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MDRS Crew Application for 2014-2015 Field Season

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 member of a team, please read the following guidelines for self-organized crews and meet them as much as possible.  In addition, both individual applicants and team should review the crew documents on the MDRS website as they will assist in the application process.  

Please read through this application carefully as our 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 July 1, 2014 and final deadline for consideration is September 1, 2014.  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 at the email address below 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.  Also note that self-organized crews do not have to be a team of six.  We welcome application for teams from three to six people.  In the event that you do not have a team of six, we will pair you with another team or a group of individual applicants to create a cohesive working group.  

Guidelines for self-organized crews (this also is important information for individual applicants):

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 an important activity of every crew will be field exploration.  Anyone applying as Crew Astronomer must have an astronomy background.
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.  Only one of the prospective engineers should be an IT person, and you must have a person on your crew with a strong practical engineering background.
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 in farming, gardening, greenhouse management or plant science for managing crops in the Fisher GreenHab. 
We welcome professional artists in all disciplines, including fine art, graphic art, photography, film, journalism, and writing.   We will also be organizing a special rotation this season for film students (both documentary and feature film), so if you are interested in that project, let us know.  
All should be people enthusiastic about space exploration in general, and Mars exploration in particular.
All of them must be serious, responsible, self-disciplined 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 an automobile and have a driver’s license valid in the United States.
Everyone on the crew must get along and work together well.  We encourage each self-organized crew to have 2-3 alternate crewmembers.  Alternates will need to fill out an application as well.  We may not approve an alternative crewmember after the selection process.  
Each member of the crew must understand that they need to follow orders given to them by Mars Society’s Mission Support.  The Mars Society does not direct all the crew's activities. Much of a crew’s research program, for example, will be self-generated. But when we tell a crew that 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 fifteen 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 in force through May 2015, or will you acquire 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 your self-organized team’s name, if applicable, and how many people are in the team.

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.   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.

 Potential rotation dates for the 2014-2015 are:

June 28-July 5, 2014 (Astronomy Refit crew, work study opportunity for Crew Astronomer)

Single rotation in October:  exact dates TBD (Crew 142)

One week refit, work study opportunity in October, exact dates TBD

December 6-13, 2014 (Refit crew, work study opportunity)

December 13- 28, 2014 (Crew 143)

December 27, 2014 -January 11, 2015 (Crew 144)

January 10-25, 2015 (Crew 145)

January 24- Feb 8, 2015 (Crew 146)

February 7- 22, 2015 (Crew 147)

February 21- March 8, 2015 (Crew 148)

March 7-14 (Refit crew, work study opportunity)

March 14-29, 2015 (Crew 149)

March 28 - April 12, 2014 (Crew 150)

April 11-26, 2015 (Crew 151)

April 25- May 10, 2015 (Crew 152)

May 9- 17, 2015 (Crew 153)

May 16-23, 2015 (Open House, refit, work study opportunity)

Please add any optional comments or explanations concerning your available dates.  If you are far from MDRS and would like to apply for a work study opportunity, make sure you select crew’s before and/or after a work study opportunity so you don’ t have to travel twice to MDRS).  

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 hike over uneven terrain and 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 below - 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 participate in all aspect of work at  MDRS.
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.  The physical stresses of the MDRS experience (travel fatigue, jet lag, heat, cold, low humidity, vigorous physical activity, unfamiliar diet, and for astronomers, inadequate sleep) can pose challenges for healthy people and can exacerbate certain medical conditions.   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:

Mission Support Scholarship
Field Science Scholarship
Engineering Scholarship
Artist-in- Residence Scholarship
Work Study Scholarship


On page two- 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 (XO), 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. If you are applying as a member of a team, please list only that role for which you have been assigned in that team.  If you are applying both as 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)

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) 

d) One of the main differences between MDRS and other Mars Analog programs is the aspect of the simulation (sim).  It is important that applicants understand that while they are at MDRS they will be expected to operate in their daily activities as if they were on Mars.  Briefly explain your understanding of what a sim should be and your vision of your daily life at MDRS.  Remember that in a simulation you function as you would if you were on Mars, and so you will need to pace yourself and conduct your crew accordingly. (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.  Remember that the priorities at MDRS are SAFETY, SIM, SCIENCE, PUBLIC RELATIONS/OUTREACH, and COMFORT, and keep them in mind while you are planning your rotation.  


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

Deadline for applications is July 1, 2014 for priority assignments.  September 1, 2014 is the final application date for consideration to participate during this field season.  

On to Mars!