The Association of Mars Explorers has named its new President for 2004-2006. Andrew C. Schuerger, PhD, with the University of Florida and the NASA Kennedy Space Center will take over as President at the Association s biennial dinner to be held in San Jose in March next year. Schuerger has had a long-term involvement in developing advanced life support systems for human space travel and more recently has undertaken important work to understand the survival of microorganisms during robotic and human missions to Mars.

His election coincides with announcements that President George Bush looks ready to set America on a course to return to the moon and on to Mars.

Founding and outgoing President (2002-2004), Charles Cockell, PhD., said, “The robotic emissary, Spirit, is already doing an incredible job on Mars, but the more pictures it sends back, the more the human imagination can see the possibilities on Mars. It doesn’t satisfy the quest to explore, it just makes us drool more. It’s like giving a dog half a bone”, he said.

The Association of Mars Explorers (AME) was established in 2002 as a forum for Mars expeditioners. It is a non-partisan organization that focuses its attention on the human exploration of the deserts, mountains, poles and caves of Mars, helping those who will one day explore these features to discuss the science and technology to make it happen.

“At the moment explorers are relegated to Mars analog environments on Earth” said Cockell, “but our time will come. We applaud the President’s bold vision to return to the moon and Mars. These must not be empty words though. The effort needs to be committed enough to establish a permanent human presence”.

The Association has members from around the world and in 2005 will hold a second Mars Expedition Planning symposium. The Association supports the settlement and development of the moon, but sees Mars as offering the opportunity to answer profound questions about the possible existence of life on another planet and as a place that offers historic exploration challenges. The Association is run by a President who serves a term of two years.

Andrew Schuerger said, “The Association of Mars Explorers allows us to add to the chorus of voices that want to see humans eventually explore Mars. Over the next two years the Association will continue on its mission to see the eventual exploration of the polar ice caps, mountains and other frontiers of Mars”.

Information on the Association can be obtained at

Contact for this story: Charles Cockell (