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]spaceflight-uk.com
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
You can also read this on her
blog at http://pad39a.blogspot.co.uk/
which includes other entries about her space interests and activities.
Click on the images for
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
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
You can see a copy of the video here.
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
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.
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
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
Alan Bond explains Project Troy