Three men and three women, some with a great life experience, others at the beginning of their scientific career will try to discover the mystery of life on Mars. Six Romanian researchers participate for the first time in a Martian mission. But they are not on the Red Planet. They are at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah USA, on the Colorado Plateau.
From left to right:
Commander Virgiliu Pop
The 36 years old Virgiliu Pop is in command of the mission. He is scientific researcher at the Romanian Space Agency in space law and space politics. Other than that, Virgiliu is organising space outreach activities. He is a law school graduate and has a Masters Degree in law and doctoral studies in Space Law. In 2007 he attended the International Space University in Beijing China.
VIrgiliu's expertise is seek often by the national and international mass - media and his name featured in the "New York Times", "Science et Vie", "BBC", "New Scientist", and at "Space.com"
First Officer Haritina Mogosanu
Haritina is the astronomer in charge with the Musk Observatory - where she will use a 14" Celestron Telescope, the horticultural engineer and the biosecurity officer of the mission. She works for MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and wishes to find out what are the biosecurity risks if human habitats would be setup in the same time with the ecopoiesis taking place on Mars. She is 37 years old, holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Management and was part of the team that acclimatised the Kiwi plant (Actinidia spp.) in Romania. She is a very active astronomy and science communicator, planetarian with hundreds of hours of planetarium shows. She is currently the Publicity Officer for the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand and on the Executive Board of the Space Foundation New Zealand, chairing the Education Section.
Crew Engineer - Florin Mingireanu
Florin is scientific researcher at the Romanian Space Agency where he works in propulsion and the control of satellites altitude. He got his license in physics and astronomy in Louisiana, USA. His experience includes developing propulsion systems and guidance systems for rockets as well as testing those on high altitude balloons. At present he is involved in the research of hybrid fuel rocket engines. He is 27 years old.
*Crew Geologist - Iulia Jivanescu *
Iulia works as well for the Romanian Space Agency where she researches spatial applications - teledetection and GIS. In 2003 Iulia worked as research assistent at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University USA. She is licensed in geography, is working towards another degree in aerospace engineering and a PhD in selenography. In 2009 Iulia attended the international Space University at NASA Ames in California.
Crew Journalist - Dragos Bratasanu
Dragos is 26 years old and is a scientific researcher working for the Romanian Space Agency. He processes satellite imagery and their usage to monitor and prevent natural disasters. His activity was highly prised in competitions organised by the European Space Agency, European Union Satellite Center (EUSC), Joint Research Center (JRC), n 2009, i Digital Globe, n 2010. He holds a Masters Degree in Electronics and Telecommunications and now he is a PhD studet at the University of Siegen ZESS, Germania. Following his passion, photography Dragos reached beyond both arctic and antarctic circles. His photography can be found at www.dragosbratasanu.com.
Crew Biologist Beatrice "Betty" Gilea
The crew biologist is the youngest of the team. She is 25 years old and a Ph.D Student at the University of Bucharest, Biology section.
The Romars Mission is organised by the Romanian Space agency and supported by Astra Insurance, Nikon, Omnidata SA, Laboratoarele Bioclinica and Bucharest University.