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Mars Society Canada - About Us

What is Mars Society Canada (MSC)?

In brief, MSC is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and enabling the near-term human exploration of Mars

In detail, MSC is a space-advocacy group dedicated to promoting, within Canada, the exploration of Mars by implementing public-outreach programs, by lobbying governments and by carrying out its own technical projects. Though mainly focused on Mars, it promotes space exploration in general, often collaborating with other space-advocacy organizations. MSC’s membership extends across Canada, with about ten chapters in cities large and small.

What makes the Mars Society (TMS) so special?

One-way travel to Mars will take about six months, when Earth & Mars are closest in their orbits. Once astronauts arrive at Mars, they will likely spend more than one year on the surface, until Earth-Mars orbits once again line up. Since there will be limited supply of oxygen, water, food, technical equipments, and medical instruments, the scientists and astronauts will have to live and work efficiently and safely with given resources. Here, the international Mars Society (TMS) plays its role by conducting Mars Mission simulations, which give people the opportunity to practice operations in a Mars analogue environment. TMS currently has two operational Mars Analogue Research Stations (MARS), including the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah, and the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on the rim of Haughton Crater in the Canadian Arctic.

What makes MSC so special?

MSC runs a unique program called “Expedition Mars” (ExMars). The goal of ExMars is to run high-fidelity Mars Mission simulations, with a focus on rigorous field science, field operations, and field logisitics, as well as the training of highly qualified crew members for long duration expeditions, all to prepare for the eventual human exploration of Mars. The ExMars Program is divided into two complementary series, the ExMars Analogue Training Series (ExMATS) and the ExMars Analogue Research Series (ExMARS).

The ExMATS (ExAlpha, ExBeta, ExGamma, etc.) focuses on certifying new engineers and scientists who are unfamiliar with Mars analogue research and MSC’s program. These mission rotations are conducted once a year at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), in south-central Utah near Hanksville. The two-week training period, which is typically composed primarily of Canadian crewmembers, includes a research program that acts as a foundation for the operations. Training is interdisciplinary, and each crew member is expected to play a role in the teaching.

The ExMARS (ExOne, ExTwo, ExThree, etc.) rotations take place around the world at analogue sites of interest, with an international, interdisciplinary crew of scientists, engineers, research assistants and explorers, usually for a four-week period. Crew selection is heavily focused on crew dynamics, and human factors.

What does Mars Society Canada (MSC) do?

  • 1. MSC train:
  • a. Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah is for short-term analog missions.
  • i. These interdisciplinary training missions are two weeks long.
  • b. The Flash-line Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) at Devon Island is for more advanced and long term mars analog research.
  • i. These training missions are three months long.
  • 2. MSC research:
  • a. Some team projects include the development of equipments to be used for experiment purpose for both MDRS and FMARS.
  • b. “Design and test technologies for manned field work on Mars, including a revolutionary lightweight space suit, a handheld data-logging device and vehicles to serve as mobile laboratories and living quarters.”
  • 3. Other activities:
  • a. Develop education and outreach programs and interaction with school groups and summer camps from MDRS and FMARS, and across Canada
  • b. Conduction political outreach, through government lobbying, and working directly with the Canadian Space Industry Caucus
  • c. Collaborating with other space-supporting organizations, to advance the cause of space research and exploration in general
  • d. Create and maintain chapters (community) with the MSC members, who independently organize events for their local members.
  • Among the MSC’s noteworthy activities in recent years are:

    Because the public’s interest in Mars has been greatly heightened by the recent robotic Mars missions and by the Canadian Space Agency’s desire to send a “uniquely Canadian” mission to Mars, MSC is assured of growing and having an ever-greater impact on future Mars exploration.)

    Read more: is owned by Mars Society of Canada, Inc.