I'm going back to Mars! Or at least a close approximation of it. This time, instead of the Canadian arctic, I'll be headed to the Utah desert.
There must be truth in advertising because this blog's title says it all. I was just asked to command the 89th crew to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah from January 24 through February 7 next year. To get a flavor for the simulated Mars habitat and its surroundings, you can view some recent photos of MDRS taken by Popular Science or read their conversation with Robert Zubrin about how to live in Mars.
When I applied to be a crewmember for the 9th MDRS field season, I thought I stood a good chance of being selected. However, I didn't anticipate receiving a Spaceward Bound grant to cover expenses and being asked to command my own crew. It's an offer too good to pass. I haven't yet met my crewmates, but introductions are forthcoming. From planning our science activities to designing a mission patch, we have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure a successful field campaign.
Going to the southwest in late January also means I can attend the LunarGeo2010 Workshop, which is all about ground-based geophysics that robots and humans will carry out on the Moon in the foreseeable future. I may present some of my FMARS seismic work at the meeting.
Look for future updates on this site as things unfold.
On to Mars!