For Immediate Release
The TC2M mission, announced in June of this year, will be the largest crowd-funding campaign in history to realize the world's first privately-funded and student-led interplanetary mission to Mars. The team is working to design, build, launch, navigate through space and land a CubeSat-based spacecraft on the surface of Mars, carrying digital content from millions of people around the globe for future explorers of the Red Planet to recover. The meeting was hosted by the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory in the Aerospace Engineering program at Georgia Tech.
"Everyone did such an amazing job," says Emily Briere, mission director and senior at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. "The intensity of conversations, the variety of viewpoints, and the synthesis of the various technical designs with the business team allowed us to leave with a more focused, and symbiotic, mission. Laying the foundation - and making sure we are all on the same page - is critical for the mission to be a success."
With teams spread across the country, the first in-person meeting for the full organization was held Nov. 14-16, 2014.
The $25 million mission will be funded by people across the globe who upload personal digital media in the form of images, text, audio and video clips starting at $0.99 each. For those in the developing world, digital media on the capsule will be offered free of charge and underwritten by corporate sponsors.
Students attending hailed from Duke University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Connecticut. Veteran aerospace project management mentors Ron Schlagheck, retired NASA, and Laurent Sibille of Enterprise Advisory Solutions, Inc. helped facilitate the discussions. The Boeing Company also sent a management team from its Boeing Emerging Leaders program, which is shepherding the students through the intense process of planning and executing an entire space mission in such a short time frame.
"What these students are banding together to do on their own is simply amazing," says Ron Schlagheck, advisor to the students. "They are working to accomplish similar goals as entire corporations and even countries are dedicated to doing - getting to Mars and exciting the world in the process."
The session advanced efforts to educate and inspire K-12-aged kids worldwide towards space exploration. "K-12 students are voracious, they want to learn. TC2M provides a great avenue for them to experience an incredible design challenge in the classroom and allows them to feel like they are making an impact as they develop the spacecraft alongside our collegiate team," says Charlotte Lawrence, a senior at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering who is spearheading the K-12 educational efforts of the mission.
The students are being supported in their mission efforts by an extensive array of industry talent from such aerospace stalwarts as ATK, Aerojet Rocketdyne, The Boeing Company, Deep Space Industries, Draper Laboratory, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Lockheed Martin, MIT, NASA, Remarkable Technologies, and others. Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of ATK Space Launch Division and former NASA chief astronaut, and Kent Rominger, vice president, business development of ATK and former NASA chief astronaut, are special advisors to this project.
The ambitious mission will also be the first of its kind to test new enabling technologies in propulsion, telecommunications, and long-term memory designed to sustain small spacecraft like CubeSats on an interplanetary voyage.
TC2M vision and goals have already inspired similar mission concepts from NASA and others.
"This continues to be the mission for everyone, not just in the space industry but worldwide, too," says Chris Carberry, executive director and co-founder of Explore Mars Inc., a nonprofit that was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. "This is a mission for all humanity, and we are excited to have so many people involved, with more joining each week."
To date, more than $1 million in donations and in-kind support has been raised for the mission. To upload images and become part of this historic mission to Mars, visit www.timecapsuletomars.com/#upload. Visit http://www.timecapsuletomars.com or http://www.tc2m.com for mission milestones or to learn how to get involved.
About Time Capsule to Mars(TM)
The world’s first student-led interplanetary mission, Time Capsule to Mars (TC2M), will design, launch and land intact a time capsule on Mars containing digital messages representing a snapshot of humanity on Earth. The mission will inspire today's generation to commit to sending humans to Mars who will recover the capsule. TC2M intends to be the largest-ever crowd-funded endeavor, aiming to raise $25 million. TC2M is a project of the non-profit Explore Mars Inc. (http://www.exploremars.org). Read more about the mission at TimeCapsuleToMars.com, follow us @TimeCapsuleMars or #TC2M, and on Google+.
About Explore Mars
Explore Mars was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and/or improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. In addition, to embed the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula. Explore Mars Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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