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Mars Society Information: News Archive.


March 10, 2005

March 24, 2005  






From : Ray Poulsen Sent : Friday, March 18, 2005 10:28 PM Subject : Veronica's Geology Report 3


Log Book for March 17, 2005 Geology Report Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto Reporting


Kelly Cole and I traversed fairly close to the Hab next to the Musk Observatory which practically sits on top of some beautiful Dakota Sandstone deposits which is practically littered with a variety of concretions. Kelly was in charge of observing and acquiring single, double and triple-modal concretions throughout the entire formation. There was a mix of iron-rich and light colored concretions within the same host rock. I obtained all host rock samples with the occassional large, almost spherical concretions. It must be noted that not all concretions are spherical and have displayed (as we have seen and documented here on Mars) that some depict a "flat" geometry. This may be due to the concretions weathering out of the desert varnish or the affect of aeolian processes within that particular regime. If time permits I will continue to add these concretions to the already existing inventory obtained from our previous EVAs. As I have stressed in my previous reports, we adhered to the "1 in 20 rule" to which we only collect one sample out of twenty in the field. That way, if others are interested in this study, there will be enough for others to observe and obtain samples from of their own. I took a Pan image of the formation and will (when time permits) get a soil sample from each and every bed. I will mosaic these images together and will post them to our Crew #36 website(s) when the data is extrapolated and the imagery completed. If there is anyone interested in this study, my e-mail is always open to you to entertain any questions and/or comments that you may have about this geographic locale on Mars (

From : Ray Poulsen Sent : Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:27 PM


Log Book for March 16, 2005 Crew Narrative Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto Reporting Working on Mars ... A True Story


I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work on Mars. It has been an honor and a privilege to be on the first all female crew to live and work on the Red Planet. There have been many challenges and I have learned something new each day of my rotation. I have come to realize that those extra ~39 minutes and 47 seconds that we have each SOL are very useful and I have been able to accomplish so much in SOL than I would have back home on Earth. On the first few days of my rotation I learned how to change the oil for our generator which is our “life line” for the Hab. I also helped fix up the Hab for it was recently refitted. During EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) samples of Brachiopods, concretions, endoliths, soil samples, etc., were collected and brought back to the lab for further examination and documentation. I have also been put in charge of the Science Laboratory to which I will update and create a “working” inventory list to which all future crews to the Hab must check and sign off all equipment before they start their experiments/rotation. This will help determine what equipment, solutions, etc., will be needed for the lab in the future and what the lab already has. I plan to come back to Mars again in the very near future to which I will continue my research on concretions for future Mars missions. I also encourage all on Earth to take the opportunity to apply to come to the Mars Desert Research Station in order to experience what it is like to live and work on Mars.


As for a personal note to my family and friends, I greatly appreciate all your e-mails wishing me and my crew well. We are never too far apart thanks to our current technology of the Webcam ( as well as for e-mail. I will be home very soon to share with you all of my wonderful experiences here on Mars. As for my RCIC students at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, I would like to say “Hello from Mars”. I hope you have been keeping track on all of our Daily Dispatches and if you have any questions about what we are doing, please remember to e-mail me at: I would also like to say “Hello” to my children’s schools: Corte Sierra Elementary School as well as Wigwam Creek Middle School. You all are fantastic and I cannot wait to come to your classrooms to share what it is like on Mars! I know many of you are excited and cannot wait to see pictures from Mars. It is time that I must get ready for my EVA for this afternoon. I am waiting for the first EVA team to return and then I will suit up and get ready to head out. I am hoping to bring some samples back to Earth to show everyone. I want to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported us in our ventures to this wondrous and special place. One cannot imagine what it is like to be on another world, so far from home...far away from your loved ones...far away from your friends...far away from everything that you have come to know and understand. On Mars, everything is not as what we imagined. No amount of studying, training or preparation can make one comprehend the beauty of the geological formations, the curious size distribution and frequency of concretions that we once observed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) long ago, and the bond that a crew shares when extreme conditions are waiting for us outside our safe environment. It is a common goal, self-confidence, the instinct and will to explore for the survival and curiosity of humankind that we have come to this place. There are those of us who are willing to sacrifice all that we know and all that we are in order to be a part of something bigger, and to gently guides humanity out of its infancy, like a Mother letting go the first time while watching her precious child takes her first steps into a universe, so immense, she cannot help but wonder what new adventures wait for her...on this world or the next. It is time to say good-bye, but, only for a short while. From the Red Planet to our Mother Earth ...I wish you all well. May you always look up to the heavens as I have and never, never believe that there is not life outside our own home world. For I am here, on Mars. What more proof do you need?  

From : Ray Poulsen Sent : Thursday, March 17, 2005 11:52 AM Subject : Fw: [marssocietynewsletter] Zubrin Moon-to-Mars Plan Trilogy Published by Space News


Zubrin Moon-to-Mars Plan Trilogy Published by Space News March 17, 2005 For further information about the Mars Society, visit our website at The industry weekly Space News has published a three part series of articles by Mars Society president Dr. Robert Zubrin detailing how NASA can develop a lunar exploration program that actually leads to Mars. Entitled "How to build a lunar base," the three articles cover the issue of proper launch strategy, lunar base mission architecture, and evolution of the lunar transportation system to enable human Mars missions. The articles ran on the op-ed pages of Space News February 21, 28, and March 7, and have now been posted at the Mars Society website at www.marssociety org.


A complete discussion of the Moon-Mars initiative, and the technical and political steps needed to make the vision real will be held at the 8th International Mars Society Convention, University of Colorado, Boulder, August 11-14, 2005. Registration is now open at Those wishing to present papers on this or other subjects relating to the exploration or settlement of Mars should send abstracts of no more than 300 words to by May 31, 2005. The first of the "How to Build a Lunar Base" articles is reprinted below.


How to Build a Lunar Base: Part 1: The Launch Issue Robert Zubrin


President Bush has called upon NASA to implement a human lunar exploration program with the objective of both supporting operations on the Moon and developing the technologies to enable piloted Mars missions. The question is: how should this be done? Three central issues that need to be addressed are launch strategy, Lunar mission mode, and method of evolution from Moon to Mars exploration capabilities. With respect to the launch issue, the key question is whether or not we need a heavy lift vehicle (HLV). Currently, those opposed to such development have advanced an argument for a quadruple launch, quadruple rendezvous (QQ)mission architecture employing medium lift vehicles (MLVs). As the success of failure of the program depends upon the practicality of its launch strategy, this concept needs to be carefully scrutinized. In the QQ mission plan, a Crew Excursion Vehicle (CEV) with a propulsive capability for Trans Earth Injection (TEI) is launched to orbit where it rendezvous with an Earth Departure Stage (EDS) capable of delivering it to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO, i.e. perform TLI + Lunar Orbit Capture, or LOC burn). Separately from this, a Lunar Surface and Ascent Module (LSAM) is launched to orbit, and then another EDS, which then rendezvous, after which the EDS delivers to LSAM to LLO. The CEV performs a rendezvous with the LSAM in LLO, after which the crew transfers to the LSAM for an excursion to the Lunar surface. The crew then ascends in the LSAM to rendezvous with the CEV in LLO. The crew transfers to the CEV which performs Trans Earth Injection and direct entry and landing at Earth.


If we choose as our mission baseline LOX/hydrogen propulsion for the EDS and the LSAM landing stage, and space storable LOX/methane for the TEI stage and LSAM ascent stage, we obtain the masses of 12 tonnes for the CEV (including TEI stage), 15 tonnes for the LSAM (including ascent and descent stages, 27 tonnes for the EDS used by the CEV and 33 tonnes for the EDS used for the LSAM.


So, from the point of view of mass, the QQ mission could indeed be launched by two 30 tonne to LEO class MLVs and two 15 tonne-to-LEO MLVs. However we note that:


i. Packaging concerns have been ignored, and it is not clear that the small launch fairing of a 15 tonne to LEO MLV would be sufficient for the LSAM, so a bigger MLV may be required ii. Four MLV launches are required per mission. iii. The above four launches must be done quickly, since the EDS and LSAM vehicles are carrying cryogenic LOX/H2 hydrogen, and the piloted CEV is launched last. iv. Four mission critical rendezvous operations are required per mission v. The crew flies to the Moon without the LSAM. Points i., and ii, above speak to costs of the program. Using multiple MLVs to launch an HLV payload is not cost-effective. It is a well known feature of launch vehicle economics that larger boosters are more economic than smaller boosters, with costs/kg scaling roughly as the inverse square root of the total payload. Thus, by dividing the launch mass into four parts, we could expect the overall launch costs per mission to roughly double. Points iii and iv speak to feasibility. The program requires four MLV launches within a very short period. In fact, in just a few weeks we would need to accomplish four MLV launches, three of which involve cryogenic upper stages, and the fourth involving a piloted vehicle, all from the Cape. Such an MLV launch rate has never been accomplished, with any payload, and to assume that it can be done, repeatedly, with payloads of this complexity, is wildly optimistic. Point ii, iii, and iv also speak to complexity and mission risk. In contrast to the Apollo mission plan, which only required one launch and a single rendezvous, the QQ plan requires four mission-critical rendezvous and four launches to all occur successfully. That's eight big chances per mission (in addition to Lunar landing and ascent) for an operational failure that would cause loss of mission. The mission would also, fail, however, if a launch delay caused any of the three launches after the first to stall too long for cryogenic propellant onboard orbiting payload #1 to last until TLI, or if any of the four orbiting payloads were to take an orbital debris hit while waiting in LEO for TLI, or if any of the four spacecraft should malfunction, or if either of the two TLI or two LOC burns should fail, or if any of the four orbital rendezvous operations should fail, to name just a few additional sources of mission failure that multiply in proportion the number of flight elements and critical operations. Now this mission architecture is supposed to support not a single Lunar mission, but routine, repeated access to the Moon. Inserting so much complexity and vulnerability into such a transportation system is an open invitation to program failure.


In fact, an elementary calculation done using very optimistic assumptions (presented in detail at shows that, at best, the QQ plan might obtain a mission reliability of about 0.75. This means that roughly one out of every four missions could be expected to fail. If three missions are flown per year, there would, on average, be mission failure roughly every 1.3 years. Assuming a typical suspension of operations of two years after each mission failure, the program would need to be shut down for failure investigations at least 60% of the time.


This is not a good way to design a program. Point vi speaks to risk to crew. Apollo traveled to the Moon with the LEM attached to the Command Module. Availability of the LEM during transit proved essential to saving the lives of the Apollo 13 crew. Has the QQ baseline plan been employed by the Apollo program, the crew of Apollo 13 would all be dead.


The reason why the QQ mission has such low reliability is because of the incredible proliferation of critical events that occurs if four launches, four rendezvous, and four spacecraft are required for each mission. The way to solve this problem is simple: develop a heavy lift vehicle that allows the entire mission to be launched with a single booster, just as was done during Apollo. This will both cut program launch costs in half, and reduce the risk of mission failure by a factor of four. It also creates and exercises a system that is directly useful to enable human Mars exploration, which is the primary purpose of the Lunar program as stated in the President's directive. Some people within the aerospace establishment understand that the development of a heavy lift vehicle is essential for a successful Lunar program, but wish to postpone consideration of the issue for political reasons. This is very unfortunate. One of the cheapest options to create an HLV is by converting the Shuttle. The Shuttle launch stack has the same takeoff thrust as a Saturn V, and if we delete the orbiter and add a hydrogen/oxygen upper stage, we can create a launch vehicle with similar capability. However, under NASA's current plans, only about twenty-five more Shuttle launches are contemplated, and absent a plan for Shuttle conversion to an HLV, much of the industrial infrastructure for manufacturing key Shuttle system components (such as external tanks) will soon be dismantled. Recreating such capabilities after they have been lost will cost the taxpayers billions.


If such massive waste is to be avoided, NASA needs to make the case for heavy lift immediately. Next article: The Question of Mission Mode Dr. Robert Zubrin, an astronautical engineer, is President of the Mars Society, and the author of the books The Case for Mars, Entering Space, and Mars on Earth.

From : Ray Poulsen Sent : Wednesday, March 16, 2005 2:57 PM Subject : Veronica's Geology Report 2


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attachment : t_c36d10eva01_5B1_5D.jpg (0.02 MB) Veronica Ann and two team members prepare to go EVA at the MDRS Log Book for March 15, 2005 Geology Report Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto Reporting Concretions at the Mars Desert Research Station


On 14.03.2005, we took an "out of SIM" EVA to scout out the concretion site that Stacy and myself had haphazardly found while looking for the Moqui Marbles that Melissa Battler had previously found two years prior to our rotation. We took the whole crew to the site, which is roughly 1.25 km from the MDRS, which has a massive rock that contains concretions in it. I decided to name this rock "Comet Tail Rock" due to the immense amount of comet tail features associated with the concretions found there. More samples were collected and when time permits, I will record their size distribution and frequency. Also, while scouting out the area further, we came across larger concretions with a much higher content of iron due to erosional processes. We were so amazed at the immense size of the concretions which were fairly close to "Comet Tail Rock". We collected samples of these beautiful and quite curious concretions and wondered why their size was so immense compared to others previously observed. Amber Church and I discussed this in great detail while trying to hurry back to the Hab with the rest of the crew as the sun had already fallen in the western sky and the wind (which is the most predominant geological process on Mars) started to pick up. On a side note...Mars has some spectacular sunsets, which remind me of the Painted Deserts of the Southwest. I felt like I was home, not on Mars. But, finally, we arrived at the Hab and continued our discussions about the "Mother of ALL Concretions" that was found. We put it up on the MDRS Webcam for all to appreciate. As for the theories that Amber and myself came up was that there was an immense amount of water and microbial life concentrated more so in certain parts of a general locale than others. We will be doing more research on this for sure in the future. But, I think I prefer Amber's Father's theory (Ian Church, 2005) which states: "The reason why there are very few large concretions is because previous Martians discovered them and collected them all and left behind the smaller ones. It is the good ol' selection of the fittest OR theft of the best natural treasures which all national park types know". The largest diameter that has been measured thus far is ~27mm in diameter. I still need to take more measurements and hope to produce a size distribution and frequency chart of the finds by the end of my rotation. Once again...We wish all on the "Good Earth" greetings and salutations. We wish you peace and happiness and we will be home soon.



From : Ray Poulsen Sent : Monday, March 14, 2005 10:30 PM Subject : Veronica's Daily Report 3/13


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attachment : t_c36d07hab01_5B1_5D.jpg (0.01 MB) Below is the link for Veronica's Daily Report from the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in south central Utah. Veronica making repairs to the MDRS

Sent : Thursday, March 10, 2005 7:43 PM Subject : Fw: [marssocietynewsletter] Third International Space Song Contest to be Held


Third International Space Pioneer Song Contest to be Held. For further information about the Mars Society, visit our website at Or contact The Mars Society is proud to announce that it will hold its Third Rouget de Lisle Award contest for songs celebrating the cause of the human exploration and settlement of space.


We are asking for a tape or CD of songs, to be submitted together with a hardcopy of the lyrics by no later than April 30, 2005 to Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills, CO 80454. Songs can be any style; classical, folk, country, pop, jazz, rock and roll, etc. A committee of judges will then down select to ten finalists, who will be invited to play at the 8th International Mars Society Convention, University of Colorado, Boulder, Agust 11, 14, 2005. The audience will then vote for the winning songs. All finalists, however, will submitted to Prometheus Records for consideration for its next CD, and will also be forwarded to NASA for possible use as wakeup songs for crews of the International Space Station, the Mars Rovers, and the Cassini spacecraft which is now orbiting Saturn!


The winner of our first contest "The Pioneers of Mars" was recently used as wakeup music for the Mars rover Opportunity. Written by partners in life and song Karen Linsley and Lloyd Landa, "The Pioneers of Mars" was honored with the Mars Society's first Rouget de Lisle award in 2000.


Co-author Landa died unexpected of a heart attack days before the song's debut at the Mars Society's August 2000 Toronto conference, after which Karen exclaimed in tears, "Get to Mars. And when the notes of this song are heard on Martian soil, he will live again." The Second Rouget de Lisle was held in 2004, with the winners awarded at the 7th International Mars Society Convention in Chicago. The winners of that contest were:


Gold Medal Category; 1st place; "Thank God Dreams Survive," by Bill, Tina, and Casey Swindell 2nd place; "On to Mars," by Robert McNally Silver Medal Category 3rd Place; "Lullaby for Mars," by S. Miria Jo 4th Place; "When Mice Become Men," by Janetta Deavers Bronze Medal Category 5th Place; "Make this World Come Alive," written by Leslie Fish, sung by Beatriz Serrato 6th Place; "First Footprint," by Robert McNally. Songs from the first and second Rouget de Lisle contest have been posted and are available for downloading at the "Mars Songs" link at


So tune up your harps, space bards, turn in your songs and prepare to turn out for Boulder. Let your voices ring out into the solar system. Mars needs music, and the Boulder conference is going to be the Woodstock of Mars! For further information about the Mars Society, visit our website at

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From : Veronica Ann Zabala Sent : Tuesday, March 1, 2005 10:59 AM Subject : Help DONATE to Refit and Upgrade the Mars Hab in Utah!!!


Please donate TODAY to help support our mission to refit and upgrade the Hab. If every visitor so far had paid $1USD this expedition would be mostly paid for. If your donation is by credit card, please put "MDRS Refit" into the company name box and it will show up on the printout that Patti gets to document the donation. If the donor needs to put a company name in the box, have them add "MDRS Refit" to it. PLEASE VISIT THIS URL TO DONATE TODAY: Thank you for your support!



From : Veronica Ann Zabala Sent : Sunday, February 27, 2005 7:32 AM Subject : Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto on Crew 36 for Mars Hab in Utah!!!


Hello Folks! Just an FYI to let you know that I have been selected to be on Crew 36 for the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah from March 11-20th. You can view my daily images and journals at the following URL: This crew rotation is highly important in so many ways. Firstly, this will be the first "all woman" Mars Crew to the Hab. There are 4 scientists, 2 engineers and 1 journalist on ths crew rotation. I encourage all to view our daily dispatches and e-mail me with any questions you have regarding our EVAs, research, living and working on Mars, etc. You can e-mail me with your questions at:

From : Veronica Ann Zabala Sent : Friday, February 25, 2005 5:01 PM Subject : GOT SPACE TOURISM ? sticker for sale from Veronica Ann Zabala!


As close friends and family members I will let you be the first to know what I am up to next! I am selling stickers that have the saying: "Got Space Tourism ?" I am trying to raise enough money for me to have a sub-orbital flight. 10% of all the proceeds will go to educational outreach materials/events to provde the necessary awareness of Space Tourism today! For those of you who are not familiar with what a "sub-orbital flight" is, here is a short description from Space Adventure's from their website:


"Suborbital Space Flight Program Highlights View the Earth from space. Fly into space, 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth. Experience weightlessness. Participate in the birth of space travel industry and inspire future generations of explorers. Earn Space Adventures' Explorer status in the Spaceflight Club.


Suborbital flight is the next generation of commercial passenger travel. Today, with flight testing of commercial reusable launch vehicles (RLVs) underway, suborbital flight is closer than ever. Defined as a mission that flies out of the atmosphere but does not reach speeds needed to sustain continuous orbiting of the earth, suborbital spaceflight allows passengers to look down at the brilliant curvature of the earth as they would from orbit. As we enter this new frontier, individuals around the world know their dreams of space travel can now become a reality. You have a unique opportunity to participate in the historic birth of the commercial space travel industry and to help set the stage for future generations of explorers." The cost of a suborbital flight is $102,000.00. I would like to go to Russia to ride on the suborbital vehicle Cosmopolis XXI: C–21 ! Please help me in my efforts! Everything that I will learn and experience on this venture I will pass on to others. For those of you who know me well enough, you already know that I love educational outreach and if I can use this experience to promote the next generation of space tourism and exploration, what better way then to teach it FIRST HAND ? Details about the stickers: The stickers are rectangular, black background with basic white lettering that say: Got Space Tourism ? How much are the stickers? The stickers are ONLY $3.00 each (please include $1.50 for S & H) Where can I purchase these AWESOME stickers? You can send your check or money order to: Veronica Ann Zabala Arizona State University Department of Geological Sciences Planetary Geology Group PO Box 871404 Tempe, Arizona 85287-1404 The stickers should be arriving within 3 weeks. Please e-mail me with your initial orders. I should have a website up soon called: "Give Me My Space !" ( and you all will be the first to know when it is launched! PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE "GIVE ME MY SPACE !" MAILING LIST. I am hoping within the next two months you can view the website! I am also looking for Sponsors to match dollar for dollar for the money already raised. There will also be a PayPal option to where those of you who have PayPal can support this wonderful cause with just a click of your mouse! This website will also have a calendar of events so you know where I will be to promote this cause, a photo gallery and a message board so we all can stay connected and share our thoughts and dreams of Human space exploration! THESE STICKERS WILL ALSO BE ON EBAY within a couple of weeks!!! LOOK FOR THEM UNDER MEMBER ID: Gusev_Crater_2004 PLEASE PASS THE WORD ON TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, EDUCATORS, SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS, THE MEDIA, NEWSPAPERS, ETC. PLEASE POST ON ALL WEBSITES WHEN YOU CAN. I want to thank you in advance for all your support. Together we will experience Space Tourism. Why? Because Space Tourism is FINALLY here !

Veronica Ann Zabala Sent : Thursday, January 27, 2005 10:03 AM Subject : Dr. Paul Spudis Colloquium Talk: The Moon and The New Presidential Space Vision


Attachment : DS330007.dss (6.86 MB)


Hello All! Yesterday Dr. Paul Spudis, member of the Presidential Commission on the Implementation of U.S. Space Policy, came to Arizona State University to talk about the new vision for space exploration "that calls for the returning of the Moon with humans and using it and its resources to prepare for missions to Mars and other destination." Attached is his lecture in DSS format. It will be readily available in wav. format by the end of the week on the Mars Society of Phoenix Chapter website at:





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