MEDIA ADVISORY: Florida Tech Professors Available to Speak About Challenges, Realities of Living on Mars

Expert Faculty Available As ‘The Martian’ Hits Theaters

MELBOURNE, FLA. —As the movie version of Andy Weir’s popular book The Martian heads for theaters Oct. 2, two professors at Florida Institute of Technology who have lived in Mars-like environments and studied the psychological and architectural challenges of living there are available to share their experiences and expert insight.

College of Aeronautics professor John Deaton, an expert in human factors, spent two weeks living on a Mars simulated habitat in a remote desert in Utah with five other crew members to study the psychological effects of living in close quarters with others under extreme conditions.

“Going to Mars will be extremely difficult,” Deaton said. “Not because of the technological challenges, which we have solved them to a large extent. But because of challenges associated with areas we take for granted—food, water, relationships, loneliness —all areas of human functioning.”

With Deaton’s experience at the Mars Society habitat and his academic expertise, he can speak on topics such as human performance and adaptation in stressful environments, psychological challenges of long-term space travel, and social dynamics of isolated living conditions.

Ondrej Doule, an assistant professor in Florida Tech’s School of Human-Centered Design, Innovation and Art, led teams of scientists and specialists as commander during two missions at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. He can speak about the skills and personality traits needed to lead Martian astronauts, the challenges of building on Mars and the technology we need to survive on the planet.

Additionally, Doule can talk about building human habitats on Mars as the chair of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Architecture Technical Committee. He also founded and co-designed the Self-Deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments for both space and earth applications, a project funded by Europe’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

To schedule interviews with Deaton, Doule or both, please contact University News Bureau Chief Adam Lowenstein at or 321-674-8964.


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