The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing
and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA) has
become a major sponsor of the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research
Station (MDRS) and Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station projects.

The MDRS, whose external structure is currently in fabrication at the
Built on Integrity facility near Las Vegas, Nevada, will be a
simulated human Mars exploration station that will be deployed to a
series of Mars-like desert locations to support space exploration
operations research in the American southwest over the fall, winter,
and spring seasons of the next five years. During the summer months,
when the desert is too hot for such activity, the station will be
placed on public exhibit in various prominent exhibition locations
across the United States. There it will provide an avenue for daily
public interaction with the crew of the Mars Society’s Flashline Mars
Arctic Research Station, who will be operating during that season in
the high Arctic desert on Canada’s Devon Island. Taken together, the
two stations will thus enable a year round program of Mars
exploration operations research.

In addition to their research role, the Mars stations will also serve
an important public outreach function, making the vision of humans
exploring other planets real for millions of people, and inspiring
countless numbers of youth to get technical educations in order to
have a part in humanity’s coming great adventure.

Commenting on UA General President Martin J. Maddaloni’s decision to
sponsor the project, UA Director of Training George Bliss
said; “We’re doing this to make clear to young people that you don’t
have to be a fighter pilot to be a space pioneer. Members of the
building trades built the great cities of this country, and when it
comes time to build cities on Mars, we are the ones who are going to
build them.”

The UA’s message will be reinforced by the content of an exhibit tent
that will accompany the MDRS on its public outreach tours. In
addition to a number of interactive exhibits, this tent will include
a specially commissioned set of paintings by noted space artist
Robert Murray that depict the growth over time of a small Mars base
into a true settlement, highlighting the role of working men and
women in making that happen. Members of the UA will serve alongside
Mars Society members as facilitators in the traveling exhibit tent,
and a member of the UA has been invited to serve as part of the crew
of the Mars Desert Research Station after it becomes operational this

The UA was founded in 1889 and has 320,000 members throughout the
United States and Canada.

Responding to the UA’s sponsorship decision, Mars Society president
Robert Zubrin said; “We are extremely proud to have the UA as a
sponsor of our project. This is an alliance of pioneers in labor and
science. The UA was one of the first American unions, and the men and
women it represents built the hearts of the steam engines that
powered the industrial revolution, drove the trains that opened the
west, and moved the ships that brought millions of immigrants to this
country and helped win two world wars. They’ve plumbed the arteries
of the skyscrapers that adorn our cities, and built much of the
launch complexes that are now opening the new frontier of space.
They’re not just the right stuff, they’re the real stuff.”

For further information from the Mars Society, contact Robert Zubrin,

For further information from the UA, contact George Bliss, (202)628-