Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station

The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) is the first of two simulated Mars habitats (or Mars Analog Research Stations) located on Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada, which is owned and operated by the Mars Society. The station is a member of the EU-INTERACT, circumarctic network of currently 89 terrestrial field bases located in northern Europe, Russia, US, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Scotland as well as stations in northern alpine areas. [1] [2]

Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
The completed exterior of the station on July 26, 2000. From left to right are Joe Amarualik, Joannie Pudluk, John Kunz, Frank Schubert, Matt Smola, Bob Nesson and Robert Zubrin.
The completed exterior of the station on July 26, 2000. From left to right are Joe Amarualik, Joannie Pudluk, John Kunz, Frank Schubert, Matt Smola, Bob Nesson and Robert Zubrin.
Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station is located in Canada
Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
Coordinates: 75°25′52.75″N 089°49′24.19″W / 75.4313194°N 89.8233861°W / 75.4313194; -89.8233861Coordinates: 75°25′52.75″N 089°49′24.19″W / 75.4313194°N 89.8233861°W / 75.4313194; -89.8233861
RegionQikiqtaaluk Region
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)


Devon Island and surroundings. Haughton crater also shown
Devon island view

The station is located on Devon Island, a Mars analog environment and polar desert, approximately 165 kilometres (103 mi) north east of the hamlet of Resolute in Nunavut, Canada. The station is situated on Haynes Ridge, overlooking the Haughton impact crater, a 23 km (14 mi) diameter crater formed approximately 39 million years ago (late Eocene).[3] The location is approximately 1,609 km (1,000 mi; 869 nmi) from the Geographic North Pole and approximately 1,287 km (800 mi; 695 nmi) from the Magnetic North Pole.[citation needed]

FMARS is the first research station of its kind to be built, completed in the summer of 2000.[citation needed]

Operated by the non-profit Mars Society, the station's mission is to help develop key knowledge needed to prepare for human Mars exploration, and to inspire the public by making real the vision of human exploration of Mars.[4] The society uses the station to conduct geological and biological exploration under conditions similar to those found on Mars, to develop field tactics based on those explorations, to test habitat design features, tools, and technologies, and to assess crew selection protocols.[citation needed]

The project's final cost was US$1.3 million, raised through sponsorships with major companies. Flashline.com, an internet business, donated $175,000 and was granted the right to affix its name to the project. Other major sponsors included the Kirsch Foundation, the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space (FINDS) and the Discovery Channel (which purchased exclusive English-language TV rights to the station's activities for the first two years).[5]

The FMARS project is one of four stations originally planned by the Mars Society as part of the Mars Analog Research Station Program. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) began operation in 2002 in southern Utah. Stations to be built in Europe (European Mars Analog Research Station / EuroMARS) and Australia (Australia Mars Analog Research Station / MARS-Oz) have not progressed beyond the planning stages.[citation needed]

Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS). Panorama taken in July 2009.

Establishment of the stationEdit

The establishment of a human Mars exploration analog research station on Devon Island was first proposed by Pascal Lee in April 1998. The station was officially selected as the Mars Society's first project at the society's Founding Convention in August 1998.[5]

The station was designed by architect Kurt Micheels and design engineer Wayne Cassalls in coordination with Robert Zubrin and numerous Mars Society volunteers.[5]

Kurt Micheels and Robert Zubrin conducted a scouting expedition to Devon Island as part of the 1999 field season of NASA's Haughton Mars Project (HMP), in order to gain the information needed to plan operations and to determine an optimum site for station construction. An appropriate site was selected on a ridge overlooking the Haughton crater, which was named Haynes Ridge by Robert Zubrin in honor of the late Professor Robert Haynes of York University, a founding member of the Mars Society and seminal thinker on issues concerning the terraforming of Mars. Following this scouting expedition, Kurt Micheels was selected as the station's project manager.[5]

The station's structure was fabricated between January 2000 and June 2000 by Infrastructures Composites International (Infracomp) under the direction of John Kunz, using a unique type of fiberglass honeycomb construction technology. The Mars Society provided Infracomp additional manpower from Mesa Fiberglass, Pioneer Astronautics and the Rocky Mountain Mars Society Chapter in order to meet the deadline for station deployment. The station's components were transported by truck to Moffett Field, California and loaded onto three C-130 aircraft operated by the U.S. Marine Corps 4th Air Delivery Battalion. The first C-130 departed Moffett Field headed for the arctic on July 1, 2000.[5]

On July 3, 2000, the three C-130s, Kurt Micheels, John Kunz, and a paid team of construction workers were in Resolute. The construction team traveled to Devon Island via Twin Otters on July 4. On July 5 the Marines conducted five successful paradrops of station components. A sixth paradrop was also successful on July 8.[5]

The seventh and final paradrop, conducted on July 8, was unsuccessful. The parachute separated from the payload at an altitude of 1000 feet. The payload contained a crane for use in constructing the station, a trailer intended to transport the station sections from their landing locations to the construction site, and the fiberglass floors for the structure. All were completely destroyed.[6]

On July 12, Kurt Micheels and the construction crew left Devon Island and returned to Resolute, unable to find a way to continue station construction. Micheels later resigned as project manager on July 15.[6]

The Mars Society engaged the services of Aziz Kheraj, the owner of Resolute's South Camp Inn. He flew to Devon Island on July 12 and assessed the situation. He would go on to provide critical support, equipment and materials that allowed construction of the station to proceed.[6]

Frank Schubert, a Mars Society member who was a homebuilder by trade, had been sent to Resolute following the initial team. It was originally intended that he focus on the interior build-out of the station, but instead played a key role in erecting the structure and was appointed by Robert Zubrin as replacement project manager. He spent several days developing a new construction plan and was joined in Resolute by Zubrin on July 15. John Kunz also agreed to remain and assist the construction effort. Zubrin and Schubert flew to Devon Island later in the day on July 15. John Kunz flew back to Devon Island on July 16.[6]

On July 17 parts were obtained from Resolute that were used to construct a crude replacement trailer. Enlisting the help of volunteers from HMP and members of a Japanese TV crew, six of the wall segments were transported from their landing location within the crater to the construction site.[6]

The remainder of the habitat's components were transported to the construction site on July 18 and July 19. The existing volunteers were assisted by Joe Amarualuk and several Inuit high school students who also volunteered to help.[6]

Matt Smola, the foreman of Frank Schubert's construction company in Denver, arrived on Devon Island on July 20 and assisted with station construction.[6]

The station's wall sections were raised to vertical and connected to each other July 20 through July 22. The floors of the station were constructed out of wood and assembled on July 23 and July 24. The dome roof of the station was assembled July 24, 25 and 26th. This completed the exterior construction of the station.[6]

Individuals from HMP, the Discovery Channel film team and a number of journalists on-site assisted with the interior build-out of the station, which was only partially completed. Finishing touches of the interior build-out would occur the following year.[6]

A red, green and blue Martian tricolor flag was raised on the 28th atop the station.[6]

An inauguration ceremony took place at 9PM on the 28th. Every human being on the island attended. This included approximately fifty scientists, Inuit, and journalists. Several individuals spoke. Robert Zubrin gave the concluding remarks and dedicated the station to those whose cause it will ultimately serve, a people who are yet to be, the pioneers of Mars. The station was christened by smashing a bottle of Canadian sparkling wine against it.[6]

The first set of the station's wall panels are erected on July 20, 2000.
Volunteers use a scaffold to erect the walls of the station on July 21, 2000.
The station's roof dome arch is formed on July 25, 2000.
Robert Zubrin gives a speech at the commissioning of the station on July 28, 2000.
2000 FMARS Patch.

A symbolic first crew occupied the station the night of the 28th and during the day on the 29th. It consisted of Pascal Lee, Marc Boucher, Frank Schubert, Charles Cockell, Bob Nesson and Robert Zubrin.[6]

Frank Schubert, Matt Smola and Robert Zubrin left Devon Island on the afternoon of the 29th.[6]

A shakedown crew then occupied the station for four days. It was commanded by Dr. Carol Stoker, and included Larry Lemke, Bill Clancey, Darlene Lim, Marc Boucher, and Bob Nesson. The crew used a prototype Mars space suit supplied by Hamilton Sundstrand to conduct several EVAs, communications were established with the Mission Support group in Denver, and a list of items for correction, installation or improvement were identified with the habitat and its systems. This crew left Devon Island on August 4.[7]

A much more detailed account of the establishment of the station can be found in the book "Mars on Earth: The Adventures of Space Pioneers in the High Arctic" by Robert Zubrin.


Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station Management:[8]

  • Dr. Robert Zubrin, President, The Mars Society
  • James Burk, Executive Director, The Mars Society
  • Joe Palaia, Mission Director
  • Michael Stoltz, Liaison, Media Relations
  • Susan Holden Martin, MBA, J.D., EU-Interact Station Manager

The Mars Society sends researchers to live and work at the station typically for one month during the arctic summer. Each of these expeditions consists of a crew of between 6 and 7 individuals. Typically 1 to 2 months prior to departing for the Canadian Arctic, the crew gathers for an initial face-to-face meeting and training session in Colorado. Departing for the arctic, the crew travels by commercial airline to Resolute. There they spend a few days organizing their supplies and equipment and conducting some final training while waiting for clear weather. They then board Twin Otter aircraft for the final leg of the journey. These aircraft land on a dirt airstrip located on Devon Island near the station. The primary means of crew transportation while on the island is by All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).[9]

During the formal Mars simulation period of each expedition, it is required that any outside work be done while wearing a simulated spacesuit and that all communications are conducted by radio. Space suited crew members use a simulated airlock depress/repress procedure upon each exit and entry to the habitat. Communications between the station and off-island researchers are subject to a time delay (typically 20 minutes) which mimics that of actual radio traffic between Earth and Mars. A satellite phone is kept on-site for use in emergencies.[10]

Due to limited visibility of crew members wearing simulated spacesuits, all work outside the station is conducted with one crew member "out-of-sim".[9] It is the responsibility of this crew member to be on the lookout for, and to protect the crew from polar bears.[9] This crew member is typically armed with a pump-action shotgun loaded with slugs.[9] The crew also carries bear deterrent devices known as bear bangers.[9] No polar bears have yet been encountered by the crew of an FMARS expedition, although signs of their presence on the island are regularly seen, and at least one encounter has occurred with participants in the HMP.

Crew members are also required to write periodic reports to document conducted research, to advise on the status of engineering systems, and to capture details related to other aspects of operations. There are four reports that are typically generated, these being the Commander's Report, a Science Report, an Engineering Report and a Narrative Report. The crew transmits these reports to a Mission Support team (typically located in Colorado).[7][9]

Timeline of operationsEdit

In the first field season during the summer of 2001, six separate crews of five to seven people occupied the station and began work. From 2002 to 2013, seven crews occupied the remote outpost.

Crew 1–6 (2001) Mission Patch.


An advanced team was sent to Devon Island in April 2001 to check on the condition of the hab after the winter and to finish building out the interior. It consisted of Frank Schubert, Matt Smola, Len Smola, Greg Mungas, Pascal Lee and Joe Amarualik. The team spent one week working within the station and preparing it for the 2001 simulation field season.[7]

FMARS Crew 1, with six personnel, occupied the station from July 7, 2001 through the evening of July 10, 2001.[11]

FMARS Crew 2, with six personnel, occupied the station from the evening of July 10, 2001 through the evening of July 17, 2001.[12]

FMARS Crew 3, with seven personnel, occupied the station from the evening of July 17, 2001 through the morning of July 28, 2001.[13]

FMARS Crew 4, with six personnel, occupied the station for five days.[14]


FMARS Crew 7, with seven personnel, occupied the station from July 9, 2002 through July 26, 2002.[15]

The crew operated under full Mars simulation constraints between July 11 and July 24. In addition to conducting a systematic program of field geology and microbiology under simulated Mars mission conditions, the crew worked successfully with researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab to take the farthest-north ground-truth measurements ever obtained for the MISR instrument on the Terra Earth-observing satellite.[5]


Crew 11 (2007) Mission Patch.

FMARS Crew 8, with seven personnel, occupied the station from July 7, 2003 through July 30, 2003.[16]

The crew operated under full Mars simulation constraints between July 10 and July 29.[17]

The crew conducted an experiment that tracked their cognitive performance throughout the mission.


FMARS Crew 9 consisted of seven personnel.


FMARS Crew 10, with six personnel, occupied the station beginning on July 12, 2005.


The primary FMARS Crew 11 consisted of seven personnel and one alternate crew member. The station was prepared for the crew arrival by an advance field engineering team consisting of Paul Graham, coordinator of the Mars Society's engineering team, along with the FMARS Crew 11 Chief Engineer James Harris, and several workers from the community of Resolute. Later the advance team was joined by Matt Bamsey, with Paul and the other workers leaving shortly before the main crew's arrival.

The crew operated under full Mars simulation constraints for 100 days, ending on August 21, 2007. This quadrupled the previous record for in-situ Mars mission simulations. They also operated on the Martian 'sol' for over a month, to evaluate the effects on crew psychophysiology or mission operations.[10]

The crew conducted data collection related to a significant number of scientific studies during the course of the mission.

Crew 12 (2009) Mission Patch.

Near the end of the mission, the crew spoke with astronaut Clayton Anderson, who was at that time in orbit aboard the International Space Station.

Logistical support and research authorization for the mission was provided by the Polar Continental Shelf Project.


Two Quest Kodiaks and a Cessna 421 on the ground in Driggs, Idaho. Use of these private aircraft greatly enabled the 2013 FMARS expedition.

FMARS Crew 12, with six personnel, occupied the station from July 2, 2009 through July 28, 2009.

The crew operated under full Mars simulation constraints between July 14 and July 26. During the course of the simulation, the crew completed 16 EVAs in 43.5 hrs, traveling a distance of 128 km. This translates into a cumulative in-sim crew time of 106 man-hours and a distance of 323 km. The crew's efforts included a number of firsts for simulated Mars explorers in a Mars analog environment, including the testing of new technologies and equipment for use in robotic aerial surveying, in situ resource utilization (ISRU), geophysical measurement, medical laser treatment, image geotagging, path planning and analysis, and public communications.[18]

The start of the simulation was delayed until July 14 due to a large number of maintenance tasks and facility upgrades which could only be completed out of sim. These included construction of new secondary containment areas for fuel storage, changes to the generator shed to improve safety and functionality, installation of a SmartAsh incinerator and a grey water sump, refit and reconditioning of the simulated space suits, as well as general organization and clean-up within, under, and in the general vicinity of the station. This maintenance ensured full compliance with environmental regulations and improved both operational and aesthetic elements of the station.

Mars 160 – FMARS Crew 14 patch from 2017


FMARS Crew 13 was a station refit crew, and the mission was referred to as Phase 1 of the Mars Society's multi-stage Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) Mission. The refit crew consisted of 9 personnel.[19]

Crew members Joseph Palaia, Adam Nehr, and Justin Sumpter were in residence at the station between July 10 and July 17.[19] Crew members Garrett Edquist and Dr. Alexander Kumar were at the station between July 15 and July 16.

Crew members Jim Moore, Richard Sugden and Richard Spencer also visited Devon Island several times during this timeframe. Crew member Barry Stott remained in Yellowknife during the duration of the expedition to oversee logistics.

Of significant note, the 2013 FMARS expedition was greatly enabled, for the first time, through the use of private aircraft. Two Quest Kodiaks owned by Richard Sugden and Richard Spencer, were used to ferry materials, equipment and crew between Driggs, Idaho and Devon Island. Additionally, a Cessna 421 owned by Barry Stott was used between Driggs, Idaho and Yellowknife, NT.


The arctic portion of the Mars 160 mission concluded on September 3, 2017. Principal Investigators Dr. Shannon Rupert and Dr. Paul Sokoloff acquired permission for research on Inuit-owned land for the first time in FMARS history, allowing for more wide-reaching geology studies than have been done in the past. [20]

Dr. Alexandre Mangeot was commander of the Mars 160 mission and was joined by Yusuke Murakami (XO – Executive Officer), Dr. Jonathan Clarke (Crew Geologist), Anastasiya Stepanova (Crew Journalist), Anushree Srivastava (Crew Biologist), and Paul Knightly (Crew Geologist). They arrived at the station on July 15, 2017, and departed Devon Island in mid-August.[21]

Research and accomplishmentsEdit

Each crew establishes research and education / outreach objectives that they strive to accomplish during their time at FMARS.


The crews in 2001 were the first to conduct operations under full Mars simulation constraints, including the use of simulated Mars spacesuits.[22]

EVAs by Crew 1 included the first pedestrian and motorized EVAs while wearing simulated spacesuits. Crew 1 also deployed weather-logging instruments along the western edge of Haynes Ridge.[22]

Crew 2 deployed a geophone flute, provided by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris to produce three-dimensional maps of the subsurface. A similar instrument could one day be used on Mars to search for underground water or ice. Rock samples collected on Haynes Ridge during EVA were analyzed in the habitat's lab, and photographs were obtained of cyanobacteria found within them. The crew deployed cosmic ray dosimeters near Trinity Lake and Breccia Hill. The crew also completed questionnaires provided by the University of Quebec at Hull (UQAH) and NASA Johnson Space Center to aid human-factors research.[22]

Crew 3 deployed a dust magnetic properties instrument provided by the Niels Bohr Institute. This instrument is similar to that used on the Mars Pathfinder mission. The crew performed a psychology experiment for the human-factors research group at NASA Johnson Space Center. They conducted a pre-recorded audio question and answer session with visitors at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, where the society's Mars Desert Research Station was on display. The crew also tested in the field three telerobots, Stumpy, Jan and Titan.[22]

Crew 4 continued to test the three telerobots (Stumpy, Jan and Titan) during multiple EVAs.[22]

Crew 5 tested a two-person ATV designed by Purdue University.[22]

Robert Zubrin, Vladimir Pletser, and Katy Quinn of Crew 2 prepare to begin a motorized EVA on July 15, 2001.
Geologist Katy Quinn of Crew 2 uses a sledgehammer to generate subsurface signals which will be detected by a geophone on Haynes Ridge on July 12, 2001.
Charles Frankel and Brent Bos of Crew 3 climb Marine Rock on July 20, 2001.
Charles Frankel and Cathrine Frandsen of Crew 3 examine rock samples in the FMARS lab on July 22, 2001.
The DARPA – US Army telerobot "Solon" exploring Devo Rock canyon on July 26, 2001.


The crew deployed a weather station on Haynes Ridge which had been donated to the Mars Society by Met One Instruments. The weather station provided data on wind direction and speed, barometric pressure, humidity and temperature.[5]

A Terra/MISR reflectance spectrometer provided by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was used to take ground truth reflectance spectra of landforms on Devon Island, to compare with measurements taken by a similar device (MISR) onboard the Earth orbiting Terra satellite. These spectra were collected by the crew during multiple EVAs, and were the farthest-north ground-truth measurements ever taken for the MISR instrument. This was an important demonstration of combined human/robot exploration operations that will need to be done on Mars.[5]

Systematic sampling and characterization of extremophile bacteria from the local environment was conducted, utilizing equipment provided from several sources including Dartmouth College, an epifluorescent microscope sponsored by the Zeiss Company and a molecular laboratory lent by MJ Research.[5]

"In situ" samples were collected by the crew during EVA. These are rock samples that are not broken away from the large rock formations of their origin and are therefore free from modern biological or weathering action. The samples were collected to assist in testing a life-detection experiment called MASSE that was being developed by the Geophysical Department of the Carnegie Institute.[5]

Records were collected of rock-size distribution (in which the fraction of ground covered at each location by sand, granules, pebbles, cobbles, small boulders, and large boulders is estimated) in order to provide a quantitative estimate of the roughness of the ground to compare with coloration on Landsat satellite images.[5]

Additionally, the crew hosted for a short period two journalists from Russian National Television (NTV) who collected footage of the station and its crew during the simulation.[5]

Geologist Nell Beedle of Crew 7 examines fossilized algal mats in Devo Rock canyon.
Markus Landgraf of Crew 7 uses a geologist hammer to obtain rock samples during EVA.
Crew 7 members on a motorized EVA.
Nell Beedle, Emily MacDonald and Frank Eckardt of Crew 7 use a reflectance spectrometer during EVA on July 19, 2002.


The crew conducted an experiment that tracked their cognitive performance throughout the mission. The results were analyzed and published in a paper by Jan Osburg and Walter Sipes.[17]


Experiments in 2004 primarily focused on an in-depth biodiversity survey of the arctic desert and geological/geophysical study of the Haughton Crater area. Logistics and engineering experiments were also conducted.

The biodiversity study, led by Dr. Shannon Rupert, involved nine sites along streams ranging from first to third order. This survey was also conducted at each of the Mars Society's Analog Research Stations, including the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah and the planning site at the Australian Arkaroola desert.

Dr. Akos Kereszturi took geological surveys for the early characterization of terrain for the Exomars project. The crew tested an optical lens developed in Hungary called the Micro-Telescopium while on multiple EVAs. The crew found that the lens could be used for 8-15x magnification of objects while the astronaut was in the field, with the lens being fixed on the outside of the helmet.

Other experiments included a Geophysical analysis of Haughton Crater led by Dr. Louise Wynn which answered key questions on the physical characteristics of the 20-million-year-old meteor impactor. Błażej Błażejowski studied microfossils in crater soil deposits. A logistics study led by Dr. Jason Held found a method of tracking crew consumption by learning the crew's operations tempo. The crew's engineer, Judd Reed, conducted experiments on image detection in a robotic fish-eye camera, of a design highly relevant to modern Mars rovers.

Crew member Joan Roch was interviewed by a number of French-language media channels, including four times live for television (TVA Network of Quebec), six times for radios (Radio-Canada four times, Radio France Bleu Poitou, CISM 89,3FM Montreal), and three times for newspapers (Journal de Montreal, Metro Montreal, Centre-Presse).


The crew was visited on Devon Island for several days by noted columnist John Tierney, who wrote an op-ed piece about the expedition entitled "Over the Moon" which appeared in the New York Times.[23]


The crew conducted a long-duration mission, lasting four months total. This quadrupled the previous record for in-situ Mars mission simulations. They also operated on the Martian 'sol', (39 minutes longer than the 24-hour Earth day), for over a month, to evaluate the effects on crew psychophysiology or mission operations.[10]

The crew completed the AstroPCI personality inventory, the NEO-Personality Inventory by Costa and McCrae, as well as an online questionnaire battery dealing with stress, coping, and group functioning on five occasions throughout the mission (pre and monthly). The tests were designed to investigate sources of interpersonal stress and strategies to cope. The results were analyzed and published in a paper by Sheryl Bishop and several of the crew members.[10]

The crew conducted data collection related to a significant number of scientific studies during the course of the mission. These included:

  • Biological properties of the active layer above the permafrost
  • Microbial community comparison within the active layer above the permafrost
  • Diversification of microbial activity in different snow types on Devon Island
  • Effects of an asynchronous online collaboration tool on knowledge building and science return on a Mars simulation mission
  • The role of geologic parameters in predicting bioload above the permafrost, while varying depth, location, and soil type, through the spring thaw transition
  • Transient hydrothermal systems of the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canada: Implications for the development of biological habitats
  • Tracing the relative contribution of basement and carbonate lithologies in the Haughton crater impactites
  • Permafrost landform development over the winter-to-summer transition: Characterization of evolving physical conditions of a polygon field in the Canadian High Arctic
  • Observing the "Weeping Cliffs" phenomenon near Haughton Crater as an analogue for Mars
  • Regolith landform mapping of Haughton Crater as an analogue for Mars
  • Mars Radiation Environment Modeling (MarsREM)
  • Measurement and evaluation of support intervention based on distance communication technologies and of physical training on relevance, feasibility and perceived efficacy
  • Analysis of group dynamics-perception of situational factors (heterogeneous and international) and its impact on crew interaction and perception of behavior and performance of crew members
  • Analysis of station environment habitability, of crew cognitive performance and changes in group dynamics
  • CASPER: The use of cardiac autonomic activity as a surrogate marker for sleep in a space analog environment
  • Human factors research as part of a space analogue mission on Devon Island
  • Seasonal variation of Chironomidae in the ponds of the Canadian High Arctic as a paleoclimatic indicator
  • Seasonal variation of the ponds on Devon Island, Nunavut, Canadian High Arctic
  • Metrics of a long duration polar expedition: An analogue for human Moon-Mars exploration
  • Moon and Mars crew water utilization study conducted at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
  • Martian sol influence on sleep stability and mental performance during a long duration analogue exploration mission

The crew also took part in a number of media and outreach events. A documentary team from Les Productions Vic Pelletier, Quebec visited the station for three days. Photographer Christian Lamontagne took pictures for their web-based program. The crew participated in a live interactive Mars Ed event with the NASA Ames Academy, for which their PCSP Principal Investigator Chris McKay gave an on-site introduction at Ames.

Following the mission, several crew members met with Dr. Gary Goodyear, Member of the Canadian Parliament and Chair of the Canadian Space Caucus, to discuss the F-XI LDM mission & the future of space exploration in Canada.


The crew flew the Maveric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) six times over Devon Island. Four of these flights were conducted in‐sim for the first time ever, supporting the idea that human Mars explorers could launch, operate and recover a UAV while encumbered by a spacesuit. This capability expanded the crew's field of view and the rate at which they could survey surrounding terrain. The Maveric UAV was deployed at the sites of several hydrothermal pipes, where aerial footage of these features with correlated GPS track information was captured for analysis, aiding later site sampling by crew geologists.[18]

Several GPS units including a Trimble GeoXM, helped the crew navigate on a long‐distance EVA to the Gemini Hills, an extensive deposit of hydrothermal breccia created by the Haughton meteor impact. The primary objective was to locate and sample a gypsum deposit at this site. Gypsum is a hydrated calcium sulfate mineral that is 20% water and is found in abundance on Earth and at many locations on Mars. Used to make plaster of Paris, sheetrock, cement, and other building materials, this white mineral will be an important resource for Mars industry. The crew returned to the Hab with samples from the gypsum deposit, crushed and heated them, and recovered pure liquid water and plaster of Paris. This ISRU demonstration was a first for a Mars simulation.[18]

Crew members Kristine Ferrone and Joseph Palaia operate the Maveric Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on July 24, 2009.
Crew members Brian Shiro, Christy Garvin, Stacy Cusack and Kristine Ferrone deploy the TEM47-PROTEM low frequency electromagnetic survey equipment on Haynes Ridge during EVA 8.
Crew member Kristine Ferrone operates a Class IV High Power Laser therapy device.
Crew members Joseph Palaia and Vernon Kramer deploy the Omega Envoy prototype lunar rover on July 12, 2009.
Vernon Kramer uses a Trimble GeoXM GPS to locate the Gemini Hills on EVA 9.
The crew located the gypsum deposit and extracted samples.
The gypsum was scrapped and crushed to produce a fine powder.
The apparatus used to extract water from the gypsum powder.
Water being extracted from the gypsum powder through heating.
Crew member Vernon Kramer with a sample of water extracted from solid rock.

Seven of the sixteen FMARS EVAs were devoted to two geophysical experiments. One project was to install Devon Island's first seismometer, a Trillium Compact provided by Nanometrics. The crew scouted deployment locations and installed the equipment while fully in‐sim, a first for Mars analog research. Seismic stations similar to this will provide important understanding of the interior of planets including Mars, particularly the deep crust, mantle, and core. The second geophysical project tested how effectively human explorers in space suits could deploy low-frequency electromagnetic survey equipment, a TEM47‐PROTEM provided by Geonics Limited, to search for groundwater beneath Haynes Ridge near the hab location. Future human Mars explorers may conduct similar surveys in their search for life and resources to support human settlement.[18]

The crew conducted and were subjects in a research study using a Class IV High Power Laser therapy device provided by Lighthouse Technical Innovation, Inc. Crew members received treatment on focused areas before and after each EVA. The laser therapy is effective due to the penetration of coherent laser light into the tissues causing deep heating and local vasodilation. The additional blood supply provided by the dilated vessels can serve many functions, most notably preparation of the muscles for physical exertion and accelerated healing of muscle soreness, strain, or pain from past injuries. The laser therapy at the FMARS Hab was effective in relieving symptoms caused by physical exertion and was concurrent with the quick healing of minor injuries, recovery from an illness, and the complete lack of muscle pulls or extended soreness.[18]

The Omega Envoy Project, a team vying for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, provided a prototype lunar rover for testing during the FMARS 2009 mission. The rover was assembled and tested prior to the mission by 4Frontiers Corporation interns, in coordination with the Florida Space Grant Consortium and NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Outfitted with a communications and video package designed in collaboration with the University of Central Florida DARPA team, the rover was continuously operated via the internet from the team's headquarters in Orlando, Florida. This demonstration proved key technologies and provided essential teleoperational experience related to communicating with and controlling the rover from a remote location. It provided a deeper understanding of the complexities to be encountered in lunar rover operation.[18]

For all FMARS 2009 EVAs, the crew wore a Garmin Forerunner combined GPS and heart rate monitor system to gather concurrent geographic and physiological data. Crew members also captured geotagged photos and videos using Coolpix P6000 GPS‐enabled cameras, donated by Nikon. These technologies allowed them to easily combine ground and UAV GPS tracks, heart rate data, and photo information within the geographic context of Google Earth to produce visuals for display on the FMARS website.[18]

The crew also gathered data useful for the evolution of MIT's Mission Planner Software, which may be used by future astronauts to generate safe and efficient EVA traverses.[18]

Social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Picasa Web Albums also helped the FMARS crew share its activities with the interested public. Some crew members also maintained blogs that garnered substantial followings. At least 25 stories featuring FMARS 2009 have been published, showing media interest in the expedition.[18]

Thanks in large part to The Mars Society volunteers serving on the Mission Support team (in Colorado, Florida, Texas, Washington, and Australia), the FMARS website received a major overhaul this year, helping the crew to organize, manage, and release to the interested public the volumes of generated information. Mission Support posted crew reports, photos and video files to the website, and also assisted in troubleshooting technical problems as they arose. The crew also benefited from the expertise of an international team of physicians who provided telemedicine support.[18]

In coordination with Southern Methodist University (SMU), Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC) and the Georgia Space Grant Consortium (GSGC), FMARS crew members conducted four live video webcasts with students groups. These sessions included the SMU Talented & Gifted Program, NASA Kennedy Space Center Interns, NASA Digital Learning Network via Georgia Tech, and Gardendale Magnet Elementary School in Florida. Students, educators, and interns in attendance gave the FMARS crew high praise for providing this glimpse of life in a simulated Mars habitat.[18]


Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) and associated infrastructure. This includes a newly deployed Instaberm (secondary containment area for fuel storage), stored diesel fuel and gasoline, and the current generator shack.

The 2013 expedition was a survey and refit mission, intended to assess the current condition of FMARS and to deliver equipment, materials and supplies necessary to prepare the station for the planned 1-year Mars simulation (Mars Arctic 365).[19]

Accomplishments included:

  • Surveyed the station and on-site infrastructure. Found the hab to be sound but identified some minor issues to be addressed next season.[19]
  • Delivered one new generator[19]
  • Delivered one new ATV. Two additional were purchased and stored in Resolute for deployment next season[19]
  • Deployed additional containment areas for fuel storage[19]
  • Delivered and installed new cooking equipment[19]
  • Delivered a new metal storage and generator building to Resolute for deployment next season[19]
  • Assessed ground conditions, staked out the location for the new building, and cleared the site[19]
  • Surveyed two new airstrips to provide more options and avoid future landings in crosswinds[19]
  • Delivered and installed a new weather station[19]
  • Tested new Iridium satellite phones[19]
  • Performed some clean up and organization[19]

The Mars Society is planning to conduct a second refit mission in July 2014 to finish station repair and upgrades prior to the start of the planned one-year Mars Arctic 365 mission.[19]


Crew members during the 2017 expedition will carry outreach in field geology, microbiology, lichen ecology, and small crew dynamics. The research will be similar to that conducted during the MDRS portion of the Mars 160 mission, to gauge how different locations affect the data collected. Dr. Shannon Rupert is serving as the principal investigator of the entire Mars 160 mission, including both the MDRS and FMARS portions. Paul Sokoloff, a senior researcher at the Canadian Museum of Nature is also serving as a PI for the FMARS portion.[21]


The following publications have been based on research performed at FMARS.


  • Pletser, Vladimir; Lognonne, Philippe; Diament, Michel; Dehant, Véronique (2009), "Subsurface water detection on Mars by astronauts using a seismic refraction method: Tests during a manned Mars mission simulation", Acta Astronautica, 64 (4): 457, Bibcode:2009AcAau..64..457P, doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2008.07.005
  • Alain Souchier. "Private ground infrastructures for space exploration missions simulations", ActaAstronautica66(2010)1580–1592.
  • Clancey, William J. "Simulating "Mars on Earth" – A Report from FMARS Phase 2". In Zubrin, R. M.; Crossman, F. (eds.). On to Mars, Colonizing a New World. Apogee Books. CiteSeerX


  • Vladimir Pletser, Philippe Lognonne, Michel Diament, Véronique Dehant, Pascal Lee, and Robert Zubrin. "Subsurface Water Detection on Mars by Active Seismology: Simulation at the Mars Society Arctic Research Station", Conference on the Geophysical Detection of Water on Mars, 2001.
  • Robert Zubrin. "The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station: Dispatches from the First Year's Mission Simulation", AIAA 2002-0993 40th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, NV. January 14–17, 2002.
  • Vladimir Pletser, Robert Zubrin, K. Quinn. "Simulation of Martian EVA at the Mars Society Arctic Research Station", Presented to World Space Congress, Houston, TX. October 2002.







  • Sheryl L. Bishop, Ryan Kobrick, Melissa Battler and Kim Binsted. FMARS 2007: Stress and Coping in an Arctic Mars Simulation, 59th IAC Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, 29 September – 3 October 2008.



Additional publications referencing work done at FMARSEdit

  • O. Sindiy, K. Ezra, D. DeLaurentis, B. Caldwell, T. McVittie, and K. Simpson (2010) Analogues Supporting Design of Lunar Command, Control, Communication, and Information Architectures. Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication.
  • O. Sindiy, K. Ezra, D. DeLaurentis, B. Caldwell, K. Simpson, and T. McVittie. (2009) Use of Analogous Projects for Trade Space Analysis for Lunar Command, Control, Communication, and Information Architectures. AIAA Infotech@Aerospace Conference, Seattle, WA.


Crew 1 (2001)Edit

Crew 2 (2001)Edit

Crew 3 (2001)Edit

  • Robert Zubrin – Commander[26]
  • John Blitch – Robotics Expert[26]
  • Brent Bos – Planetary Scientist[26]
  • Steve Braham – Engineer[26]
  • Cathrine Frandsen – Physicist & Planetary Scientist[26]
  • Charles Frankel – Geologist[26]
  • Christine Jayarajah – Chemist[26]

Crew 4 (2001)Edit

Crew 5 (2001)Edit

Crew 6 (2001)Edit

Crew 7 (2002)Edit

  • Robert Zubrin – Commander[27]
  • Nell Beedle – Executive Officer and Geologist[14]
  • K. Mark Caviezel – Engineer[14]
  • Frank Eckardt – Geologist[14]
  • Shannon Hinsa – Environmental Microbiologist[14]
  • Markus Landgraf – Physicist[14]
  • Emily MacDonald – Astrophysicist[14]

Crew 8 (2003)Edit

  • Dr. Steven McDaniel – Commander and Chief Biologist
  • Jody Tinsley – Executive Officer and Geologist
  • Ella Carlsson – Chief Engineer
  • April Childress – Logistician and Public Affairs Officer
  • Peter Hong Ung Lee – Medical Officer and Biologist
  • Jan Osburg – Safety Officer, Communications System Engineer, Navigator and Human Factors Researcher
  • Digby Tarvin – Engineer and IT Specialist

Crew 9 (2004)Edit

  • Jason Held – Commander
  • Blazej Blazejowski – Paleontologist
  • Akos Kereszturi – Geologist
  • Judd Reed – Engineer
  • Joan Roch – Journalist
  • Shannon Rupert – Biologist
  • Louise Wynn – Planetary Geology, Health and Safety Officer (HSO), and Journalist

Crew 10 (2005) "Crew Greenleaf"Edit

  • Judd Reed – Commander and Engineer
  • Tiffany Vora – Executive Officer, Health and Safety Officer (HSO) and Molecular Biologist
  • Anthony Kendall – Engineer and Hydrogeologist
  • Stacy Sklar – Geologist
  • Tiziana Trabucchi – Paleontologist
  • Andy Wegner – Analytical Chemist
FMARS Crew 11 (2007).

Crew 11 (2007) "F-XI LDM (FMARS 11 Long Duration Mission)"Edit

  • Melissa Battler – Commander
  • Matt Bamsey – Executive Officer and Engineer
  • Simon Auclair – Geologist
  • Kim Binstead – Interdisciplinary Scientist
  • Kathryn Bywaters – Biologist
  • James Harris – Chief Engineer
  • Ryan L. Kobrick – Crew Engineer and Human Factors Researcher
  • Emily Colvin – Crew Alternate and Engineer
  • Paul Graham – Advance Team Chief Engineer
FMARS Crew 12 (2009).

Crew 12 (2009)Edit

  • Vernon Kramer – Commander & Chief Geologist[28]
  • Joseph E. Palaia, IV – Executive Officer and Engineer[28]
  • Stacy Cusack – EVA Coordinator & Geologist[28]
  • Kristine Ferrone – Interdisciplinary Scientist[28]
  • Christy Garvin – Medical Officer[28]
  • Brian Shiro – Geophysicist[28]
FMARS Crew 13 (2013)

Crew 13 (2013)Edit

  • Joseph E. Palaia, IV – Commander[29]
  • Adam Nehr – Engineer & Pilot[29]
  • Justin Sumpter – Engineer / IT Support[29]
  • Barry Stott – Pilot & Expedition Sponsor[29]
  • Dr. Richard Sugden – Pilot & Expedition Sponsor[29]
  • Richard Spencer – Pilot & Expedition Sponsor[29]
  • Garrett Edquist – Videographer[29]
  • James Moore – Journalist[29]
  • Dr. Alexander Kumar – Medical Support[29]
  • Bios for FMARS Crew 13
FMARS 14 Crew (2017)

Crew 14 (2017)Edit

  • Alexandre Mangeot – Commander[21]
  • Yusuke Murakami – Executive Officer[21]
  • Jonathan Clarke – Crew Geologist[21]
  • Anastasiya Stepanova – Journalist[21]
  • Anushree Srivastava – Crew Biologist[21]
  • Paul Knightly – Crew Geologist[21]


The FMARS Habitat (2009).
The generator shack at FMARS (2009).

The campus currently consists of two buildings, the habitat and the generator shack.


The habitat, commonly referred to as "the Hab", is a 7.7 metres (25 ft) tall cylinder that measures 8.3 metres (27 ft) in diameter and is used as the living area during simulation.[30] Its basic size and design is based on the Mars Direct architecture.[30] On the first floor there are two airlocks, a shower and toilet, a room for the space suits, and a combined lab and work area. On the second floor are six crew rooms with bunks, a common area, and a kitchen equipped with a gas stove, refrigerator, microwave, oven and a sink. There is also a loft area accessed by ladder from the second floor which provides storage space and can accommodate a bunk for a seventh crew member.[31]

Generator shackEdit

The generator shack is a small wooden structure located to the east of the habitat. It houses two diesel generators (primary and backup) which alternately provide power for the habitat.


Also on the campus is a greywater sump, a SmartAsh incinerator, secondary containment areas for storage of barrels of gasoline, diesel fuel, and waste oil, and a satellite dish that provides the station's internet connection.


Each FMARS expedition is funded by the Mars Society, and through contributions of equipment, materials and support from various donors and sponsors.

Establishment of the stationEdit

The station was made possible due to contributions from a number of organizations, including the Mars Society, Flashline.com, the Kirsch Foundation, the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space (FINDS), and the Discovery Channel.

2001 expeditionEdit

FMARS sponsors in 2001 included the Mars Society, the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, the Niels Bohr Institute and Purdue University.[22]

2002 expeditionEdit

FMARS sponsors in 2002 included the Mars Society, Met One Instruments, NASA JPL, the Zeiss Company, MJ Research and the Geophysical Department of the Carnegie Institute.[5]

2007 expeditionEdit

FMARS sponsors in 2007 included the Mars Society, Polar Continental Shelf Project, Greenleaf Corporation, NASA Spaceward Bound, Mars Society Canada, the Canadian Space Agency, Wataire Industries Inc., Aerogrow, COM DEV, McNally Strumstick, University of Colorado Book Store, The Mac Shack, Solutions, Government of Quebec, and Strider Knives.

2009 expeditionEdit

FMARS sponsors in 2009 included the Mars Society, 4Frontiers Corporation, Florida Space Grant Consortium, NASA, Florida's Space Coast, Georgia Space Grant Consortium, Prioria Robotics, AUVSI, Procerus Technologies, Nikon, Lighthouse Technical Innovations, Nanometrics, Geonics Limited, Del Mar College, First Air, E. Barry Stott, MIT Manned Vehicle Laboratory, The Omega Envoy Project, and Tom Jennings Productions.[18]

2013 expeditionEdit

FMARS sponsors in 2013 included the Mars Society, Barry Stott, Dr. Richard Sugden, Richard Spencer, Association Planete Mars (the French chapter of the Mars Society),[19] Iridium,[19] Arctic Cat,[19] and TempCoat.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "INTERACT". INTERACT – International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic.
  2. ^ "Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station - INTERACT".
  3. ^ "Haughton". Earth Impact Database. Planetary and Space Science Centre University of New Brunswick Fredericton. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
  4. ^ "About FMARS", "FMARS Website", accessed December 17, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Zubrin 2004, pp. 93–116
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Zubrin 2004, pp. 117–149
  7. ^ a b c d Zubrin 2004, pp. 151–178
  8. ^ "Mars Society Officers/Directors". The Mars Society.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Ferrone, K., S. Cusack, C. Garvin, V. W. Kramer, J. Palaia, and B. Shiro (2010). Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) 2009 Crew Perspectives, AIAA paper 2010–2258, In: Proceedings of the AIAA SpaceOps 2010 Conference, 25–30 April, Huntsville, AL, USA.
  10. ^ a b c d Dr. Sheryl L. Bishop, Ryan Kobrick, Melissa Battler, and Kim Binsted. FMARS 2007: Stress and Coping in an Arctic Mars Simulation, 59th IAC Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, 29 September – 3 October 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Zubrin 2004, pp. 179–184
  12. ^ Zubrin 2004, pp. 185–199
  13. ^ Zubrin 2004, pp. 199–222
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Zubrin 2004, p. 223
  15. ^ Zubrin 2004, pp. 265–289
  16. ^ "Postcards from the Arctic Archived 2011-10-06 at the Wayback Machine", "Website of Jan Osburg", accessed December 23, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Jan Osburg and Walter Sipes. "Mars Analog Station Cognitive Testing (MASCOT): Results of First Field Season", SAE-2004-01-2586.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "FMARS 2009 Successful"[permanent dead link], "FMARS Website", July 31, 2009, accessed December 17, 2010.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Mars Arctic 365 Phase 1 Mission a Success" Archived 2013-12-15 at the Wayback Machine, "FMARS Website", July 23, 2013, accessed January 1, 2014.
  20. ^ University of Arkansas student returns from 'Mars' mission, Arctic simulation ‘humbling,’ he says. By Jaime Adame. Published : September 3, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h "2nd Half of 160-Day Mars Mission Simulation Begins in Canadian Arctic", "Space.com", July 19, 2017, accessed July 23, 2017.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g Zubrin 2004, pp. 179–224
  23. ^ Tierney, John (Published: July 30, 2005). Over the Moon. New York Times.
  24. ^ a b c d e Zubrin 2004, p. XV
  25. ^ Zubrin 2004, p. 199
  26. ^ a b c d e f g Zubrin 2004, p. 215
  27. ^ Zubrin 2004, pp. 265–266
  28. ^ a b c d e f "FMARS 2009 Mission Announced"[permanent dead link], "FMARS Website", May 15, 2009, accessed December 17, 2010.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Crew Announced for Mars Arctic 365 Mission (Phase 1)" Archived 2013-12-15 at the Wayback Machine, "FMARS Website", June 20, 2013, accessed January 1, 2014.
  30. ^ a b Zubrin 2004, p. 96
  31. ^ "Comparing FMARS and MDRS", Astronaut for Hire Blog, accessed December 17, 2010.

Zubrin, Robert (2004). Mars on Earth: The Adventures of Space Pioneers in the High Arctic (1st trade paperback ed.). New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc. ISBN 1-58542-350-5.

External linksEdit

2001 Expedition

2003 Expedition

2005 Expedition

2007 Expedition

2009 Expedition

2013 Expedition

  1. ^ CBC site