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MDRS-14 - Expedition One
Crew Biographies
February 15 to March 16, 2003

The crews of the Mars Desert Research Station normally rotate every 2 weeks. Expedition One was different, lasting four weeks. The MDRS will be active for a 7 month period. Expedition One was a 30-day mission organized by the Mars Society of Canada and Mars Society of Australia for MDRS. These are the scientists and engineers who live and work on site within the MDRS during Expedition One. They explore all of the facets of human exploration in a simulated Mars environment.

Crew 14 Mission Patch
Name Speciality
Rocky Persaud Geologist, Commander Phases One and Two
Shannon Rupert Chief Biologist, Commander Phase Three
Matt Bamsey Executive Officer, Chief Engineer
Nishi Rawat Executive Officer, Medical Officer
Jean Lagarde Executive Officer
Steve Dawson Human Factors Officer
Guy Murphy Public Relations Officer, Human Factors Officer, Videographer
Steve Jordan Public Relations Officer, Videographer
Jennifer Laing Public Relations Officer, Videographer
Chad Rowland Field Engineer
Jim Oliver Comms Engineer
Melissa Battler Geologist
Vuong Nguyen Biologist, Lead Biologist, Phase Two
Julie Edwards Lead Biologist, Phase One
Jonathan Clarke Chief Geologist
Fathi Karouia Biologist
James Waldie Chief Engineer
Brian Orlotti Comms Engineer
Kathy Plachta Human Factors Officer
Amaury Solignac Health and Safety Officer, Human Factors Officer
Nancy Wood Biologist, Lead Biologist, Phase Three
David Bushman Chief Engineer
Stan Piechocinski Comms Engineer
Graham Mann Field Engineer
Jonathan Butler Biologist
Jennifer Knowles Field Engineer


Rocky Persaud
Rocky Persaud is pursuing graduate studies at the University of Toronto, developing geological models of sedimentary basins on Mars. He was a Science Collaborator on the Haughton-Mars Project, and was a crew member of Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station during the 2001 field season. A member of several space advocacy groups, he was a director of the Canadian Space Society, a founding member of the Mars Society's Toronto Chapter, former editor of the Canadian Space Gazette, a delegate to the Space Generation Summit, and currently is president of the Mars Society of Canada. Before entering the field of planetary geology, Rocky obtained his first bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Rocky was born in Guyana a week after the last Apollo mission returned from the Moon, but was raised in Canada since the age of 2.

Shannon Rupert
Shannon Rupert Robles is Professor of Biology at the Department of Natural Sciences, San Diego Miramar College, San Diego. She has a MS in Biological Sciences from California State University San Marcos, a BS in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from the University of California San Diego and a AS in Biology from San Diego Miramar Colege, San Diego. She served as crew biologist at MDRS during the field season in 2002, and has twenty years experience (alpine/tundra/taiga/desert) in wilderness environments. Shannon is currently involved in a long-term collaborative microbial ecology research project at MDRS, and is a member of MDRS Biology Back Room, developing guidelines for MDRS biological research projects.

Matt Bamsey
Matt Bamsey is an Aerospace Engineering student at Carleton University in Ottawa. He has spent a number of work terms at the Canadian Space Agency, where he is currently on a sixteen month internship, working for the RADARSAT-2 and Mars programs. Matt has been an active Mars Society member for a number of years and is also involved with the British Interplanetary Society. Other interests of Matt's include space history with a focus on Soviet / Russian aspects.

Nishi Rawat
Nishi Rawat is a first year resident in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She is originally from Ottawa, Canada. She completed her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry at McGill, and medical degree at Queen's University. Her hobbies include playing basketball, running, riding, and reading. Nishi is looking forward to getting out of the hospital, and going to Mars!

Jean Lagarde

Jean Lagarde is an engineer working for EER Systems Inc. Previously he worked for two years as a contractor with the Defence Research Establishment Ottawa and for 15 years as an officer in the Canadian Forces. He has a B.Eng and M.Eng (computer vision) in Electrical Engineering, both from McGill University. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Space Society, the Planetary Society, and is a founding member of The Mars Society.

Besides his executive officer duties for phase one of the expedition, he will be testing a prototype database and mission support communication system.


Steve Dawson
Dr. Dawson is a Clinical Psychologist with Canberra Clinical & Forensic Psychology and also with the Neuropsychology Department of Canberra Hospital. After doing his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wollongong, Steve has worked in private practice, as well as with Canberra Hospital and the NSW Brain Injury Service. Clinical research interests include aviation & aerospace human factors, particularly neuropsychological issues in pilot performance and crew interaction with respect to Mars missions. Leisure interests include flying, reading science fiction and keeping super fit with an annual game of tennis.

Guy Murphy
Guy Murphy has a Bachelor of Arts (economic history) and a Graduate Diploma (architectural history & conservation) from the University of Melbourne. He works as a heritage consultant in Melbourne, researching and documenting historic buildings. A founding member and the current president of the Mars Society Australia 1998, Guy is also a member of the Mars Society's International Steering Committee. Particular interests include space architecture, crew psychology and parallels between Australian history and contemporary space exploration.

Steve Jordan
Steve has over 15 years' hardware and software consulting experience (about 65% Wintel, the balance in Mac, IRIX, Solaris, and Palm OS). In business with his wife, he is a web developer, using Photoshop, Sound Forge, Flash, CorelDraw!, Front Page, Dreamweaver & other programs to create sites. Steve has taken extension film & cinematography classes and has about three years' experience in photo labs as a Systems Integrator (networking and automation). He also has some semi-pro experience in videography (camera & PA board operation for a church of 20,000; and real estate previews), non-linear editing and sound engineering.

Jennifer Laing
Jennifer Laing is conducting post-graduate research into space tourism marketing at the School of Tourism & Hospitality at La Trobe University. She has a Bachelor of Laws, Masters of Business Administration, and Graduate Diploma of Marketing, and her work experience over the past eight years covers new product development, marketing analysis and research and promotions and communications, as well as founding and running her own freelance writing business. Jennifer is PR Director of Mars Society Australia, helped organize and took part in the Jarntimarra-1 expedition and was co-convenor of the Australian Mars Exploration Conference 2002.

Chad Rowland
Chad A. Rowland graduated from Greenville Senior High School, and is currently a Junior at the University Of Michigan, majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in mathematics. He has spent two summers as an apprentice electrician at Kely Slentz Electric, where he wired industrial, commercial, and residential buildings, as wel as gaining experience with a wide range of electrical equipment and tools. Chad is Construction Team Leader on the University of Michigan Manned Mars Rover Team, as well as a member of the operations team and the command team. He would like to pursue a career connected with space exploration in the future. Chad's research proposal for Expedition One involves the Mars Rover, which will be required to interface with other exploration equipment, primarily the habitat communication system, space suits, and data logger. He plans to study these interfaces by comparing different procedures, generating information that will be used for future mission planning and development of a robust field exploration system.

Jim Oliver
Jim Oliver is a professional software engineer from the small town of Buena Vista, Colorado. He has been programming at various companies since 1988, in languages including Assembler, C, C++, and Basic. For the Mars Society, he has worked at mission support, designed part of the MSComm Software system and the DataLogger software.

Melissa Battler
Melissa Battler is an undergraduate student of geology and biology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She is also President of the Waterloo SEDS Chapter (Students for the Exploration & Development of Space) and Executive Administrator of the SMRT Array (Student Managed Research Telescope) radio telescope array project, in Shelburne, Ontario.

Vuong Nguyen
Vuong Nguyen works as Instructional Laboratory Technician at the San Diego Community College District, Miramar Campus, as well as Research Technician at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology, from the University of California, San Diego. Vuong's research skills in microbiology will be useful on Expedition One.

Julie Edwards
Julie Edwards is a laboratory researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor MI. Her research
interests include Martian Astrobiology (search for life on Mars), Space Architecture (laboratory design for a Mars habitat or pressurized rover), and CELSS and life support (greenhouse structure and function). Julie is a founding member of the Mars Society, Mars Society Chapter Contact for the state of Michigan, and secretary of the Michigan Mars Society chapter. She is also currently helping with construction of the first Women Built house in Michigan with Habitat for Humanity.

Jonathan Clarke
Dr. Jonathan Clarke is a geologist with experience in the mineral and petroleum industry, academia, and in government surveys. He has worked in every state of Australia, mostly in the arid interior. In addition he has practiced geology in New Zealand, the Philippines, and the Atacama desert of northern Chile, one of the most Mars-like areas on earth. Dr Clarke led the Jarntimarra-1 expedition and is a director of Mars Society Australia. Dr. Clarke is also Manager of the MARS-OZ project.

Fathi Karouia
Fathi Karouia is a French-born PhD Candidate in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Houston. He is investigating the genes expression of bacteria under various stressful conditions in Professor G. E. Fox's (co-founder of Archaebacteria) laboratory. He also has a B.S. in Chemistry and Physics, and a MS in Physics from Henri Poncare University, a MS in the Applications of Space Technologies from Louis Pasteur University, and a MS in Space Studies from the International Space University. Fathi has been a Research Associate in Space Sciences at NASA-JSC-Houston since 2000 and has had previous work experience with the French Space Agency (CNES) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Fathi's research interests include shielding and radiobiological assessment for space exploration, space physiology training programs, spacesuit material characterization, human cellular injury induced by ionizing space radiation, astrobiology and genomic databases. His works on Expedition One will primarily involve biodiversity and soil chemistry.

James Waldie
James Waldie was a Research Scholar at the University of California San Diego's Space Physiology Laboratory and is currently completing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at RMIT University, as well as working on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) development at BAE Systems in Melbourne. He was involved in a NASA/Honeywell project to develop experimental flexible spacesuits, using mechanical counter pressure (MCP) technology. James is the Project Manager of MarsSkin, which aims to design, produce and test analogue MCP space suits that will behave in a similar fashion to the real suits which may one day be worn on Mars. He took part in the Jarntimarra-1 expedition.

Brian Orlotti
Brian Orlotti is an undergraduate IT and Telecommunications student at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Brian helped organize and took part in the 2000 Mars Society Conference in Toronto. In 2001, he served at FMARS Mission Support in Colorado as computer technician and journalist. In 2002, Brian organized and led an FMARS Mission Support team based out of Toronto, forwarding information and communications as well as helping procure items for the field team. He has also been involved with MSC's Data Logger project, aiding in assembly and testing. Brian will be serving as Comms Engineer for Phase One, which work will include installing and configuring a wireless LAN for the crew's use.

Kathy Plachta
Kathy Plachta is an undergraduate geological engineering student at the University of Toronto. She will be joining the crew to assist with work analysis studies as our Kool Human Factors Officer.

Amaury Solignac
Amaury Solignac is a graduated psychologist from France. He has been interested in human factors and psychological aspects of space exploration since he attended a European Space Agency (ESA) conference on stress in extreme environments. He also has experience in computers and Internet technologies. Amaury plans to analyze the tasks of the field crew during Expedition One with the help of a protocol designed by John Roesch, from Alberta. In his free time he enjoys playing chess, reading science fiction and bruising himself with karate.

Nancy Wood
Dr. Nancy Wood, the Biology Exploration Program Manager, has many years of active research in microbiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. She is currently associated with an entrepreneurial group in microbial diagnostics, and previously held Senior Scientist positions at Northwestern and Rush Medical Schools. Nancy has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in microbiology from Rutgers University, New Jersey. She was the microbiologist on Crew 5 at MDRS and a volunteer guide for the EuroMars Hab exhibit at the Adler Planetarium in 2002. Nancy is also a member of the MDRS Biology Back Room, to develop a long-range research strategy for future missions. Nancy is excited about the prospect of doing serious, Mars analog science in an international, multidisciplinary setting. Having had a long-standing interest in the origin of life, on Earth and elsewhere, she has chosen to focus on sampling and detection methods for the Mission.

David Bushman
David Bushman works in Airborne Sciences at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

Stan Piechocinski
Stan Piechocinski is a Software Development Specialist and Project Engineer at Neptec Design Group, where he has provided real-time support for Space Vision System at NASA's Johnson Space Center during International Space Station assembly missions. Stan has a M.Sc. in Space Science, from York University, where his research project was entitled ĎAn Analysis of Lossy Data Compression Algorithm Use on Planetary Spacecraft Missions'. He also has a B.Sc. with Honours in Engineering Physics. Stan has been involved in defining requirements and design for MSC's Data Logger project, to be used during extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) during Expedition One.

Graham Mann
Dr. Graham Mann is an engineer, specialising in robotics and human-machine interactions. After taking a psychology degree and doing research in psychophysiology at the University of
WA's Biofeedback Laboratory, he moved to the University of NSW, to study for a Master's degree in cognitive science, and
later a PhD in artificial intelligence. He is currently Senior Lecturer, School of Information Technology, BITL, Murdoch
University, and has designed and built a number of innovative robots, including a walking biped and a domestic floor-cleaning machine. Graham took part in the Jarntimarra-1 expedition, is a
director of Mars Society Australia, and Manager of the Starchaser Marsupial Rover project. He is keen to take advantage of the availability of two analog rovers, plus test crews at Expedition One, to evaluate these human-machine systems in realistic exploratory settings.

Jonathan Butler
Jonathan Butler has been conducting biology research for the past two years at Point Loma Nazarene University, covering histology, immunohistochemistry, RNA work, PCR knowledge, and microscopy with standard and phase contrast techniques. He will obtain his BS degree (Biology/Chemistry major) in March 2003. Jonathan coauthored a research project with Shannon Rupert for the MDRS Crew 4 2002 and presented a paper at the 5th annual convention with Steve McDaniels and Shannon Rupert - Prospecting for Water in Arid Climates Using Desert Varnish. Jonathan has been involved in putting together the biology proposal for Expedition One.

Jennifer Knowles
Jennifer Knowles is a Systems Engineering Simulator (SES) Spacecraft Simulator Specialist at Lockheed Martin Space
Operations in Houston, where she has worked for the past two years. She received a B.S. in Physics with High Honors from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 2000
(minor in Psychology) and is.presently enrolled at the University of Houston, working towards a Masters in Physical
Sciences with a concentration on Space Sciences. As a member of MDRS Crew 4 in the spring of 2002, she gained much experience about living in a Mars analog environment.

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