The Occupy Mars Learning Adventure

Training Jr. Astronauts, Scientists & Engineers

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Getting to Grow Plants on Mars

Mars-660414.jpgStudents in the Australia, USA and the Republic of Cabo Verde are working with the Barboza Space Center in Long Beach, California, to grow food for Mars.   We are sending special modified seed to all members of our new international STEM space science team. We are all working on the Occupy Mars Learning Adventures.   This is project-based learning for international high school students.  Our students are forming Tiger Teams dedicated to growing food for astronauts.


Can super seeds survive on Mars?   We are going to run a series of tests on Earth and you can follow our progress on this website.



We had a chance to travel to France to learn how to grow potatoes.  We took what we learned and started to experiment with potatoes in California.   Our goal is to continue our test in Australia and Cabo Verde.



We are growing beans for our good friends in Russia.  Our dream is to conduct these experiments aboard the International Space Station.


All of our plants are growing under controlled conditions and our working on robots doing the watering.


IMG_3748 2.jpglettuce.jpgOur goals include our portable science labs that are dedicated to monitoring plant growth on Earth.  Once our beta testing is complete we will start the Mars simulations.


How can our robots help with taking care of our plants on Earth and on Mars?   You can follow our progress by following space science blogs.


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Who want to train like an astronaut?


Call for Volunteers for Sirius Mission

The Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP), jointly with Human Research Program NASA (HRP NASA), will be conducting an extended duration lunar mission simulation at its facility in Moscow in 2019 and 2020. The mission, known as Sirius, will involve a crew of six, including three Russians and three non-Russians. IBMP has  asked the Mars Society to recruit the three non-Russian crew members.

The mission duration will be four months during 2019 and eight months in 2020. Crew members will need to be available for both. IBMP will provide lodging and meals for the volunteer subjects during quarantine before the mission and during the simulation itself. There will be no salary or expenses paid by IBMP, so volunteers will either need to be self-funded or backed by resources from their own institutions or universities.

Candidates should be engineers, biologists or doctors or offer substantial skills in one or more of these areas. Further details about the mission are available at: and in the mission script [click here].

If you wish to apply to be part of the Sirius crew, please send your resume and a cover letter explaining your reason for applying to: Please include your dates of availability, your language skills and make clear any limits you might have in the areas of diet or health.  The deadline for applicants is July 31, 2018.

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Explore Mars: Humans to Mars 2030

Explore Mars, Inc.
Committed to Human Exploration of Mars by the 2030s

Register for the Largest Human Exploration of Mars Event on this Planet!

Congratulations NASA, Lockheed Martin, and United Launch Alliance for the successful launch of the Mars InSight Lander!

Explore Mars, Inc. congratulates NASA, Lockheed Martin, and United Launch Alliance for the successful launch of the Mars InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) Lander!When InSight lands on the Martian surface in November 2018, it will examine the interior of the planet to further our understanding of the formation of terrestrial planets as well as analyze tectonic activity and meteorite impacts on Mars. The mission will also carry seismic equipment to attempt to detect quakes on another planet for the first time.

According to Explore Mars President Artemis Westenberg, “The launch was as punctual as a Japanese train or a Swiss watch, and showcases American success in sending robotic missions to the Red Planet. This bodes well for the experience we are acquiring necessary to send humans to Mars 15 years from now. ”

Updates on InSight and other Mars missions will be provided at the upcoming Humans to Mars Summit ( on May 8-10, 2018 in Washington, DC.

NASA Administrator Calls Centers on Successful InSight Launch

NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, left, speaks with Vandenberg Air Force Base over the phone, with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, to congratulate them on the successful launch of NASA’s InSight spacecraft Saturday, May 5, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander designed to study the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.

Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)  Source: NASA HQ PHOTO (Flickr)

Register to Hear NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Wednesday May 9th at H2M 2018!
Athena Brensberger aka @Astroathens Visits Vandenberg Air Force Base, Tours NASA Mission Control, The Weather Squadron, Western Range Operations Control Center at 30th Space Wing & More!

Athena Brensberg, known as her social media prowess @Astroathens attended the launch site of NASA’s Mars Insight Lander at Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of the NASA Social team covering all launch activities up though lift off and payload deployment.

Upon arrival, Athena provided an overview of what those launch activities would be, in a general synopsis you can view HERE, where she details who will be include in the NASA TV press briefing she would be in the audience for, and extrapolates upon the critical instruments necessary to perform nominally and gather invaluable scientific data about the interior of Mars. Brensberger breaks down the various aspects of the mission which make the InSight mission so exciting, which you can read via her blog at

Athena @Astroathens Brensberger is an international model and science host with a background in astrophysics and creative arts. Her mission is to bridge the gap between entertainment and science and is a vocal and visible proponent of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

The featured videos above follow Athena as she takes part in the NASA Social activities with mission specialists and scientists on-site explaining various instruments and vial components of InSight; experiences a virtual reality (VR) demo of NASA’s OnSight software, revealing just how immersive and informative the virtual world can enlighten scientists here on Earth through data obtained from the Mars Science Laboratory, or, Curiosity rover. Athena was then briefed by Lockheed Martin on the historical significance of NASA’s InSight mission with respect to previous incomplete and successful attempts to reach Mars, whether in orbit or at the surface. In the second vlog episode, Athena tours the Atlas V rocket itself, developed and manufactured by United Launch Alliance (ULA), whose Centaur upper stage is escorted to space by Aerojet Rocketdyne’s powerful RL10C-1 engine.

We thank Athena for her support of Explore Mars and although she cannot physically attend, Athena will be virtually taking part in the Humans To Mars Summit, where she’s one of our esteemed panel guests for ‘Engage & Educate: How Social Media Amplifies Awareness and Support for the Journey to Mars Missions’ taking place on Day 3 from 11:30AM – 12:15PM EST

NASA TV To Webcast Day Two Opening Keynote Delivered By NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine

Newly appointed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will deliver the Opening Keynote at Humans To Mars Summit 2018 from 8:35AM EST to 9:55AM EST in the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University on May 9, 2018. NASA will be featuring the keynote on NASA TV, and/or the NASA App.

Film screenings, speaker lunches, and all the Secondary events Now Open for Registration, space is limited so register today!

Onsite Evening Reception, May 8th, 5:45 pm to 7:30 pm, City View Room

Join us for marvelous views of the DC monuments from the roof terrace of the beautiful City View Room at GWU where our opening reception will take place. Light hors d’ouevres*, beer, wine and other soft beverages will be served. This reception will also feature a special rum tasting that will be offered by Washington, DC distillery, Cotton & Reed. The reception will provide a pleasant break between the daytime sessions and our evening film screening.

There is no cost for this event, but it is open only to those who have paid for full conference registration, designated sponsor attendees, and invited guests.  This event is not open to Student attendees or those purchasing less than a full three-day registration.

There are only 100 tickets available, so you must register for this event in advance, no later than Friday, May 4. There will NOT be an opportunity to sign up on-site.

Join us May 8th at 8:00 pm for the D.C. premiere of Seat 25 at The George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, part of the Humans to Mars Summit 2018.

Nicholas Agnew is a director, writer, composer, and actor. Trained as an actor and still working extensively in film, television, and theatre,  Agnew’s recent credits include the feature films Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Lost City of Z, the television series Victoria, and the newly successful and award-winning science fiction film Seat 25. Having built up a wealth of experience in front of the camera, Agnew has made the move into directing. Pairing his understanding of performance with an exceptional technical team, Nick hopes this will be the beginning of a long future making films.

Madelaine Cooke began writing for theatre while simultaneously training as an actress. In 2015 she began working on her first feature length screenplay. Cooke co-founded the production company Lagom Pictures and teamed up with Nicholas Agnew to produce and write the science fiction film Seat 25.

Register for the Largest Human Exploration of Mars Event on this Planet!
Speaker Lunch, May 9th, 12:30 pm, Continental Ballroom, Marvin Center

What better way to have a frank and open discussion with your fellow space protagonists than to join them for lunch?  Our luncheon keynote speaker is Jeffrey Manber, the CEO and Co-Founder of Nanoracks, a market leader in commercial in-space services.  We will also be joined by special guest, David Blackmore, the brand ambassador for Ardbeg scotch whisky, who has arranged for us to do a “scotch toast” with Ardbeg.  Once again, we will be serving Olsen Pinotage (red wine) which is produced by private astronaut, Greg Olsen at his vineyard in South Africa.

This luncheon is a very popular event at H2M and usually sells out completely in advance of the conference.

The cost of this event is $60.00/person.

There are only 75 tickets available, so you must register for this event in advance, no later than Friday, May 4. There will NOT be an opportunity to sign up on-site.

Offsite Evening Reception, May 9th, 6:30 pm, National Academy of Sciences

Be our guest in the elegant and beautiful Great Hall at the National Academy of Sciences building. A selection of heavy hors-d’oeuvres* will be served, with wine, beer and soft beverages available at the bar.  For the fourth time, the reception will feature the popular Ardbeg single malt Scotch whisky tasting, featuring Ardbeg brand ambassador, David Blackmore.

The cost of this event is $75.00/person.

There are only 75 tickets available, so you must register for this event in advance, no later than Friday, May 4. There will NOT be an opportunity to sign up on-site.

Congressional Briefing Panel, May 10th, 2:00 pm, Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253

Following the close of regular H2M Summit programming, Explore Mars will present a special panel discussion entitled, Innovating Toward Mars”. Moderated by student space advocate, Abigail “Astronaut Abby” Harrison, this panel will discuss the findings of the 2018 Humans to Mars Report, as well as present an overview of the proceedings of the 5th Achievability and Sustainability of Human Exploration of Mars Workshop (AM V).  This panel will also feature discussions of STEM education innovations and exciting advancements in such technologies as virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence.

Panelists include:

Moderator: Abigail “Astronaut Abby” Harrison (Board Chair at The Mars Generation)
Joe Cassady (Executive Director, Space, Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Peggy Wu (Associate Director, Human Machine Interaction, United Technology Corp.)
Chris Codella (IBM Distinguished Engineer, CTO Government Cognitive Computing, IBM)

Light snacks will be served at this event.

There is no charge for admission, but attendance is limited to 75 people and you must sign up in advance.  This includes designated sponsor attendees.

Join us May 10th at 7:00 pm for the Landmark Theater Film Screening and Panel, Fight for Space“FIGHT FOR SPACE” is a documentary film that asks, why haven’t we gone back to the Moon, or sent humans to Mars? Weren’t we supposed to be there in the 80s? What lead to the decline of NASA’s budget and why is it stuck in low earth orbit?

Filmed over the course of 4 years, Fight for Space is the product of thousands of Kickstarter supporters who believed that the exploration of space is worth fighting for. Over 60 interviews were conducted with astronauts, politicians, educators, historians, scientists, former NASA officials, commercial space entrepreneurs, and many other experts in the space community. It is a film like no other that tackles issues no other documentary have touched, featuring newly restored 35mm and 16mm footage from the National Archives NASA collection.

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New NASA Probe Headed for Mars: InSight Lander

By  – Reporter, Denver Business Journal

NASA’s next space probe headed to Mars — a lander built in Jefferson County and launched on a Colorado rocket — may soon start its journey Saturday after two years of waiting.

The Mars InSight lander, built by Lockheed Martin Space, is scheduled to lift off before dawn.

NASA originally scheduled the $828.8 million mission to blast off two-and-a-half years ago. A problem with a seismic instrument, built by France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), prompted NASA to postpone launching InSight until the next time Mars’s orbit aligned with earth’s for an optimal flight.

The planets come into that alignment this week, making 4:05 a.m. Saturday the start of the first two-hour window that will work for liftoff.

“We’ve never really had a situation like this,” said Stu Spath, director of deep space programs for Lockheed Space and who oversaw the InSight project. “It’s good to get on top of the rocket, and everything is looking good.”

The InSight spacecraft and launch teams are ready. However, Air Force forecasts show an 80 percent chance of coastal fog heavy enough to scrub the pre-dawn launch due to poor visibility. If fog forces more waiting, there are other launch times that will work to launch InSight prior to June 6.

The Mars InSight lander, formally called the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport, is designed to land and then drill nearly 16 feet beneath the Martian surface and monitor the subsurface temperature. Other instruments will take surface seismic readings.

The mission is expected to yield new information about the red planet’s interior — such as the composition of its core — and its geological processes.

Lockheed Martin Space led construction on the multi-national mission. The company, which has been a key player on seven previous NASA Mars missions, won the $425 million contract to build InSight in 2012.

The probe is 8.5 feet in diameter and weighs about 400 pounds. With its heat shield and entry vehicle enveloping it, the overall Insight payload resembles the size of a very small car.

InSight will blast off atop an Atlas V rocket built by Centennial-based United Launch Alliance, which has launched all NASA planetary probes since 2006.

Around 11 a.m. Nov. 26, if all goes according to plan, InSight will descend through Mars’ atmosphere at nearly 12,000 miles per hour.

A heat shield will ward off most of the friction and slow InSight, inside its protective aeroshell, enough for parachutes to deploy and slow the craft further.

Close to Mars’s surface, the parachutes release InSight and thrusters fire to provide it a gentle five-mile-per-hour landing in the planet’s western Elysium Planitia region.

“It’s a nail-biting seven minutes,” Spath said of InSight’s descent and landing. But it’s very similar to the landing of NASA’s Phoenix lander mission to Mars in 2008, which the company oversaw. “It’ll be a nervous time, but we’ve gone through it previously and we’re confident we can do it again.”

U.S. and European space agencies built the scientific instruments that Lockheed Martin Space integrated into the InSight lander.

Since the last time it was shipped to California for its late 2015 launch, French engineers and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory redesigned a problematic vacuum seal on the lander’s key seismic instrument. The delay and repair added $153.8 million to the original cost of the mission, according to NASA.

InSight’s replacement seismic instrument was installed, integrated and tested extensively at Lockheed’s campus in Colorado before sending the lander back to California in February.

A team of 25 Lockheed Martin Space employees have been with the lander there for three months, and another 25 traveled there this week for InSight’s launch.

Getting the spacecraft on its way to Mars will be a big deal for the company.

About 150 people worked on the probe at the height of assembly activity, and well over 1,000 employees there will have a hand in the mission over the six years it has been in development, Spath said.

InSight will be the first interplanetary probe to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. All others have launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The preparation for this week’s launch date has been different from two years ago, Spath said.

In 2016, Lockheed Martin Space teams weren’t familiar with the West Coast launch site. And then there was the problem instrument and the possibility of integrating the new one at the launch site to keep InSight on schedule.

“We knew things were coming in late, and things were pretty frantic closing in on the 2016 launch,” Spath recalled. “This go-around, it’s been much more tempered.”

Once InSight leaves earth, a team from Lockheed’s Waterton campus will monitor and spacecraft from Colorado and make any adjustments needed for its flight.

The same crew will oversee InSight’s flight down through the Martian atmosphere and its time on Mars soil, too. It’s a “cradle-to-grave” job to make sure InSight is operating healthily, Spath said. That’s designed to be 728 earth days on the red planet, but will continue until NASA decides InSight’s job is done.

It will be the seventh space probe managed from the company’s spacecraft operation’s center.