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2015-16 Crew Application

MDRS Crew Application for 2015-2016


Please read through this document carefully and follow all instructions.


Failure to follow instructions may result in your application not being considered. 


Both this application and the online preliminary research information form (PRIF) must be submitted before your application will be considered complete.


Greetings!  Thank you for your interest in participating as a crewmember at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station. We welcome applications from individuals who would like to be placed with a crew of compatible Marsnauts and from self-organized teams who would like to come to MDRS together.  If you apply as a team, please read the following guidelines for self-organized crews and meet them as much as possible.  In addition, both individuals and teams should review the crew documents on the MDRS website as they will assist in the application process. 

Please read through this application carefully as some procedures have changed since last year.

1)  All individuals, as well as members and alternates of self-organized teams, must complete this Crew Application by the application deadline.   The priority deadline is January 15, 2015 and final deadline for consideration is July 1, 2015.  Crew selection will begin shortly after the priority deadline, and any application received after that date will be given consideration on a space available basis only. 

2)  External directors may no longer apply on behalf of a team.  The only exception to this is an educational team made up of students from a single department and/or course.   Educators, please contact us for additional guidelines prior to completing your application.

3)  Please use the following information as guidelines for developing a self-organized crew. Self-organized crews must meet these guidelines in order to be selected for a rotation.  If you have any questions or concerns, contact us. 


Please note that self-organized crews can consist of between 2-7 people.  Six is a fully functioning crew, but we will be happy to match your team with other applicants to join your team if you would like.   Please indicate the number of people in your team on your application.


Guidelines for self-organized crews:


·       All must be healthy people, used to outdoor activity such as hiking and camping. They should all be people capable of eating all normal types of food.

·       At least three of the six must speak English well. At least one must be fluent.

·       All teams from a single university must have an external director and/or faculty advisor who will assist the team with their research proposals and also be available to the crew and Mission Support during their stay at MDRS.

·       At least two of the crew should be natural scientists or natural science students. This is because the activity of the crew will be field exploration.  This requirement will not be waived this field season. 

·       At least two members of the crew should be people who are very good at fixing mechanical or electrical equipment. This is because in the desert things frequently break down and a crew needs to have some ability to deal with such events.

·       At least one of the crew should be a person capable of expressing themselves well in writing, and be willing and able to send an account of each day's activity for publication on the internet.

·       One of them must have the maturity and judgment and experience to serve as crew commander.  In order to be commander of a self-organized crew, the applicant must meet one of the following criteria:

o   Must have served satisfactorily as crew commander in a prior field season

o   Must have served satisfactorily as a crew member in a prior field season and show previous leadership experience in their field

o   Must have served satisfactorily in a leadership role in a field expedition and/or a remote location

·        All crew commanders will be screened and approved by the selection committee prior to assignment. 

·       One person should have some medical experience, either first aid/CPR or wilderness first responder.  Another person will need to have experience or an interest in managing crops in the GreenHab.

·       We welcome student and professional artists in all disciplines, including fine art, graphic art, photography, film, journalism, and writing.   In order to qualify as Artist-In-Residence, you must demonstrate that you make your living in that field. 

·       All should be people enthusiastic about space exploration in general, and Mars exploration in particular.

·       All of them must be serious, responsible people. No people should be sent who like to do dangerous things for fun, or who are not careful with other people's property, or who are otherwise excessively immature.

·        All crewmembers will need to spend two weeks at the station, arriving and leaving together. At least two of them should be able to drive a car.

·       You need to choose a crew of people who can get along and work together well.  You are encouraged to have 2-3 alternate crewmembers.  They will need to fill out an application as well.  We will no longer approve an alternative crewmember after the selection process.   If you find you need a replacement crewmember, it will be at the discretion of the Crew Selection Committee on who is assigned to your crew.

·       The crew must all understand that they need to follow orders given to them by Mars Society’s Mission Support. We do not direct all the crew's activity. Much of their research program, for example, will be self-generated. But when we tell them they need to do something, or that they must not do something, they need to follow instructions.  Crews that do not follow directives from Mission Support will be removed from the station. 



Please answer the following questions on the first page of your application.


Do not include the questions, only your answers.


Make sure you have answered all sixteen questions.

1. Please write your name. Include the following: Surname/Family name, Given name            Title (optional).  What would you like to be called by your crewmates (f not your given name)?

2. Please write your postal address complete with postal code and country and denote whether the address is: Home, Work,          School, or Other (please specify)

3. Do you have US citizenship, permanent resident status, a US visa that will remain enforce through May 2016 ,or will you aquire a tourist or other visa in order to visit ?

4. Please list your email address.


5. Please give us your telephone number.  Please include the country code if the number rings outside the US or Canada


6. Please give us your date of birth as day month year, e.g. 16 July 1984


7. Are you applying as:  an individual applicant or as part of a self-organized team?  Please list the name of your self-organized team’s name, if applicable.  Are you applying as a student or as a professional.  If applying as a student, you will need to show proof of current registration prior to your arrival at MDRS. 

8. Please enter the dates of the rotations (listed below) that you are available to serve on a MDRS crew.

NOTE: Select as many rotations as you possibly can; the more flexible you can be, the higher your chances of being placed on a team and/or getting your preferred rotation.  The Mars Society may not fill all available time slots.

In addition, we also welcome applications for one week, three weeks or four week rotations.  Please indicate if you would like an alternation rotation length and the dates you would like us to consider.

 Potential rotation dates for the 2015-2016 are:

(Please note that all rotations begin with arrival at MDRS on Saturday morning and end with departure on Sunday morning two weeks later.  All crews are required to spend one overlapping day with the new crew for handover.  No exceptions)

Please add any optional comments or explanations concerning your available dates. 


NOTE: Crew rotation numbers are tentative and may change Depending on crew assignment.


Oct 24 – Nov 8, 2015— Crew 156—Engineering/refit rotation.  All applicants must be members of the MDRS Engineering Team or another Mission Support team.  This will be a working rotation, done in simulation, and applicants accepted to this rotation will have their fees waived for the rotation.


Nov 7- 15, 2015— Crew 157—Wilderness Medical Society Crew (No applications accepted for this rotation)


Nov 14 – 29, 2015—Crew 158


Nov 28 – Dec 13, 2015—Crew 159


Dec 12 -27, 2015—Crew 160


Dec 26, 2015 – Jan 10, 2016—Crew 161


Jan 9 – 24, 2016—Crew 162


Jan 23-Feb 7, 2016—Crew 163


Feb 2-21, 2016—Crew 164


Feb 20- Mar 6, 2015—Crew 165


Mar 5- 20, 2016—Crew 166


Mar 19- Apr 3, 2016—Crew 167


Apr 2-17, 2015—Crew 168


Apr 16- May1, 2015—Crew 169


Apr 30- May 14, 2016—Crew 170—Priority for this crew will applicants who served on Crews 1-70.  Fees will be waived for those veteran MDRS crewmembers who are accepted on this crew. 

9. Please list your ILR level of English language proficiency according to the self-assessment at


Elementary  1   2   3   4   5   Native/Bilingual



10. Do you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies?  If so, please describe.  If not, please enter “none”. 


11.Do you have a driver’s license valid in the US?


12. If you have served on a space analog crew or long-term expedition crew in the past, please describe your experience.  Specify the facility or location, the duration of your mission, the number of crewmembers serving with you, and your role in the mission.


13. For safety reasons, MDRS crew members must be physically fit enough to perform outdoor work in cold and/or hot conditions wearing heavy mock space suits. They must have sufficient fine motor skill for typical hand writing and typing tasks, and sufficient (corrected) visual and hearing acuity for independent (non-assisted) participation in all aspects of the crew's work and communications. Please choose one of the responses - if you choose the second, and are otherwise qualified to join a crew, one of our flight surgeons or managers will contact you to answer your questions and discuss your situation.   Please write the following statement that applies to you on your application:


·       I attest that I am sufficiently able-bodied to do all of these things.

·       I am unsure about my fitness level, sight or hearing, and would like to discuss my situation with a flight surgeon or one of the MDRS management team.


14. MDRS is located at least 45 minutes from the nearest emergency medical service and about 2.5 hours from the nearest full service hospital.  If you are accepted, we will ask you to complete a medical history form for your flight surgeon's reference.  If you have a major health condition that could impact your stay at MDRS (e.g. diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, cardiovascular disease, blood clots, mental illness, autoimmune disease, major allergies or substance abuse issues), or have a history of any of these health conditions including heart attack or stroke, we will ask you to obtain clearance from your physician before participating at MDRS and to discuss your situation privately with one of our flight surgeons before accepting you to a crew. Please write the following statement that applies to you on the application:


·       I attest that I do not have, and have no history of, any of the above-mentioned health conditions.

·       I would like to discuss my situation with one of the MDRS flight surgeons.


15. Crews at MDRS live in close physical proximity to each other.  If you carry a communicable disease which can be passed from person to person in a normal living environment (e.g. tuberculosis, Hepatitis C) we expect you to discuss your situation with the flight surgeons. If you select the second option, and are otherwise qualified to join a crew, one of our flight surgeons will contact you.  Please write the following statement which applies to you on your application.


·       I attest that I do not carry any communicable diseases.

·       I would like to discuss my situation with one of the MDRS flight surgeons.


16.  There are a number of scholarships available for crewmembers this field season.  Please indicate those for which you are qualified and would like to be considered (See scholarship information document for more information):


·       Mission Support Scholarship

·       Field Science Scholarship

·       Engineering Scholarship

·       Artist-in- Residence Scholarship

·       Work Study Scholarship

·       Engineering Team Scholarship (Crew 156 only)

·       Veteran of MDRS Scholarship (Crew 170 only)

·       Emerging Space Leaders Scholarship (available only to those who successfully completed the Emerging Space Leaders program at MDRS last season)





On pages two and three of your application, please write a personal statement that addresses each of the following areas:


a) Read over the skill sets for the crew positions in a typical MDRS crew on the webpage and decide which ones are best suited to your skills, experience and interests. Roles include commander, executive officer, health and safety officer, crew engineer, GreenHab officer, crew geologist, crew biologist, crew astronomer, crew scientist, journalist.  If you are applying as a professional artist in residence, please indicate this.  List the positions for which you are qualified to serve and rank them in order of preference.  Please do not apply for a position for which you are not qualified. If you are applying as a team, please list only that role for which you have been assigned in that team.  If you are applying as both part of a team and as an individual, please indicate this in your answer to this question.  Briefly describe your qualifications/training for each position and your interest in serving in each one. (250-500 words) 


CHANGE FOR 2015-2016 FIELD SEASON: Professionals may indicate their preference for a crew role other than those listed above.  However, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide evidence that they are qualified for this role and also that a significant part of their work at MDRS will reflect this role.  It is at the discretion of the Crew Selection Committee to grant titles other than those listed above. 


b) Describe any special skills or expertise that you have that would make you a particularly valuable member of a MDRS crew.  In particular: medical, first-aid, or emergency-response training; construction, home-repair, computer/electronics troubleshooting, cooking, plant care; experience in field research, living in wilderness/remote settings, extreme environments, or aerospace projects; leadership experience especially in settings involving physical danger or ambitious goals. (250-500 words)


c) Tell us why you want to spend two weeks on a crew at MDRS conducting a Mars analog simulation. Describe the interests, ambitions and values that led you here to apply for this position. Discuss how you expect the MDRS experience to change you or help you change the world.  Finally, tell us about the personal qualities and experiences that make you a great candidate for a MDRS mission. (250-500 words)



To complete your application, please attach the following as the final page(s) of your application:

a) a resumé or curriculum vitae  including names and addresses of three references.  If you are a student, one of your references must be an academic mentor.  If you are part of a team with an external director, he/she must be one of your references. 

b) a one page summary of all research (scientific and engineering), outreach, education and media activities you will be proposing for your stay at MDRS. 


Please email your completed application as a word document (no pdf’s please) to

You may also attach a team proposal to your application, as long as we also receive a separate completed application for all applicants.

On to Mars!