew engineer and in order to author a report on what insights the sea/space principle can offer the MDRS program, potential improvements based on his experience building ambient pressure diving systems and telepresence robots, and the future of undersea mining, farming  and colonization as it applies to efforts at establishing a permanent human presence on the red planet. Although the connection may initially seem unclear, oceanic development will facilitate the colonization of Mars through the invention of new habitat, propulsion  and life support systems as well as creating (through deep sea resource extraction) an economic climate in which meaningful expansion into space is a more realistic prospect.                                                                                                         In the run up to the upcoming Leviathan 4 habitat mission, Robert is planning a surface supplied helmet diving expedition in the Columbia river using a solar powered battery electric compressor rig of his own design, building upon a similar expedition which took place last Summer. The revised design will then be used on the habitat mission, deploying a helmeted diver directly from the Leviathan using air compressed via clean, emissions free solar energy. 

Ezio Melotti is a software engineer with more than 12 years of experience in software development and programming with several different languages. Born in Milan (Italy), he decided to move to Turku (Finland) in the year 2007, where he is currently living and studying at the Turku University of Applied Sciences.
During the last few years he has been active in a number of open source projects, and most notably he is a core developer of the Python programming language, with more than 1000 contributions. He also
presented talks to several conferences, and taught Python programming at the Turku University of Applied Sciences. While his field of expertise is mainly centered around software development, he is also very interested in sciences (especially physics, psychology, and biology), so when he got a chance to get

involved at the MDRS he accepted without hesitations. His hobbies include photography, hiking, rock climbing, traveling, surviving in the cold, and extreme sports and adventures.

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