The Mars Society is a space-advocacy non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the human exploration and settlement of the planet Mars. Inspired by "The Case for Mars" conferences which were hosted by The Mars Underground at the University of Colorado Boulder and established by Dr. Robert Zubrin and many others in 1998, the organization works to educate the public, the media and government on the benefits of Mars exploration and the importance of planning for a Earth-to-Mars mission in the coming decades. Mars Society Purpose
Since then, the Society, guided by its International Steering Committee, has grown to over 4,000 members and some 6,000 associate supporters across more than 50 countries around the world. Members of the Society are from all walks of life, and all actively work to promote the ideals of space exploration and the opportunities for exploring Mars.
The Mars Society's goals aren't purely theoretical. Its aim is to show that Mars is an achievable goal through a practical series of technical and other projects, including these:
In addition, the Society:
Notable former members of the board of directors or steering committee of the Mars Society include Kim Stanley Robinson, Michael D. Griffin, Christopher McKay, and Pascal Lee. Mars Society Steering Member Listing
The Society is an organization member of the Alliance for Space Development.
The ASF (Österreichisches Weltraum Forum, OeWF) is a national network for aerospace and space enthusiasts, being the Austrian chapter of the Mars Society. The Forum serves as a communication platform between the space sector and the public; it is embedded in a global network of specialists from the space industry, research and policy. Hence, the OeWF facilitates a strengthening of the national space sector through enhancing the public visibility of space activities, technical workshops and conferences as well as Forum-related projects.
Their research focus is Mars Analogue Research, e.g. the AustroMars mission with roughly 130 volunteers supporting a mission simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) and the ongoing PolAres multi-year research program which encompass the development of a Mars analogue rover system ans a novel spacesuit prototype dubbed "Aouda.X", culminating in an arctic expedition in 2011.
The Forum has a small, but highly active pool of professional members contributing to space endeavours, mostly in cooperation with other national as well as international space organizations. The spectrum of their activities ranges from simple classroom presentation to 15.000-visitors space exhibitions, from expert reports for the Austrian Federal Ministry for Technology to space technology transfer activities for terrestrial applications.
Mars Society Bulgaria was created in 2012.
The Mars Society French chapter was established in 1999 as "Association Planète Mars", a non-profit organization with its headquarters in Paris. Its founder and president is Richard Heidmann, a space propulsion engineer, who participated in the founding convention of the Mars Society in August 1998 and is a member of the Mars Society Steering Committee.
While fully supporting the ideas and actions of the Mars Society, it considers that those must be adapted to the specific cultural and political context of France and Europe. The main activities of Association Planète Mars are devoted to public communication, through conferences, exhibits, events, media appearances (TV, radio, magazines...). It also acts occasionally as an adviser for journalists or film makers.
Whenever possible, it cooperates with other associations or science outreach organisms, which permits to reinforce its action and reach a wider public.
Association Planète Mars makes a special effort to drain youth interest. 25% of its paid members are under 25. It develops experiences of proposing and tutoring Mars related projects to engineering students. The association encourages the formation of working groups on miscellaneous topics. Today, three groups are active, respectively on Mission Safety, Martian Architecture and medical Aspects. It participated to several MDRS and FMARS missions, bringing a prototype of "Cliff Exploration Vehicle".
Another major field of action is the lobbying, both within the political and institutional personnel, in France and at the European level (European Council, ESA). In doing so, it relies on the networks established by some of its managers. On the occasion of most critical events, tis publishes political documents to support its views, which are distributed both to deciders and to the press. This has been the case in June 2004, in the wake of the US Space Exploration Initiative, and in September 2008 in preparation of the ESA ministerial counsel.
The German Chapter of the Mars Society (Mars Society Deutschland e.V. | eingetragener Verein | - MSD) was founded in 2001 based on the Founding Declaration of the Mars Society of the USA from 1998 and has about 230 members. The MSD is registered in Germany as a non-profit association ( gemeinnütziger Verein). Registered members pay a yearly membership fee of 60 Euro. However, students and firms pay a different fee. The activities of the MSD are focused on technical-scientific projects such as the Mars Balloon Probe ARCHIMEDES as well as on all Mars exploration and general manned space matters. The main means of communication with members and the general public is the MSD Website with information on the ARCHIMEDES project, publications on Mars and other space subjects, the regular news, which can be commented by visitors of the website, the Space Forum and informative meetings.
The MSD Board comprises five members. Since June 2009 its president is the Space Physicist Dr. Michael Danielides. The development of ARCHIMEDES is led by Dipl.Ing. Hannes Griebel, who is also a member of the MSD Board and prepares his doctorate thesis on ARCHIMEDES.
ARCHIMEDES is presently under development and the major project of the MSD since 2001. Starting in 2006, flight tests have been undertaken for testing the innovative balloon system in low-gravity environment. Test carriers were so far the Airbus A300 for short duration parabolic flights and the sounding rocket test campaigns REXUS3-REGINA and REXUS4-MIRIAM for longer duration flight tests under free space conditions. Further flights tests are planned for the coming years (e.g. MIRIAM II) with the objective of qualifying ARCHIMEDES for its Mars mission by 2018. ARCHIMEDES will be carried to Mars on board an AMSAT Mars Probe or a similar satellite. ARCHIMEDES is developed by the MSD with the support of the Bundeswehr University Munich, of the IABG in Ottobrunn, the DLR-MORABA for rocket flight opportunities, other universities, and several industrial companies supporting specific technical areas.
The Mars Society Italian chapter (Italian Mars Society) was founded in 2005. Its headquarters are in Curno (Bergamo), near Milan, and its presidents is Antonio Del Mastro, entrepreneur and owner of an engineering consulting company. The Italian Mars Society carries out scientific divulgation activities related to the Red Planet. It cooperates with the other European Mars Society chapters to build a knowledge network whose aim is to develop the interest of European people towards Mars exploration.
The Dutch Chapter of the Mars Society (Mars Society Netherlands) started with its successful website in 1999. The MS NL is registered in the Netherlands as a non-profit organization ("stichting"). Registered members pay a yearly membership fee. The activities of the MS NL are focused on outreach through conferences (national and European), exhibits, events, and media campaigns.
The main means of communication with members and the general public is still the MS NL Website with information on Mars and related space subjects. In cooperation with the Netherlands Society for Aerospace (NVR), MS NL strives to educate youth in 'kids for space', and the 'RuimteWijs' program, giving lectures about Mars all over Netherlands. Lectures on Mars are also given under auspices of the Dutch Astronomical Society. MS NL cooperates with The Planetary Society in mars events.
The MS NL has been involved with international projects of The Mars Society from the starts, it is a strong proponent of European cooperation in space endeavours.
In 2011 The Mars Society Netherlands ceased to exist. Board and members moved over to a new Mars-oriented organisation.
Mars Society Polska (MSP) is actively participating in the creation of the Polish space industry. Since this sector is still developing, the organization is taking the opportunity to provide a strong Mars-related element for the years to come. Poland was the last member state of the EU to sign the cooperation agreement with ESA. Most projects in Poland currently focus on satellite technology, so MSP is the only leading organization promoting exploration and manned spaceflight. Besides private sponsors, it relies on resources obtained from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and local authorities, proposing projects to be undertaken with local communities and thus engaging with the general public.
MSP's first project was the Polish MPV (pressurized rover) design, for which some hardware was produced. This enabled development of the Polish Mars Society itself, together with a number of educational activities for Polish schools. This was followed by the joint organization of the Polish edition of the Red Rover Goes to Mars contest and organization of a Mars colonization negotiation game (Columbia Memorial Negotiations). In 2007 MSP organized the first Mars Festival, a two-day event which drew 600 visitors, with Discovery Channel as the main sponsor. Mars Festival 2008 was smaller due to the efforts being made in other projects, particularly the Polish URC rover, named Skarabeusz.
The flagship MSP project is the Polish Martian habitat, based on a design by Janek Kozicki. It has three inflatable modules attached and a usable surface of 900 m². The habitat is to be located close to a large town, meaning that beyond its role as a test site, largely for materials and design, it will be accessible to the wider public and media.
MSP has established a constant presence in the mainstream Polish media and is working on a documentary about itself. It is also developing software projects, IT systems for the future martian habitat, with a Virtual Mars Base and remote access. Jan Kotlarz of MSP has created RODM software for the modeling of the Martian surface based on high resolution photographs from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. RODM is currently being tested by NASA and ESA.
The Spanish Mars society acts as a meeting, news, and conference organizer.
The Mars Society Switzerland ("MSS") was founded in February 2010. It covers the French and German speaking parts of Switzerland. It keeps close links with the French branch ("association planète Mars", see above). Its aim is to convince the Swiss public of the interest and feasibility of the Martian exploration with inhabited flights through the Mars direct concept such as described by Robert Zubrin. It wants to gather around the scientists working on Mars in Switzerland, all people who share their interest on the matter.
In November 2010 MSS participated to the 8th Swiss Geoscience Meeting which was the opportunity to discuss the main topics related to Mars geology, the making of the planet, the role of water and the atmosphere.
In 2011 (September 30 till October 2) it held the 11th European Mars Convention ("EMC11") in the frame of the University of Neuchâtel. Throughout 24 presentations and two debates with major Swiss media, this convention covered all subjects related to Mars exploration, from astronautics to architecture, not forgetting geology the study of which remains its key objective.
On September 10, 2012, in the Natural History Museum Bern ("NHMB"),it held a conference on the theme "Searching for Life on Mars". The conference was centered upon a presentation of Professor André Maeder (well-known astrophysicist of University of Geneva) following the publishing of his book "L'unique Terre habitée?" (Favre editions). Another presentation was be made by Dr. Beda Hofmann, Head of the Earth Science Dept. of the NHMB. He showed and commented photos of primitive forms of life which he gathered to serve as references for the observations to be made by the ESA ExoMars mission (to be launched in 2018). Pierre Brisson, president of the Mars Society Switzerland introduced the conference, speaking about the instruments aboard Curiosity and the targets of exploration of the rover.
In October (12th till 14th) The Mars Society Switzerland participated to the 12th EMC ("EMC12") in Neubiberg, Germany (University of the German Armed Forces, near Münich). In this frame, Pierre Brisson discussed the past possibility of an Ocean in the Northern Lowlands of the planet.
A key event of the year 2013 (March 26), will be a conference organized with "Club 44" in La Chaux de Fonds, during which Professor Michel Cabane, LATMOS and co-PI of the SAM Instruments aboard Curiosity, will present the findings of his instruments dedicated to the study of the molecular and atomic compositions of the rocks and atmosphere of the planet.
The Mars Society UK is the oldest Mars Society outside the United States. It held its first public meeting on July 4, in London. Professor Colin Pillinger, head of the Beagle 2 project, was the Guest Speaker, and the event marked the first time Beagle 2 had been presented to the general public in the UK. From 1998 through to 2003, the Mars society UK (MSUK) continued to support Beagle 2, providing numerous public events at which members of the Beagle 2 project team could speak, and the Beagle 2 model be displayed.
Highlights of the MSUK's history include:
More recently, the MSUK had been allied with attempts to initiate a formally recognized and fully founded UK Space Conference (UKSC) with the first such event being held in April 2009.