The Mars Society is initiating a project to develop one or more analog pressurized rovers to use in field research in Mars analog environments around the world.

Pressurized rovers, which could allow week-long field trips by Mars explorers in a shirt-sleeve environment, have been the subject of considerable discussion, but little real engineering, architectural, or operational research, for some time. The Mars Society's analog pressurized rovers will allow one or more concepts for such vehicles to be put to the test of supporting actual field work. In the process the Mars Society intends to help produce the knowledge base necessary to develop strategies that maximize the effectiveness of pressurized rovers in combined operations with other mission assets, including robots, pedestrian astronauts, astronauts using unpressurized light vehicles, Mars base habitat personnel, mission control, and the terrestrial scientific community.

The Pressurized Rover Project will be conducted on a basis that allows maximum opportunity for Mars Society Chapter participation. Chapters or others who wish to participate should form design groups to develop their concept and then present their proposed concept to a special session on analog pressurized rovers that will be held at the Third International Mars Society Convention in Toronto in August (see for convention details.) One or more concepts determined to be the most promising will then be selected by the Mars Society for support. The group selected would then be responsible for building the rover, with funds for parts coming from Mars Society HQ. The program thus follows the model of the highly successful solar car races, in which university based teams have developed many innovative solar-powered cars with limited sponsorship support from automobile companies or others. Once developed, the rovers will be used to conduct research operations by Mars Society members in Mars analog environments in North America, Eurasia, Australia, the polar regions, or elsewhere.

Requirements: The Mars analog pressurized rover represents an Operational, rather than an Engineering test-bed for an actual Mars rover. Therefore, it need not be actually pressurized and the use of a conventional internal combustion engine and drive train for propulsion is acceptable. However, the rover must:

1. Contain complete living accommodations for a crew of at least 2 for a week-long excursion. 2. Be capable of off-road mobility over difficult terrain - the rougher the better. 3. Be capable of at least 20 mph over easy terrain. 4. Have a one-way range of at least 200 miles. 5. Have a mass of 1500 kg or less, the less the better. 6. Be transportable in a C-130 aircraft, with lighter aircraft (DC-3) preferred.

Analog rovers need not contain airlocks. However the crew of those that do not will have to operate accordingly (i.e. suit up before any hatch can be opened.). While there is no specific defined requirement, it is desired that the vehicle have as minimal an environmental footprint as possible.

It is clear that the requirements/desirements listed above are in some degree of internal conflict. The lightest and most nimble rovers will tend to offer the most cramped and uncomfortable accommodations. Concepts will be selected for support based upon achieving the best compromise combination of the required attributes, the quality of the team proposing to build the rover, and the amount of funds required from Mars Society HQ for their construction. Those requiring further guidance as to the desired qualities for the Mars Society's analog rovers should contact Kurt Micheels (

So start designing! And may the best rover win!


Operation President is on a roll. Over the March 4-6 weekend Mars Society members made contact with candidates coast to coast. The most successful efforts were achieved by the Caltech chapter, led by chapter President Derek Shannon. They were able to approach Al Gore, John McCain, and George W. Bush (they also met with Bill Bradley on February 8th). While at the Gore event, Derek Shannon was told by Congresswoman Maxine Waters "If anyone was going to do that [send humans to Mars], it would be Gore." (see reports of these meetings at When Shannon asked Bush about humans to Mars, Bush replied "maybe". Derek Shannon was also able to speak to Congressman Rohrabacher and Congressman Rogan at the Bush event. On the other coast, a dozen members of the New England chapter were in attendance with ON TO MARS! signs at a McCain rally in Boston. Although they were unable to speak to the candidate, they were shown on several television stations (and probably recorded by C-Span), interviewed by a local newspaper, and recruited several people. In Michigan, Julie Edwards was able to hand Tipper Gore a copy of "The Case for Mars"

As the field of candidates thins, we still intend to continue our efforts all over the country, by speaking to candidates, their staff, and by increasing our phone, fax, and mailing efforts to the candidates. In addition, Operation President hopes to have a presence at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, as well as the presidential debates in October. We have already had an impact on this campaign, but we need to continue our momentum all over the country. In order to achieve this goal we need more people to approach the candidates and declare their support for a human mission to Mars by 2010. We will post as accurate scheduling information as we can at If you have any questions or information to share with us, please contact Chris Carberry at


In order to stimulate useful, meritorious, and vitally important activity among young people, the Mars Society will again award the "Hakluyt Prize" for the best letter or group of letters written by a student to world political leaders making the case for initiating a humans-to-Mars program.

To be eligible, contestants must be students or cadets in secondary school or college between the ages of 12 and 22. All letters to be considered must be sent either via stamped mail and/or e-mail to relevant world leaders, such as Presidents, Prime Ministers, Science Ministers, Space Agency Administrators, and elected representatives. The more leaders reached by a given contestant, the better. Copies of the letter with a list of the addresses to which it was sent should be forwarded to, or via stamped mail to Hakluyt Prize, Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills, CO 80454 USA. An English translation should be provided for letters written in a language other than English.

The winner of the contest will receive a Bushnell telescope and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Third International Mars Society Convention in Toronto this August. To be considered for this year's Hakluyt Prize, entries must be received by May 31, 2000. Entries received after June 1 will be considered for next year's Hakluyt Prize.

The Hakluyt Prize is named after Richard Hakluyt, the brilliant pamphleteer, whose writings, addressed to Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Francis Walsingham, and other influentials in Tudor England convinced that country's power elite to make the policy decisions that led to the establishment of the first British colonies in North America. If not for Richard Hakluyt, the United States probably would not exist. If there is to be a human civilization on Mars in the future, there needs to be another Hakluyt today. Maybe that person is someone you know. Maybe that person is you. Start writing! The future is counting on you.

For Further information see our website at or contact

MS - TDF 2/2000 - 30/04/2000