In this Issue;



The Mars Society took a giant step forward this summer with the successful construction
of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island.

Devon Island is located circa 75 degrees north in Canada’s Nunavut Territory. Consisting
largely of polar desert and home to the 15-mile diameter Haughton impact crater, the
completely uninhabited island is one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth. Since
1997, NASA Haughton Mars Project scientists led by Dr. Pascal Lee have been exploring
the area’s geology and biology in order to explore Mars by comparison. At its Founding
Convention in 1998, at the suggestion of Lee, the Mars Society decided to make the
construction of a simulated human Mars exploration station on Devon Island its first major
project. The purpose of the station would be to continue the scientific exploration of
Devon, but do it in the same style and under many of the same constraints as would be
involved in conducting such activities on Mars. By doing so, researchers would be forced
to confront some of the problems of human Mars exploration and begin the process of
developing appropriate field tactics for exploring the Red Planet. The establishment of a
Mars arctic research station would also be a highly visible step forward that would help
inspire public support for the human exploration of Mars.

Starting in the fall of 1998, a volunteer Mars Society task force was formed to define the
project further, and during 1999 private funds were raised allowing the project to be
initiated in earnest. Among those donating to support the project were FINDS, the Kirsch
Foundation,, and the Discovery Channel. In January 2000, a contract for
fabrication was let to Infrastructure Composites International (Infracomp) of Commerce
City, Colorado, whose unique ultrastrong, comparatively lightweight, and weatherproof
fiberglass honeycomb technology provided an attractive option for the Devon Island

While Infracomp’s craftsmanship proved to be excellent, the fabrication effort fell seriously
behind schedule, resulting in a crisis in early June, when it became clear that unless
something was done, the structure would not be ready in time for a scheduled June 28
ship date. However, the mobilization of additional labor from Mesa Fiberglass, Pioneer
Astronautics, and volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Mars Society — some of who
worked up to two weeks in the fiberglass factory with no compensation — ensured that the
structure was ready to ship on time. Meanwhile, the Mars Society finalized plans with the
NASA-led Haughton Mars Project (HMP) to secure, on a cost-sharing basis, the needed
cargo flight support from the US Marine Corps. Accordingly, on June 28, three trucks
carrying the components of the Station left Colorado for Moffett Field, CA, where, together
with gear for the NASA HMP, they were loaded on Marine Corp C-130 aircraft for flight to
Resolute Bay in the high Arctic.

While Infracomp’s craftsmanship proved to be excellent, the fabrication effort fell seriously
behind schedule, resulting in a crisis in early June, when it became clear that unless
something was done, the structure would not be ready in time for a scheduled June 28
ship date. However, the mobilization of additional labor from Mesa Fiberglass, Pioneer
Astronautics, and volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Mars Society — some of who
worked up to two weeks in the fiberglass factory with no compensation — ensured that the
structure was ready to ship on time. Accordingly, on June 28, three trucks carrying the
components of the Station left Colorado for Moffett Field, CA, where, together with gear
for the NASA-led Haughton Mars Project, they were loaded on C-130 aircraft for flight to
Resolute Bay in the high Arctic.

The plan was to deliver the station components to Devon Island via C-130 paradrop, as
the fiberglass panels comprising the station were much too large to be brought in by the
small Twin-Otter aircraft used for general transportation between Resolute Bay and Devon
Island. Five paradrop sorties from Resolute to Devon were needed. The first three
paradrops carrying the walls, legs and some of the dome sections of the habitat occurred
on July 5. These drops were largely successful, in that the payloads were delivered safely
to the ground, but fell wide of the Haynes Ridge target construction site. The fourth drop,
on July 8, carrying the remaining domes and other equipment, went well. However, July
8th’s fifth and final drop, was a disaster. The payload separated from the parachute at an
altitude of 1,000 ft, causing the complete destruction of the habitat fiberglass floors, a
trailer that had been shipped to the Arctic to help move the 800 lb. fiberglass wall panels
in the event they did drop wide of the target site, and a crane required to construct the

With the loss of the trailer, the floors, and the crane, the on-site construction crew that
the Mars Society had contracted to assemble the station declared that building it this
year was impossible, and left the island. It seemed to most observers that the project
was doomed. Indeed, one journalist covering the events went so far as to ask Mars
Society President Robert Zubrin if he saw a parallel between the “failure of your mission”
and that of the Mars Polar Lander. Zubrin’s reply: “There’s a parallel in that we both hit a
rock. But the difference is that we have a human crew here, and we are going to find a
way out of this.”

Refusing to give up, Zubrin, Lee and Marc Boucher, a Mars Society board member, assembled a makeshift construction team consisting
of Mars Society scientist-volunteers, Inuit youth hired from Resolute Bay, and journalists,
who, having come to cover the construction of the station, were strongly encouraged to
participate in the effort. Frank Schubert, a general construction contractor from Denver
and a Founding Member of the Mars Society, was brought in to direct the construction
effort, with the assistance of his foreman Matt Smola, and Infracomp president John
Kunz. A new trailer, “the Kunzmobile,” was constructed out of wood and parts of a
wrecked baggage cart from Resolute Bay airport. Using it, the team managed in three
days of heavy sledding in freezing rain to move all the dispersed habitat components to
the construction site. Wooden floors to replace the ruined fiberglass decks were designed
and construction materials secured in Resolute Bay. To replace the crane, an alternative
ancient-Roman style construction technique was devised, utilizing large labor teams with
bracing timbers and guy ropes operating in coordination with a scaffold and a winch to lift
the 20-foot by 7-foot wall panels into place. Shortly before the construction effort began,
the weather cleared, and the team seized the opportunity to get the job done fast in good
weather by instituting 14-hour work-days. The first wall section of the Flashline Station
was raised on July 20, coincidentally but fittingly the anniversary of both the Apollo 11
Moon landing and the Viking 1 landing on Mars. In three days all the walls were up. The
decks were then partly built out, and block and tackle gear was used to haul the 350 lb.
dome sections up onto the upper deck. Once there, a scaffold was constructed, and two
dome sections plus the central core were erected to create an arch. The dome sections
were then added in, with the last one being brought into place around 7 P.M. July 26.
Interior buildout then commenced rapidly.

On the evening of July 27, Zubrin sent a message to Mars Society Mission Control in
Denver to establish contact in preparation for the commencement of simulation operations
the next day.

“Mission Control, this is Flashline Station. Are you there? Please Respond.”

After a delay of several minutes, Mission Control replied, “Flashline Station, this is
Mission Control. It’s good to hear from you. Clearly, failure was not an option.”

In a ceremony attended by about 50 scientists, Inuits and journalists on the evening of
July 28, the station was formally commissioned. Speeches were given by NASA Ames
scientist Carol Stoker, British Antarctic Survey scientist Charles Cockell, Lee, and Robert
Zubrin. At the conclusion of the speeches, a shotgun was fired in salute to a red, green
and blue Mars Society Martian tricolor flag flying atop the station. Zubrin then christened
the habitat, smashing a bottle of champagne against the Flashline Mars Arctic Research
Station. This provoked a sigh from the crowd. Lee, however, immediately reassured them;
“It’s all right folks. It’s just Canadian champagne.”

The first crew, consisting of Lee, Mars Society webmaster Marc Boucher, Zubrin,
Schubert, Cockell and the Discovery Channel’s Bob Nesson then entered the habitat for a
largely symbolic one night and one day occupation and simulation. A more thorough
three-day shakedown simulation began on July 30. Commanded by Carol Stoker, the
crew of the shakedown consisted of Stoker, Boucher, NASA Ames’ Bill Clancy and Larry
Lemke, the University of Toronto’s Darlene Lim, and Nesson. In the course of the next
several days, this group lived and worked in the hab, supporting a series of exploration
traverses on Devon Island in collaboration with the NASA HMP, including the field testing
of a Hamilton Sundstrand Mars spacesuit prototype. To report on their activities, the crew
engaged in Mars-Earth simulated time-delayed dialogue with Mission Control in Denver.

On August 4th, shakedown simulation operations were discontinued. The hab was then
sealed for the winter. Based on experience gathered to date, plans are now being
developed for the summer of 2001, when the station will be used to support up to eight
weeks of Mars operations field research in the high arctic.

Photographs of the Flashline Station, the text of Zubrin’s commissioning ceremony
speech, and the personal diary of Marc Boucher kept during the summer on Devon Island
are all available at the Mars Society web site.


Approximately 700 people attended the Third International Mars Society
Convention in Ryerson University, Toronto Aug 10-13. Coming shortly after
the Society’s comeback victory on Devon Island, morale at the event was
sky-high. Over 130 talks and twelve plenary addresses were given. There
were also plenary debates on the Alan Hills Meteorite, the next steps for
Mars exploration, and the significance of the Martian Frontier. The
conference also saw the debut of a terrific movie about the Mars Society
by filmmaker Sam Burbank.

Perhaps one of the most moving moments at the conference occurred during
the Saturday night banquet, when Karen Lindsey sang “The Pioneers of
Mars.” The song, her winning entry into the Society’s Rouget de Lisle
contest for a Martian anthem, almost brought her to tears due to the
unexpected death of her beloved collaborator in the effort, Lloyd Landa.
She said that she hoped the song would help get humans to Mars, so that it
could go with them. In that way, Lloyd would never truly be dead. (“The
Pioneers of Mars,” along with the other top ten entrants of the Rouget de
Lisle contest, can be downloaded in MP3 format from the Mars Society
website at

The first two Mars Society Martian flags to fly in space were then
presented to the conference by astronauts John Grunsfeld and Scott
Horowitz, who flew them on the Discovery mission of December 1999 and
Atlantis mission of May 2000, respectively. The Hakluyt prize, for the
best set of letters to world leaders from a student advocating Mars
exploration was then given to Felix Dance, of Melbourne, Australia. In
addition to his all-expenses paid trip to the convention, Dance, a high
school student, was awarded an 8-inch Bushnell reflecting telescope.
Maggie Zubrin then advanced to the podium to ask for donations to support
the Society’s projects. She was supported in this by Eric Tilenius, who
offered to match any donations made. The spirit of the conference can be
attested to by the fact that $78,000 was raised on the spot. The
microphones were then opened for the society’s General Assembly meeting,
which lasted until 11 P.M. with members from every continent speaking out
with their ideas for new initiatives.

Also, on Saturday, the Society Steering Committee met. The Committee voted
its support to expand the Devon Island effort into a global program of
Mars analog operations research, with up to three new stations planned for
diverse locations around the globe, including the American southwest, the
Australian outback, and Iceland. Such additional stations would allow a
greater quantity and variety of Mars operations field research to be
conducted all year round, with a much larger number of Mars Society
members being able to participate, and a concomitant expanded level of
public presence and outreach for the Society on three continents.

It was also decided that the Society should begin steps towards the
funding of actual Mars missions. As its initial effort in this direction,
the Steering Committee decided to seek ways to help fund a microscope to
be carried to the surface of Mars by the Beagle 2 spacecraft in 2003.
Accordingly, a “Robotic Exploration” fund has been set up in the Society
for those who prefer to donate specifically to support Mars Society
activity in this area. While support for the Beagle microscope project was
selected as the first choice for this funds’ activity, the release of
funds to support that or any other specific robotic exploration program
will be contingent upon suitable sponsorship agreements being reached.

At the suggestion of Mars Society member Cliff McMurray at the general
Assembly, another fund, designated the “Ares Fund,” was also set up. The
concept of the Ares Fund is that its monies will be left untouched,
earning compound interest, until such time as they are sufficient to
actually support human Mars exploration directly. This might take a
century, but no matter: If the governments continue to fail to embrace the
challenge of opening Mars to humanity, the day will come when the Ares
Fund will be able to do it. As Einstein said; “Compound interest is the
most powerful force in the universe.”

(Thus, those willing to support the Mars Society with donations can now do
so either by marking their checks “Arctic” to support the Flashline
effort, “Exploration” to support the Robotic Exploration fund, “Ares” to
support the Ares Fund, or leave them unmarked to support Mars Society
projects at the Board’s discretion. All checks are tax deductible, and
should be sent to Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills, CO, 80454.)

The conference was closed Sunday afternoon with a short speech by Mars
Society president Robert Zubrin. Citing Tsiolkovsky’s quote that “the
Earth is the cradle of mankind,” Zubrin went on to compare the solar
system to the schoolyard, and the realm of the stars to the wide world of
adult life. He went on to say that in his view, we are living at the
beginning of history, that humanity is young, and that a thousand years
from now, there will be myriad new branches of human civilization circling
stars in this region of the galaxy. The people of these civilizations will
have powers and technologies that would seem as remarkable to us as ours
would to a person of 1000 years ago. “Yet however far they go,” he said,
“they will always remember their first day of school, which occurred this
summer, on Devon Island.”

The hall then broke out in cheers.


The Mars society Convention this year was professionally taped by Audio
Archives and Duplicators, Inc. of Richmond Hill, Ontario. Videotapes of
all convention plenary talks and audio tapes of all other talks are
available. The cost, in US funds of most video tapes is $29.95, and the
cost of most audiotapes is $10.00. A form for ordering tapes is available
for download at the Mars Society website at Those
wishing to contact Audio Archives can do so at


Calling all Mars fans and future colonists! Mars Week is back!!

After a highly successful conference in 1999 with over 300 attendees, Mars
Week 2000 has more speakers, more events, and more space! Come meet the
best Mars scientists, engineers, artists, and journalists. Hear about the
latest results and past, current and future missions.

Taking place at Boston’s MIT campus, Oct. 20-22, Mars Week 2000 is an
inspirational event that will educate and excite individuals about Mars
exploration, and will feature speakers representing a wide array of
interests in Mars and space science:

++ Donna Shirley – Manager Mars Exploration Program (Retired), Mars
Millennium Project

++ Dr. Robert Zubrin – Pioneer Astronautics, Int’l Mars Society President

++ Dr. David McKay – NASA Johnson Space Center, “Life in the Martian

++ Dr. Chris McKay – NASA Ames research Center, astrobiologist

++ Dr. Pascal Lee – Planetary Scientist, NASA Haughton-Mars Project

++ Peter Ahlf – Coordinator for Life Science’s Payload and Goals for

++ Leonard David – Space Journalist,

++ Dr. George Martin – Flight Surgeon, US Air Force

++ Dr. Penny Boston – Biologist – Life in Extreme Environments,
University of New Mexico

++ Michael Carroll – renowned space artist

++ Dr. Ken Corey – Greenhouses, Early Mars Agriculture


Registration is required for all events.

Mars Week is supported by Think Mars, MIT’s Large Event Funding committee,
MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, The Mars Society, and
the Boulder Center for Science and Policy.


The Mars Society UK is pleased to announce it has joined the UK Space
Education Council (SEC) as a full member. Commenting on the SEC’s
acceptance of the MS-UK’s application for membership, UK President Bo
Maxwell said: “This is an important milestone in the development of the
Mars Society here in the UK. The key to our future development, not just
on Mars, but in space as whole, is our ability to capture the hearts and
minds of our young people and provide for them the kind of environment
where career opportunities in space research, science and technology are a
reality. In order to achieve that, it is essential educators across the
country are empowered to promote greater interest and awareness of space
activities for students and adults alike. The SEC, with its mandate to
promote and enhance the effectiveness of space education activities in
this country, is a magnificent platform from which to promote the very
real offerings the UK can make to the space community.”

The Mars Society UK is already engaged in a wide range of activities aimed
at promoting UK space development and encouraging students and members of
the public alike to think seriously about the potential of human missions
to Mars. In joining the SEC, the Society very much hopes to provide a
strong link between the SEC and the Society’s world-wide educational
efforts through programmes such as the Generation Mars competition and the
Society’s global outreach programme.

Peter Loftus, the Mars Society UK’s Resource Director, and co-ordinator of
the Society’s educational programme stated: “Humanity stands at a
crossroads. There are those who would have us look backwards, those who
have the arrogance to believe that there is little of interest outside of
our world. Our history is littered with civilizations that chose not to
expand but to stay where they were. All that is left of these
civilizations are their bones or the ruins of once thriving cities. Today
we are global civilization. There are no places here on Earth left for us
to explore. If we are to have any kind of future we must teach our
children to look outward into space. We must encourage them be inquisitive
and creative. We must help them to peacefully explore new environments and
colonize new worlds. The lessons we all learn from this will not only
allow our civilization to continue to thrive and expand, they will also
help us solve many of the problems we face on the world we inhabit today.”

The SEC is a grouping of organizations with an interest in space
education. It is intended to allow its members to exchange information,
co-ordinate activities, and combine expertise and experience in the
different sectors of space education.

The SEC Mission is: “To promote and enhance the effectiveness of space
education activities for the benefit of the United Kingdom,” and its
objectives are: “To promote awareness of the potential of space among
target audiences — encompassing education, industry and the general
public — and to encourage the co-ordination of coherent space activities
and initiatives.”

To find out more about the Mars Society UK, visit the following website:
Mars Society UK Homepage (


It’s campaign season, and all U.S. congressional candidates are spending
time in their districts, where they are accessible to the general public.
Now is the time for Mars Society chapters to make it their business to
meet with their congressional representatives to educate them on the need
for a humans to Mars program. It’s easy and it’s fun, Just call up their
offices and arrange an appointment. Then alert the other members of your
chapter, and go over and visit with as many people as you can. But you
don’t need numbers — one is enough. Be sure to be polite, even if they
don’t agree. The key thing is that your congressperson has the experience
of meeting people in his or her own district who are concerned about the
fact that the nation is not moving fast enough toward getting humans to
Mars. Report all meetings to Mars Society Political Coordinator, Chris
Carberry. For more information, visit the Outreach
Taskforce website at


It’s fall and classes are beginning at universities everywhere. Students
can save themselves money and help the Mars Society at the same time by
purchasing your books at the Mars Society mall. Located at the website at, the mall includes discount textbook seller Varsity
Books, as well as, the world’s largest bookstore. Just click on
“Buy it at the Mars Society” at the website, then go to the vendor, and
make your purchase in the usual way. You get your book at the seller’s
usual bargain price, and the Mars Society gets 5% of whatever you pay.
There are also other vendors, offering computers, software, cameras
clothing, discount airplane tickets, in fact everything.

As the song goes; “You can get everything you want at the Mars Society
mall.” So if you are going to buy it, buy it though our website. Shop for


Please use the following addresses for questions and/or concerns: – general information, register for conference – to help with existing or new project – for corrections & additions to website – for problems related to e-mail of these bulletins