THE FUTURE OF
CDR Melissa Lewis will
lead the Ares III on a
to examine Martian
gullies and sediment
deposits for evidence of
THE COMPLETE MISSION GUIDE / 2035 - 2036
The Ares space program represents the best of our
aspirations, and its success will forever stand as an
unforgettable reminder about what we can achieve with
effort, imagination and teamwork.
Perhaps it’s the innate human desire to explore that
propels us to venture so far from home, but I’ve always
suspected that it has more to do with our innate desire
to know who we are and where we come from that drives
Ultimately, that curiosity about where we’ve been is
more about knowing where we’re headed.
With that same sense of destination in mind, NASA will
once again send a team of brave, dedicated explorers
to Mars to further explore the past in the hopes of
ascertaining our future.
By examining the Martian terrain and its geological
history, we hope to learn more about why it wound up a
desiccated, inhospitable world lest we find one day find
our own planet on the same path.
PICTURED (L TO R FROM TOP):
CDR Melissa Lewis, Alex Vogel, Mark
Watney, Dr. Christopher Beck, Beth
Johanssen, and Rick Martinez.
Ares III will continue our investigation into the
biological, atmospheric and geological history of
Mars in an effort to learn what it was that depleted
the planet’s atmosphere and dried up its oceans.
To that end, our team of scientists will embark upon
a 31-day surface mission to examine Martian gullies,
pseudocraters and sediment deposits for evidence of
subsurface ice. Samples will be put through a range
of chemical analyses to look for clues of an ancient,
The gullies found near the Acidalia Planitia landing
site have long been thought to be the result of erosion
from steady flows of surface water. This mission will
be the first time a team of researchers will be able to
directly examine this particular site in the hopes of
testing longstanding theories about the region.
Based upon their findings, we may not only
learn about the planet’s past but its potential for
engineering and sustaining life for longer-duration
missions and nascent colonies.
M I S S I O N R OA D M A P
MARCH 23, 2033
After Congressional approval,
NASA formally announces
goals and objectives for the
Ares III mission.
Based on mission goals, the
crew is screened and selected
from a large pool of NASA and
Training for an Ares
mission can take up to two
years and is comprised of
an array of scientific and
habitat and other vital
equipment begins shipping
to Mars through a series of
unmanned supply drops.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2033
MAY 4, 2033
SEPTEMBER 16, 2033
June 29, 2035
– Crew Launch
JULY 6, 2035
After performing the final
round of safety and procedural
tests, the team begins the 124-
day journey to Mars.
Once the journey is complete,
the Ares III descends via
MDV to the artificial habitat
awaiting at the Acidalia
The crew will make a series
of departures from the HAB
to complete their primary
scientific expedition beginning
with soil samples.
Primary mission tasks
complete, the crew preps
the HAB for decommission,
returns to the Hermes via MAV
and sets sail for home.
NOVEMBER 8, 2035
NOVEMBER 7, 2035
DECEMBER 5, 2035
Crew readies for transport via traditional shuttle launch to
rendezvous with the main vessel harbored in low orbit.
C D R . M E L I S SA L E W I S
Commander Melissa Lewis will be
the first woman to lead a mission to
Mars. She brings a diverse range of
experience and achievement to the
role of Mission Commander.
Lewis graduated with honors from
the US Naval Academy with a degree
in oceanography and would go on to
serve as an officer in the revamped
Submarine Arctic Science Program.
After her time in the Navy, Lewis
began working on her PhD at
CalTech’s Division of Geological and
Planetary Sciences. It’s there that she
connected with the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory and was encouraged to
Soon after, she found herself
completing a series of in-space
missions, including several trips to
Recently, CDR Lewis spoke at a
global technology conference hosted
by UN Women and advocated for
better access to STEM programs in
developing nations and encouraged
a new generation of women leaders
across the world.
NASA Group 25 - 2026
M J R . R I C K M A R T I N E Z
Rick Martinez joins the Ares III
mission to Mars as pilot after eleven
decorated years of service in the
United States Air Force.
Originally trained as a fighter pilot,
Major Martinez eventually worked
his way to the USAF Test Pilot School
at Edwards Air Force Base where
he made his mark as a top-notch
pilot and continued to earn the
respect and admiration of peers and
commanders throughout his career.
By age fifteen, the Major knew
that his ultimate goal was NASA.
His first step towards making that
dream come true was earning a
bachelor of science in astronautical
engineering at the United States
Air Force Academy. While at the
academy, he also established himself
as an amateur boxer and won a gold
medal while leading the Falcons to a
As he gets ready to embark on the
mission of a lifetime, Martinez has
the full support of his family and
wishes that everyone will one day
have the chance to visit space.
NASA Group 26 - 2029
Pilot, MDV/MAV Specialist
M A R K WAT N E Y
Botanist Mark Watney spent eleven
months working at NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center before being
selected for the Ares III Mission.
A Chicago native, Watney attended
the University of Chicago for his
undegrad before moving on to
Northwestern University where he
earned a PhD in Plant Biology and
Conservation with an emphasis in
hydropedalogy and environmental
engineering. While a graduate
student, he had his first experience
with NASA by becoming a research
fellow with the Graduate Student
Researchers Program (GSRP).
His work focused on hydrologic
flow paths and sustainable water
resources management within the
Earth’s Critical Zone.
Mark then spent two years in the
Peace Corps engineering sustainable
agriculture and water irrigation
systems for developing nations.
Upon returning, he applied to the
NASA Astronaut Candidate Program
and was selected for his outstanding
dedication and service to
community, and an exemplary record
of professional achievement.
NASA Group 27 - 2032
Botany, Mechanical Engineering
D R . C H R I STO P H E R B E C K
Dr. Chris Beck, flight surgeon for
Ares III, graduated cum laude from
the Yale School of Medicine. He
was also a recipient of the Norma
Bailey Berniker Prize, awarded
to graduating students that best
exemplify the disciplines and
precepts of the Hippocratic Oath.
As a Captain in the United States
Air Force Reserves, Dr. Beck
completed extensive training in
aerospace medicine. His record of
accomplishment includes the Air
Force Commendation Medal and the
Meritorious Service Medal.
Since joining NASA, Chris Beck has
made two trips to the
and completed five spacewalks
(EVAs). He also furthered his
training with a master’s degree
in biomedical sciences and has
published numerous journal pieces
in collaboration with the National
Space Biomedical Research Institute.
His research has focused on
musculoskeletal alterations and the
effects of deep space travel.
For the upcoming mission to Mars,
he will serve as the crew’s EVA
specialist and biologist in addition to
his flight surgeon duties.
NASA Group 26 - 2029
Flight Surgeon, EVA Specialist
A L E X VO G E L
Alex Vogel joins the Ares III crew
through a partnership between
NASA and the European Space
Agency. A noted scientist and
experienced astronaut, Vogel will
serve as the navigator on the Hermes.
He will become the first German to
go to Mars.
He holds master’s degrees in both
chemistry and astrophysics from
The University of Bonn as well as
a doctorate in chemistry from the
University of Tübingen.
For his doctorate, Vogel spent six
months in Antarctica performing
research in conjunction with
the Alfred Wegener Institute for
Polar and Marine Research in
Bremerhaven, Germany. The study
examined ancient ice samples
and measured chemical traces of
greenhouse gases in ice cores.
While in the field, he passed the
time by volunteering to help with
efforts to measure cosmic microwave
background and has published
dozens of papers in international
A family man, Vogel hopes that one
day his daughter can follow in his
2030 ESA Group
Chemistry, Nav Systems, Astrophysics
B E T H J O H A N S S E N
Beth Johanssen displayed a
prodigious aptitude for technology at
an early age. Graduating high school
at just sixteen, she’d go on to win
NASA’s largest hackathon when she
was seventeen before moving on to
MIT for dual undergraduate degrees
in math and computer science.
Johanssen started a private software
company prior to starting graduate
school at Stanford University. Drawn
to Silicon Valley, she was intent on
becoming a software engineer and
CEO. However, during this time
she would come into contact with
SpaceX executive Brett Parker at
a conference on advanced systems
theory. Impressed by her work,
Parker recruited Johanssen to help
develop the software that would
later become an integral part of the
Hermes operating system. Her work
on the project inspired her decision
to switch paths and join NASA.
Fueled by her desire to make the
trek to Mars, she was able to leverage
her experience with the Hermes
and secure a spot on the Ares III as
its System Operator and Reactor
Technician. Her knowledge and skill
set make her an invaluable addition
to the mission.
NASA Group 27 - 2032
San Jose, CA
SysOp, Reactor Tech