The Mars Society UK

"To further the exploration and settlement of the Red Planet"

Society meetings and conferences.


Details of the 2013 AGM and Conference can be found below.

The 2013 European Mars Conference was held in Paris from Friday October 25 to Sunday October 27, hosted by the French Mars Society. Further details can be found here.

Click on the poster image for a larger version.

Society Meetings

The very first public meeting of the Mars Society was held in the UK on July 4, 1998.

We hope to announce inmformation on future meetings for the UK branch soon.  Please watch for details.

If you would like to be notified of forthcoming meetings, please write to jstone[at]

The 2013 AGM and Conference was held on October 5 at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Click on the poster image for a larger version.


The conference had a range of speakers that  included Dr John Bridges from the University of Leicester Space Research Centre. He has been leading a team of scientists from the UK and France to examine the findings from NASA's latest rover on the Red Planet - the Mars Science Laboratory, known as "Curiosity".

The 2012 AGM and Conference was held on August 25 at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

We are extremely grateful to Jane MacArthur who produced the following report and photos of the AGM and Conference. She has included many relevant links to external websites.

You can also read this on her blog at which includes other entries about her space interests and activities.

Click on the images for larger versions.

The Mars Society UK AGM and conference took place on 25th August 2012, at the National Space Centre in Leicester.  The Mars Society was originally formed in Colorado in 1988, and has had a UK branch since that time. In recent years the society has been restructured, and the new committee look forward to re-establishing the society and extending its membership across the UK.

The AGM re-elected Graham Dale as president, and then noted grateful thanks to Andy Nimmo who was retiring from his many years work as secretary. Paul Clark was elected in his place, and Robert Astbury volunteered to be the new press officer.  Jerry Stone has also joined the committee.


< The rocket tower at the National Space Centre

Graham Dale made use of the very recent MSL landing and descent videos in talking through the mission and some of the question it hopes to answer. He noted the first results from the Radiation Assessment Detector have already shown a number of Heavy Ion Events on the surface, mostly below the average levels seen in the cruise stage.


< Graham Dale getting the event under way

Jerry Stone from Spaceflight UK talked about the ESA Aurora programme to support Mars exploration and described his contributions in publicising this and encouraging people to write to their MPs, to ensure the UK continues to maintain its position within the Aurora programme.

Note: Additional links and information regarding Aurora will be added shortly.

A video showing the Mars One plan to establish a settlement on Mars in 2023 was shown, where settlers will plan to live for the rest of their lives. Living units, life support and rovers would be sent in 2020 to prepare for human arrival.

Ed Buckley presented what we know about Mars, mentioning how the water on Mars is “in prison, not gone”, locked up in ice both on and under the surface. He mentioned how the caves are thought to have more stable temperatures, which would be more conducive for human exploration, and referenced the OEWF (Austrian Space Forum) Mars analog missions, performing experiments in the Dachstein caves in April 2012. Another OEWF Mars analog mission is planned in Morocco for February 2013.



Jerry Stone, showing that the cost per person of being involved in the exploration of Mars ...
is the cost of a Mars bar!

The feasibility of sending cubesat missions to Mars was discussed by Graham Dale, who focussed on ion electrospray microthrusters as a possible solution to the problem of propulsion. The rapid progress of projects such as UKube-1, ExoplanetSat, and KickSat were noted, along with the first iCubeSat 2012 Interplanetary CubeSat Conference which recently took place.

A video was shown, with extracts from Dr Alex Kumar’s Skype conversation with the Mars Society Convention in Pasadena from 5th August, giving interesting insights into the research taking place at the Concordia station in Antarctica. Experiments into pre and post exercise results, blood sampling, circadian rhythmns, psychological effects, gene interaction and changes are being monitored in this isolated environment, where the darkness of winter lasts 3 months. He maintains a website and blog. You can see a copy of the video here.

Graham Dale mentioned studies for “Building Martian Nation”, which discussed ideas such as a Martian space elevator and the supply of volatiles from Mars to the Moon, as this would be easier than supplying the Moon from Earth, given the delta v requirements.

Dr Susanne Schwenzer, from the Open University, gave us further information about the MSL mission, as she works with John Bridges, from University of Leicester, who is currently at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She narrated the high resolution video taken of the descent from MARDI (Mars Descent Imager), and showed the parachute phase images captured by the HiRise camera on board the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter, which only had a 40% change of being captured, so the mission has done a great job at beating the odds so far.

She described all the instruments, giving extra detail about the first Chemcam laser experiment and touched briefly on the only known problem so far, of one of the wind measuring arms not working. This video shows the planned simulated first movements of Curiosity on Mars.

She presented what the scientific literature knows so far about Gale Crater, listing the many questions that MSL Curiosity hopes to answer, in order to address the main mission goals, of whether Mars could ever have supported life and studying the climate and geology of Mars.


< Susanne Schwenzer describing the MSL mission

Andy Nimmo talked briefly on current plans for Mars exploration, including the recently announced NASA Discovery mission, InSight, which hopes to see to the centre of Mars and how deeply the crust extends as well as the size of the core. Venezuela has announced that they will go to Mars, and India also announced plans, with a provisional launch in Nov 2013. NASA’s Maven mission is due for launch in 2013, while a Dutch group announced Mars One, involving one way trips to Mars from 2023,with a worldwide lottery.

Alan Bond from Reaction Engines finished the day by telling us about Project Troy, a strategy for a mission to Mars which would involve reusable and economically sustainable space transportation. Both an un-crewed precursor phase and principal phase will deploy 3 vessels, with 6 members per crewed vessel and they will establish three bases which will contain a habitat, nuclear power supply & propellant factory, and storage module. The full Project Troy study documentation is on the Reaction Engines website here and there is also an animation video.

< Alan Bond shows Wernher von Braun's plans for reaching Mars.

Graham Dale thanked everyone for attending and advised everyone to watch the website and Facebook page for future news and events.

Jerry Stone then thanked Graham and everyone who had made the event such a success.

Again, many thanks to Jane MacArthur for this great report.
You can find a Storify of her live Tweets from the conference here.

If anyone else has any pictures from the conference, please contat us.

Alan Bond explains Project Troy


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