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 Daily Reports:















April 7, 2011 - April 21, 2011


Kyle StephensCommander / Astronomer
Parker Owan
Executive Officer / Crew Scientist
Jackeline Mayer Health and Safety Officer
Daniel Land
Videographer, Journalist
Samuel MartinCrew Engineer
Lee SuringCrew Engineer 

Kyle Stephens is a current senior undergraduate studying Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Arizona. For the past four years, Kyle has worked for a professor developing new solar concentrator technologies. Kyle has spent two summers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, participating in both the Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) and the NASA Academy. Kyle was selected to be a NASA Space Science Student Ambassador for the 2010/ 2011 academic year, making him responsible for promoting the NASA Science Directorate within his local community. One summer was also spent working on a large aperture space telescope project at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

For the three years, Kyle has served as the President of the University of Arizona chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). In this capacity he has been able to organize a variety of outreach events within the community as well as facilitate and lead engineering-related projects. ASCEND! is one such project, sponsored by the Arizona Space Grant Consortium, that involves designing, constructing, and launching several balloon payloads. Kyle participated in this program in 2009/ 2010 and served as the team lead for the 2010/ 2011 team. During the summer of 2011, Kyle also led a Microgravity University team, flying an experiment related to liquid lenses.

Kyle is currently the team lead for the NASA RISA camera project which will be tested here at MDRS. He served as Crew Engineer for the MDRS refit crew at the start of the 2011 season, but Crew 117 will be Kyle’s first experience at MDRS in simulation.

Parker Owan is an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, pursuing his B.S. in electrical engineering.  He hopes to continue on to graduate school to receive a masters in control systems.  Along with development of the NASA RISA camera, he is currently researching opto-electrical etching techniques for improving photovoltaic efficiency at the Arizona Materials Lab for the U of A.  In the past, Parker has studied methods for improving vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) through active solidity control, using actuation systems to change lift and drag properties of the turbine blades.

In his free time, Parker likes to ski and play music, along with biking, swimming, and running.  He is looking forward to the MDRS experience and the ability to test functional properties and in flight applications of the NASA RISA imager.

Jackeline Mayer is a senior undergraduate at the University of Arizona. She is studying Optical Sciences and Engineering, and will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in May 2012. Her research interests are the application of optics in medicine. She has worked in image reconstruction with one of the professors at the University of Arizona.  In her spare time she enjoys singing, dancing, playing basketball and practicing martial arts. This is Jackeline’s first time at MDRS she will be serving as the crew’s Health and Safety Officer. 

Daniel Land is an entrepreneur and maker of moving pictures who would prefer not to die on the same planet he was born.  He believes that to make something real, it must first be dreamed - and that such dreams must be made shareable.  UNIT CIRCLE, LTD. is his Detroit-based Production company, where he leads a small taskforce of artists currently engaged in historical visual effects for the feature film, 'Saving Lincoln'.

Invigorated and frustrated by the uncertain future of space exploration, he began developing the documentary 'WHY WE GO' in 2010 as an attempt to coalesce the best arguments for looking Up beyond the sky instead of just down.  With vested interest in a positive human future, Daniel seeks to explore how imagery and storytelling can be used to convey our existential imperative for a new frontier.   How can independent media influence public, private, and government attitudes toward that promise?

On a practical level, his first MDRS mission will be a chance to experiment with various 2D/3D camera rigs and explore the physical & creative constraints of EVA filmmaking.  As Journalist, he will document the value of the research and communicate that adventure to others, with minimal impact on primary mission objectives.  On return, visual effects will be employed to transform footage of MDRS on the Utah terrain into the distant Hab on the Martian surface we pretend it is.  This experience will serve as a testbed for future independent pitches/projects, while delivering material to the Mars Society for promotional use.

Daniel has a BFA in Cinema/Animation from the College For Creative Studies, with years of professional experience in advertising, music videos and educational entertainment.  He does realize he should eventually earn science degrees and/or acquire vast sums of wealth in order to land where he means to.

Physical pursuits include scuba-diving, (water/snow)skiing, climbing, fencing and Systema.  Has performed as a VJ during Detroit's Movement Electronic Music Festival, various local clubs, and in Black Rock City.
Used to be a decent trumpet player and is trying to get that back.
Travel and new experience is paramount, there is a lot of Earth left to see.

Sam Martin is a senior undergraduate at the University of Arizona where he will be receiving a degree in Optical Sciences and Engineering and minors in math and electrical engineering.  Ever since he was little Sam loved to take things apart, see how they work, and fix them if they were broken.  This put him on a sure path towards engineering.  He participated in math, science, and engineering clubs throughout middle and high school and eventually chose the University of Arizona to pursue a higher education in optical engineering.  This choice landed him in the senior capstone design team that makes up the majority of Crew 117.

In his spare time Sam loves playing Ultimate Frisbee, swimming, hiking, watching terrible movies, and building things in his basement.  This semester he is part of an optics outreach program where he travels to local middle and high schools demonstrating various optical experiments in an attempt to spark interest in the children to pursue optical engineering.  He is currently a student intern for the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory engineering department and he loves his job.  After he graduates he plans to move away from Tucson and find an equally enjoyable career path, but he’s not sure where that will lead him.

Lee is a 22 year-old mechanical engineering student at the University of Arizona. His work on the NASA RISA project included designing and machining the camera’s enclosure in addition to working with the optical team on the lens barrel. He will be graduating this May with a bachelors in mechanical engineering and a minor in military science.

He will commission as an ensign in the United States Navy and will be stationed in Coronado, CA for further training at Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL training. He is actively involved in Southern Arizona Rescue Association as well as Aerial Robotics Club in the engineering department on campus.

This will be his first mission at MDRS.

Subpages (1): crew117summary