David and the Dragon X capsule

David Willson

Commander (CDR)

Flight Engineer (FE)

Living in: Mountain View, California

Special interest/s while on the mission:

Dust transfer

Planetary protection issues

Hoping to fly a mapper quadcopter


David's reports as Commander of TasMars 2013

Day 02, Day 03, Day 04, Day 05, Day 06, Day 07

Day 08, Day 09, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14


David Willson


Mechanical Research and Development Engineer


Professional qualification/s

BSc. Technology (17 years heavy industrial experience)

MSc. Astronomy

Passionate about Mars because:

"I have always been passionate about Mars since I was an iti biti tiny one."

About David Willson

"I am such a space nerd that even the gods of nerd-dom struggle to comprehend it!"
Cdr David Willson, February 2013

(Click here Sunrise TV to see more. Aired on Australian TV on 8 February 2013 after the TV station sent a crew to MDRS to film on location.)

Any other relevant detail/s:

David is from Tasmania Australia and is a mechanical engineer with some 16 years experience in the Australian mining and materials handling industry but currently works at NASA Ames on Spacesuit operation, new organics extraction technology, and earlier in 2012, payload integration concepts for the “Red Dragon on Mars project. He was at MDRS in 2011 on the DOMMEX team undertaking drilling trials. He is currently completing a master in astronomy, is a director of the Mars Society Australia and has co-authored and published space related papers and undertaken field expeditions with planetary scientists to the Australian Flinders Rangers in 2005 and 2009, the Californian Mojave desert in 2010, the MDRS in 2011 and the Pilbara, Western Australia in 2011.

At MDRS, David will be collecting samples for future testing in the organics extractor and trialling a semi-autonomous UAV helicopter mapping technology.

  • Director of Mars Society Australia
  • SpacewardBound 2011
  • Previous MDRS experience 
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