Space Exploration Alliance Blitz 2015

Register Here

[br]The Space Exploration Alliance (SEA) will be holding its annual grassroots visit to Congress, known as the “Legislative Blitz”, in Washington, D.C. from Sunday, February 22 to Tuesday, February 24, 2015. With unprecedented budgetary pressures facing the legislative and executive branches of government, it is uncertain which path our nation’s leaders will take with respect to our nation’s space program. More than ever before, it is absolutely critical that the voices of the space advocacy community be heard in this debate. Come join space advocates from around the country to let Congress know that there is strong constituent support for an ambitious space program. [br]
The Space Exploration Alliance is a collaboration of leading non-profit organizations that advocate for the exploration and development of outer space, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Explore Mars, Inc., Federation of Galaxy Explorers, Moon Society, Mars Society, National Society of Black Engineers, National Space Society, The Planetary Society, Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.
(Please note that registration for this event closes on February 1, 2015. Due to scheduling requirements, we regret that we will be unable to accommodate any requests to register after that date.)

For more information, please contact Rick Zucker at [email protected]


ExoLance: Preliminary Modeling for Penetration Effectiveness


Aerojet Rocketdyne has been performing modeling of the Mars penetrators under internal funding as in-kind support for the ExoLance project.  This work uses an industry standard simulation known as hydrocode modeling.  In the hydrocode model, a grid is generated to represent the material that the penetrator is impacting and the model is run to determine the depth of penetration for various parameters such as penetrator mass, shape, initial velocity at impact and angle of entry.  In order to use the hydrocode model as a design tool, it is first necessary to calibrate the model against a known test result.  Since the DS-2 project did extensive testing in the 1990’s on simulated Martian soils, we elected to use it as our calibration case.

Figure 1 shows the DS-2 penetrator as configured for the tests.


Figure 1

Figure 2 shows the test set-up including the gas gun used to accelerate the penetrator to a velocity of 200 m/s at impact.


Figure 2

The test results for a 90 degree impact (normal to the surface) from test firing shot number 9 were as follows:

  • Shot #9 Target:  clay
  • Forebody penetration (m)   0.38
  • Aftbody penetration (m)  0.2
  • Impact speed (m/s)  172
  • Incidence (deg) 90

The first movie shows the results of the preliminary hydrocode modeling.  After selecting a soil composition that matched the clay type soil used in the test, the model was run with a DS-2 penetrator design and the grid mesh was adjusted until the results shown below were achieved.

90 Degree Simulation

normal angel of incidenceThis result shows the penetrator entering and generating a small spray of ejecta as it burrows down past 10 cm.  At approximately 0.9 milliseconds, as the penetrator is passing through 10 cm, the ejecta pattern resembles a classic cratering process with a small cone forming on the surface.  Of course, in the actual impact, the aftbody will be interacting with this region.  One millisecond later the tunnel has reached 20 cm depth and the tunnel is now showing signs of tapering on the walls.  The penetrator comes to rest at approximately 39 cm depth in approximately 10 milliseconds.  This compares very favorably with the measured DS-2 results shown above.





70 Degree Simulation

Off axis angle of incidence

A second case was run to document the sensitivity to off-nominal entrance angles.  In this case, the penetrator enters at a 70 degree angle relative to the surface.  As you can see from the movie, the penetration depth is reduced to approximately 25 cm.  As is evident from the simulation, the penetrator body “slides” a little sideways into the soil, causing the tunnel to be wider and also reducing the ultimate depth.

Contribute, Participate, & Share

The ExoLance Mission at Indiegogo


Mars Day on the Hill September 29, 2014

Capitol Hill MDOTH2014

Explore Mars, Inc. will be holding a grassroots visit to Congress, known as “Mars Day on the Hill”, in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 29, 2014.

As demonstrated by a recent national public opinion poll commissioned by Explore Mars, Inc., the Boeing Company, and Phillips & Company, there is broad support within the United States for both human and robotic missions to Mars. However, the challenges that budgetary and other obstacles present for NASA are many. In the current economic and political climate, it is essential to let our elected representatives on Capitol Hill know that there is strong constituent support for our civil space program and for an ambitious yet sustainable path forward.

If you wish to participate in Mars Day on the Hill, please register here.

To help defray the costs associated with this event, we ask for a $15 registration donation (students can register for $10).  If you have any questions, please contact Rick Zucker, Explore Mars’ Director of Political Outreach, at [email protected].  Space is limited for this event, so please register as soon as possible. (Registration will close by September 19th, or when we reach capacity, whichever comes first.)

We will hold an information meeting (or telecon) on the afternoon of Sunday, September 28th (precise time and/or location TBD), during which logistics and last minute details for the following day will be discussed. The power and responsibility of democracy is that each of us can and should avail ourselves of the opportunity to make our views known to the offices of our elected representatives.

Please join us on September 29th, 2014 as we lend our voices to the debate about the future of America’s space program.

Mars Day on the Hill, September 24, 2013

Contact your representative in the most direct way on 24 Sept. 2013[br]Visit her/him on the Hill[br]

This second Mars Blitz of 2013 is again organized by Explore Mars to further the cause of a human mission to Mars[br][br]Commit to debate STEM and Space, two for our nation so important issues [br]Have a chance of meeting with your representative face to face or at minimum meet with your congressional office[br]

Explore Mars will be conducting the 2nd Mars Day on the Hill on 24 September 2013. Just like the “We Choose to Explore Space” Congressional Blitz of September 12, 2012 we intend to use the fall budgetting weeks to let representatives in House and Senate hear how we expect them to support Mars exploration.

In 2013 Explore Mars was part of the SEA Blitz on 25-26 February and organised a Mars Day on the Hill following the Humans to Mars (H2M) summit on May 9.

Participants in this legislative outreach event will talk to key congressional offices about strategies for advancing our space program.

“This blitz will take place a little more than a year after the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, and only a few months before the MAVEN satellite will be launched (18 November 2013) ” commented Explore Mars Executive Director, Chris Carberry. “We hope that the Curiosity mission and all the other developments in the space sector will lead to bi-partisan support in Congress for a sustainable and goal oriented space program.”

If you are interested in participating in the Mars Day on the Hill, [br]please register for this space advocacy drive at eventbrite.[br]To cover the costs of materials you will receive we ask for a $15 registration fee. [br]Students can register for $5.[br]If you have any questions contact Rick Zucker, Explore Mars’ Director of Political Outreach, at [email protected] [br]Space is limited in this event.[br]To train you for this event and inform you of the last minute details Explore Mars will hold an information telecon/webinar on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 -NOTE this date is tentative; time TBD.[br][br]And remember [br]ANYONE can do this.[br]This is what democracy is all about: [br]YOU talking to your representatives (or their staff) face to face to tell them what you want, what you expect of them. [br]Considering the outcome of the National Survey that Explore Mars had conducted in February this year, we know you all (the general public) want America to go to Mars within 20 years, to go there even if it is an international mission and America is not leading. You want us to go to Mars to learn about Mars, so for the science of it all. [br]Don’t miss out on an opportunity to say this out loud and exactly where it should be heard: House & Senate. [br]

join us

17 september 2013 information telecon/webinar (date tentative; time TBD)

24 September 2013 the programme will run from 8 am till 5 pm.[br]

[br]To enter the House buildings you can use any visitors’ entrance of Rayburn, Longworth or Cannon. [br]The Cannon building is a very short walk from the Capitol South Metro station[br]If it rains we recommend you enter the buildings on the House side here and reach Longworth or Rayburn by using the corridors in the catacombs (basements) of the buildings. [br]Both on the House side and on the Senate side you can walk from building to building by using these basement corridors.[br][br]You can also use the Federal Center Metro Station and walk over to Rayburn. If the weather is nice the walk is not bad. However, remember that you will be walking the corridors of congress for a full day; you might want to preserve your strenght for that.

map of the Senate buildings, Russell, Dirksen and Hart.

Both Rayburn (Houseside) and Dirksen (Senate side) have good cafetarias with lots of choices for breakfast and lunch. Prices are fair.  Most of us will have time to buy lunch at either of these buildings.

If you really can not join us on 24 September 2013, we hope you are willing to reach out to your members of Congress in other ways, to let them know that there is strong constituent support for an ambitious and well-funded space program.

Read my blog to get an idea of what it is like to walk the corridors in Congress.