Meet the Core TEAM
The Mars Median team is a group of internationally known world class space professionals. Each a leader in their field. Each contributes their experience and their innovation to a project that will see a methane network on Mars. The Team is being assembled at the time of this page and more key people will be added soon.
ROBERT BRAND – Mission Lead (Australia)
Arguably Australia’s leading Space Entrepreneur and an aerospace engineer and innovator. At the age of 17 Robert was involved in support for Apollo 11 in Australia with the feeds from Honeysuckle Creek and the Parkes Radio Telescope. He supported almost every mission from Apollo 11 to STS-7 and a minor support role in in Shuttle flights right up to 1985. In that time he worked at the Parkes Radio Telescope in support of Voyager Uranus encounter and ESA’s Giotto mission to Halley’s Comet. He was instrumental in finding and repairing faults in critical ESA systems at Parkes that had eluded ESA staff for 6 months.
Thunderstruck Aerospace is his company and the vehicle for several projects such as the StratoDrone and the Mars Median Mission. Robert is a regular guest lecturer at Sydney university and speaks at national and international Space Conferences on space innovation. The Mars Median Mission is based on Methane detection and has passed many milestones The use of penetrators to land the payloads was his concept as was the mapping, orientation and much more. Basically most items other than the Methane experiments. He is well known internationally and first met the creator of Median, Nick Howes, at a space conference in the US Nick had had little success in finding a landing solution for the Median network until he met Robert Brand at Spacefest.
NICK HOWES – Creator (UK)
The project, initially the concept of British born astronomer, Nick Howes, has seen collaborations with UK research students and coding development by research scientists, now working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Phase two, aiming to start drop testing in Q1 2017, will take the project through to a stage where a potential landing in the mid-2020s would be possible.
Nick Howes, UK Astronomer and European Director of Aerolite Meteorites who came up with the idea for MEDIAN, quotes “Robert Brand, the head of Australia’s ThunderStruck Aerospace will be working as the head of the project as it passes to Australia to complete. This includes the overall approach, deployment, landing, networking, mapping and communications for the methane detection system”. The Median Project will also carry other sensors for weather and subsoil.
Nick also travels the world speaking at international space conferences and is very involved in the organisation of the Spacefest conferences held in Tucson around June of each year.
Dr JANI RADEBAUGH – Advisor (USA)
Dr. Jani Radebaugh is a planetary scientist and associate professor of geological sciences at Brigham Young University (BYU). Her research interests center on geological processes on planetary bodies in the solar system, including our own planet Earth, which she pursues using the combined approach of analysis of remote sensing imagery with field studies and modeling.
As an associate team member for the Cassini RADAR instrument, Dr. Radebaugh works to determine the origin and evolution of landforms on Titan. She published the seminal paper on mountains on Titan and is regarded as a leading researcher on the sand dunes of Titan. Jani also studies the volcanoes and mountains on Jupiter’s moon Io and their implications for internal heat release.
Dr. Radebaugh does field work in locations on Earth that have similar landforms to those seen on other planets. She has done studies in the Sahara, the United Arab Emirates and Namibia for sand dunes and Ethiopia, Vanuatu and Hawaii for volcanism. She has served as a field party member for the Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program (ANSMET) four times, once taking a leadership role in field deployment operations.
She is a leader in space science, chairing the NASA Mapping and Planetary Spatial Infrastructure Team (MAPSIT), and is on the NASA Planetary Science Subcommittee and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory board of advisors.
Jani sees herself as an ambassador for space science through exploration, and she seeks for new opportunities to study remote regions on Earth and in space and to communicate about them. She enjoys interacting with students at BYU and with the public about space. She is regularly featured in the Discovery Channel’s How the Universe Works series, she is a speaker at the Spacefest convention and she has given a TED-x talk themed “Exploring to Discover”.
Her knowledge of the Mars regolith and other aspects of mars climate and atmospheric composition will be critical to the Median Mission’s success.
Meet the Key MEDIAN Support Team
Again these are people with world class credentials. They are used to working in a collaborative environment and with a strong level of experience underpinning there selection in the team..
TODD HAMPSON – Atmospheric Modelling (Australia)
Todd has a passion for Space and Science and to encourage the next generation to push the boundaries of science knowledge and engineering. His full time job as a Technical Director for an IT integration company keeps him on the leading edge of technical developments and innovations. He started his career in IT at the age of 13 buying his first computer with money saved up from afternoon jobs and hasn’t looked back . He graduated UNSW with a Bachelor of Science with a major in Computer Science. With over 20 years in the IT industry he now leads teams which are responsible for deploying some of the largest and most geographically distributed projects in Australia. He has experience as an IT Engineer, Systems Architect, Project Manager and Project Director and still maintains hands on technical knowledge of Server and Storage Hardware and OS’s, Private Cloud Infrastructure, Network Design, Wireless Networks, Wide and Local Area Networks, Firewalls, VPN’s, Encryption and IT Security. Outside of work, science projects have played an important and constant role encouraging his son Mark’s love of Science. A three year project working together on water powered rockets and cars saw them proudly hold the world record for water rocket powered dragsters. A great project which featured a combination of science, engineering, aerodynamics and electronics. The water rocket dragster, the “Green Hornet” had 3 onboard camera’s, gyroscopes, RC radio receivers and remote steering as well as unconventional aerodynamic fins. The project dragster was displayed at Science Expos in NSW and demonstrated to other Schools as a standout Science and engineering project. As an amateur astronomer Todd has an 8″ Newtonian Telescope with equatorial mount and has some experience with Astro Photography. Never one to miss a pass of the International Space Station and point it out to anyone who will listen, as well as enjoying an evening of dark sky viewing when the chance presents itself. Todd and his son Mark have ventured into High Altitude Ballooning in the last 2 years as a way to expand science projects with both Todd and Mark getting their Amateur radio licenses and learning a lot about high altitude balloons and science payloads. So far several projects have been developed all based on Arduino hardware and software including – APRS Amateur radio tracking, Temperature, air pressure and altitude loggers, redundant payload cut-downs and LCD displays showing altitude and temperature for gopro mounted cameras. Todd has experience as ground crew and tracking high altitude balloon launches with a 4WD fitted out with Amateur Radio’s, Satellite tracking, Vehicle mounted laptop with an APRS gateway while supporting high altitude balloon launches. As a Team member of the MEDIAN Mission Todd is looking forward to using his array of engineering skills to help the team achieve their goals as well as continue to learn along the way !
DAVID GALEA – Spaceflight Conditions and integration (Australia)
David has devoted his entire life to the exploration of science and technology. Since his childhood, David would study the universe through books and telescopes. In college, David built the first school computer in 1982. He then used that same computer to track and communicate telemetry with various satellites to win an award in the Science Talent Search. His career started when he began working for the largest communications company in Australia (Telstra) to design, build and test what was to be called “The Internet”. He has expertise in Risk Management, Green Data Centers, Information Technology, Project Management, Renewable Energy, Technical Design and Problem Solving.
Wanting to be even more involved in space science, David joined ASRI (Australian Space Research Institute) to take part in the deployment of large rockets from Central Australia in Woomera. David spent several years with various universities in a consultative role to guide and assist with science projects, I.T. growth and risk mitigation issues. David has also taken the role as a Science Teacher at a Government Secondary College in Victoria, Australia. David believes that S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) needs a push in local schools and has initiated activities such as Rocketry, Moonbots Robotics Challenge and Formula 1 in Schools as part of the curriculum.
David did not teach for the Income, rather, he taught for the Outcome. The outcome of his students is paramount. To inspire them to explore what was once impossible and expand their imaginations for their future. David’s current role is a Business Performance Analyst for a large global security company in Victoria, Australia.
Simply put, anything to do with rockets will rely on David Galea’s expertise. He will also assist with automation and robotics. I look forward to seeing David in our aerospace team for many years to come and as a shareholder and stakeholder in the company. David’s work on MEDIAN will see him involved in integrating the probes with the spacecraft.
ERIC VAN DE WEYER – Radio (Australia)
To be updated shortly