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Crew 134

MARS TEAM UK [United Kingdom]

ASHLEY DALE, Crew Commander
Ashley Dale is reading a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol, expected to graduate at the beginning of 2015. He also advocates space through popular science writing, public speaking, and relevant research.

With an unlikely background, Ashley was born in Namibia to South African parents, and spent the first few years of his life among the San Bushman. His formal education was lacking through childhood, but he spent much of his early life immersed in the natural world – from the red sands of Kalahari Desert to the sub-tropical rainforests of the Amatola Mountains. Ashley’s has subsequently lived in Los Angeles, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

Ashley’s work is wide-ranging. In the last year he has developed radiation mitigation strategies for astronauts in deep-space with Inspiration Mars; advised senior NASA figures on strategies for protecting civilisation from the effects of a solar super-storm; written several papers for his Ph.D. regarding the development of future ‘green’ aircraft morphing wing technologies; and has conducted a solo-hiking expedition through the high-arctic archipelago of Svalbard, conducting biological research on floral pollinators. He has also taught university classes on topics ranging from rocket engine nozzle design to helicopter rotor blade vibration.

SUSAN JEWELL, MD: Crew Executive Officer, Health Safety Officer

Susan Jewell, MD is an avid believer in the need for humans to establish a permanent, multi-generational colony on Mars. A medical doctor by education, she has devoted the past two years to advancing her skills and experience in off-world medical training and related psychological studies.

Susan has trained as a space medicine physician-scientist (NASA Johnson Space Center and University of Texas Medical Branch: Aviation & Space Medicine Program), STEM educator and a biomedical engineer. Her research focus is in Human Space Exploration, Survival and Colonization of off-world planets. Susan is currently training to become a commercial astronaut for low earth orbit (LEO) with the long-term goal to be one of the first to Mars.

Susan is a member of Wilderness Medical Society’s Fellow Diploma program, was first-tier support team in NASA Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue Simulation project. In August of 2012 she spoke at the Mars Society 16th International Convention, SEDS-USA, SpaceVision2013, and SpaceUp-LA.

Dr Jewell is the Founder of the International Space Surgery Consortium (ISSC), a collaboration of surgeons, anesthesiologists, space medicine physicians-scientists and researchers from UCSF, Stanford, Ohio Univ, McGill Univ (Canada), Microgravity Center (Brazil), Lille Hospital (France) and advisers from international space agencies, both commercial and governmental. The mission and goal is to provide a platform for ongoing research efforts in space surgery and space medicine and to improve safety of space travel, exploration and future colonization of Mars.

Susan has appeared on CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC as a health expert.


Vibha grew up in India. She nurtured the dream of becoming an Astronaut from an early stage of her childhood. Her family has always been her major support in her every decision. She completed her Bachelor’s in Aeronautical Engineering from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Technology, Vasad, Gujarat University in 2007 with a gold medal from the university. She received first prize for a presentation in her first year of engineering (2004) on a planned mission to Mars by NASA in a national level Techfeset. 

After Bachelor’s degree, she was qualified for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, one of Asia’s largest aerospace companies, under Ministry of Defence of India. She is currently working at the post of Deputy Manager (Design) in the Aerodynamics group of Aircraft Research and Design Center Division in Bangalore, India.

She pursued a Masters degree in Space Studies from International Space University in Strasbourg, France and graduated in 2013 on a study leave of one year.

Mars was always a fascination but during her Masters at ISU, she developed interest in studying and seeking new technologies to make in-situ resource utilization feasible for human missions to Mars.

During her internship under the Masters program at NASA Ames, she has developed an experimental set up at Planetary Systems Branch to extract the in-situ resource water from the Martian surface soil, on which she also presented a paper in International Astronautical Congress, 2013. She will use the same experiment set up to extract water and collect hydrogen from it at MDRS in Utah Desert.

She considers the opportunity to visit MDRS as a very valuable experience to understand the demands from a crew member and the responsibilities of a crew member for the success of a long term mission.


Michaela Musilova’s primary interest is in extremophiles, organisms that live in extreme environments. Similar life could potentially be found on other planetary bodies, such as Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa. Thus, they are very important for astrobiology – the study of life in the universe.

Michaela first came across extremophiles at University College London (UCL), where she completed an MSci Planetary Science degree with First Class Honours. Fueled by her interest for these extraordinary creatures, she wrote a proposal for her master’s project on this subject and received several scholarships from the university to complete it. Michaela was also able to study a wide variety of extreme organisms while studying at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) on a scholarship, as a competitively selected exchange student.

Pursuing the engaging topic of extremophiles and its implications for life on Mars, she applied for and was awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Furthermore, to better understand the habitats of extremophiles, she prepared a project aiming to simulate lunar and planetary surfaces. Michaela received a Nuffield Foundation grant for this study and it was made part of a joint NASA/ESA MoonLite project collaboration. For more experience in space exploration research, she volunteered to search for and help identify extra-solar planets as part of an extracurricular research project at the University of London Observatory.

Michaela is currently working as a PhD research student at the University of Bristol. Originally from Slovakia, Michaela’s dream is to contribute to NASA’s and ESA’s search for life in the greater Universe.

SUE ANN SEAH: Crew Engineer

Sue Ann was born in Malaysia where she spent her childhood and teenage years growing up in a tropical climate. She then moved to the UK for her degree in Electronic Engineering and stayed ever since. She is currently a researcher in human-computer interaction (HCI) within the Bristol Interaction and Graphics Lab (BIG) at the University of Bristol.

Her research interests are in exploring different types of multi-sensory interfaces with a specific interest in haptics: understanding how the sensation of touch functions and how we can re-create the feeling of textures or objects through an interface. One of the projects she is currently working on, Ultrahaptics, can create the sensation of 3D objects in mid-air using ultrasound. As a space suit creates a barrier between the astronaut and the environment, prohibiting full immersion into their surroundings, Sue Ann is interested in the current limitations of how astronauts interact with the environment and how those interactions may be improved.

The long-term goal is to design a space suit layer that is the perfect interface between astronauts and unknown environments: the suit protects humans from hostile world but also transmits necessary information in the inside in order to help astronauts discern various surface textures, the temperature of objects, even the smell of their surroundings, thus allowing them to better understand the unexplored world. This is particularly crucial with respect to future, long-term missions.

Sue Ann has always been fascinated with space travel and is very excited with plans to send humans to Mars in ten years. She is a keen sailor who loves navigating through unknown waters and visiting new places, and has experienced living in a compact space with others for a week in various weather conditions.

EWAN REID: Crew Engineer

Ewan has degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics from Queen’s University where he also played four seasons of rugby including tours to Ireland and Argentina. Ewan is currently the Rover Power and Electrical Systems lead at Neptec Design Group and responsible for the concept development, design, AIT and operations of power and electrical subsystems for robotic planetary vehicle applications. Ewan completed the International Space University's Space Studies program in the summer of 2013.

In the summer of 2012 Ewan supported a NASA/CSA lunar mission simulation on the slopes of Mauna Kea Hawaii manning the ROVER support console while answering directly to the mission’s Flight Director. Previously he was a systems and electrical designer and operations engineer for Neptec’s Laser Camera System. In this capacity Ewan supported nine of the last 12 Space Shuttle missions at Mission Control at NASA JSC. He also conducted numerous testing and verification activities at NASA KSC. He started his professional career in the field of computer vision working on the design and operations teams for the Space Vision System (SVS). SVS was deployed on the Space Shuttle and was the primary astronaut cue for Internal Space Station assembly operations.

Ewan enjoys outdoor sports including hiking, paddling, skiing and surfing and has played competitive Ultimate for several years, including participation in the World Club Championships in Prague in 2011. During the winter Ewan volunteered as an outdoor rink operator in downtown Ottawa.

KAI STAATS, Documentary Film Maker

Former software developer and supercomputing architect, writer and documentary film maker Kai Staats will join MarsCrew 134 for the duration of the Jan-Feb. 2014 mission to capture living and working in the MDRS analog environment.

Building upon Kai's ten years experience in working with leading scientists and researchers across the United States, Kai has returned to his passion for science as a storyteller, capturing the curiosity, passion and drive of those who work a lifetime to better understand the inner workings of the universe around them.

Kai's recent work in film includes "The Explorers," a feature length documentary about the passion for learning invoked by astronomy. In May 2013, Kai worked with the South African Astronomical Observatory to tell the story of the team which provided live footage of the passing of Asteroid 1998 QE2. "Monitor Gray" is a short sci-fi which raises the dilemma of near-future bio-engineering versus free will. In November 2013, Kai's production firm Over the Sun was contracted by CalTech to produce a short documentary film about LIGO, the world's most sophisticated gravitational wave detector.

In February 2014, Kai will move to Cape Town, South Africa to earn his Master's degree in Applied Mathematics. His proposed research project is the construction of a mathematical model for scalable, bio-regenerative systems for off-world human colonization.

Kai will work with MarsCrew 134 to produce a short film for a Kickstarter campaign and then a documentary which shares the science, passion and motivation uniting researchers from across the world in Mars simulations.
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