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Call for Volunteers MDRS 2011 Field Season

Call for Volunteers for MDRS 2011-2012 Field Season

June 28, 2011

Plans for the 11th field season of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) are moving ahead rapidly.  The 11th field season is now planned to run from December 3, 2011 through May 6, 2012. 

Volunteer slots are open for participation as a crew member at the MDRS. Crew members will be required to pay for their own transportation to Grand Junction, Colorado, and pay a $1000 participation fee (reduced to $500 for students) to cover station expenses.  Volunteers should send their applications to: mdrsvolunteers@aol.com by September 30, 2011 in order to be considered. 

Both individual applications and group applications of up to an entire crew (6 people) will be considered. 

Applications should include:

  • Your full name
  • Full contact information (home/work address, telephone numbers, email address(es)
  • 3 references from work or school environment
  • Your resume
  • Proposed projects for your rotation
  • A list of all crew rotation dates in which you would be available to participate
  • The crew position (engineer, biologist, geologist, journalist, etc.) that you are seeking.
  • Experience in leading expeditions/teams if you wish to be considered for the position of crew commander
  • Any food allergies / being a vegetarian or vegan (because of the ongoing food-study).  In particular, please answer the following question: “Is there any specific food or drink that you cannot or will not consume for medical, ethnical, religious, cultural or other reasons?”  Y/N.  If the answer is yes, please describe the dietary restrictions you observe.
  • Research project(s) for your rotation, or even several rotations during the season (having a research project aimed at publishable results is definitely a leg-up in getting selected)
To enhance your chance of finding a crew rotation, it is very important that you list ALL slots in which you could participate.

Potential rotations are as follows: 


Dec. 3 – 18

MDRS Crew 108

Dec. 17 – Jan. 1

MDRS Crew 109

Dec. 31 – Jan. 15

MDRS Crew 110

Jan. 14 – Jan. 29

MDRS Crew 111

Jan. 28 – Feb. 12

MDRS Crew 112

Feb. 11 – Feb. 26

MDRS Crew 113

Feb. 25 - March 11

MDRS Crew 114

March 10 – 25

MDRS Crew 115

March 24 - April 8

MDRS Crew 116

April 7 - April 22

MDRS Crew 117

April 21 - May 6

MDRS Crew 118


Included in the participation fee you pay to the Mars Society is:

  • Transportation from Grand Junction, Colorado, where every participant is expected to arrive no later than the Friday night before the start of the rotation.  The return trip to Grand Junction will be on the Saturday evening at the end of the two week rotation.  Note: Flying out should not be booked before Sunday morning after your rotation.
  • Food during the rotation
  • Water, heating, electricity
  • Use of science and engineering and general equipment, science reagents, etc.
  • ATVs, HabCar
  • Use of EVA suits / backpacks
Not included in the participation fee:

  • Costs of gasoline for the trip from Grand Junction to the Hab and the return trip from the Hab to Grand Junction (160 miles one-way)
  • Costs of two hotel nights for the overnight stay on Friday night before your rotation and Saturday night after your rotation.
  • The Mars Society has an agreement for a competitive room rate in Grand Junction with the Sandman Best Western motel.  Sharing of motel rooms is recommended.
The Best Western room rate includes free breakfast and free Wi-Fi Internet, plus an airport shuttle between GJT Walker Airfield and the motel.  

For a list of what to bring in gear and clothes, please read the crew briefing documents carefully.   

Every crew is expected to participate in a number of season-long projects.  At the moment that includes:

1)       The ongoing food study led by Dr. Kim Binsted of University of Hawaii and Dr. Jean Hunter of Cornell University.  All foods and beverages at the MDRS including snacks will be provided by The Mars Society.

Other season-long research projects determined by the MDRS Remote Science Team will be added before the season starts in December.

Anyone applying for the position of crew engineer, a vitally important job for the station as a whole and your crew in particular, needs to have a varied background in many engineering/handyman duties, and needs to be willing to be trained on the systems of the station by the Engineering Team.  You must follow instructions from Mission Support. 

No modifications or additions to the facility will be conducted without prior approval from Mission Support Engineering. 

Applications received well in advance of the September 30, 2011 deadline are greatly appreciated, and will receive special consideration for the earlier crew slots.