Mars Mission To Include Ham Radio Operator

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A Ham Hijinks staff report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — NASA officials, in a surprise announcement today, named their first choice for a five-member crew that will head to Mars by 2025. To the astonishment of many, the man is an amateur radio operator.

small__5413422046The chosen ham, now a soon-to-be astronaut, is Bill Thompson from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Thompson, who is well known in the amateur radio community, is the net control station for the nightly “Midwest 80m Rag Chew Net.” He can often be heard talking about his award-winning milk bottle collection and his fascination with color variations in rare African violets.

Officials at the space agency said a ham radio operator was a natural choice for the mission.

“Yeah, we needed a way to get the other astronauts into a deep sleep for the long journey,” said NASA spokesperson Ned Berkinhopper.

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 photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via photopin cc
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Comments (3)

  • WB8NUT

    Bill Thompson was concerned about not getting his CQ magazine while he was away on the mission. However, CQ assured Mr. Thompson not to worry as the October 2014 issue of CQ should be hitting his mailbox right away the time he returns from the trip to Mars.

  • Jeff K1NSS

    My Cedar Rapids sources tell me that Bill is the ham for the job – so much so they’re hoping that advancements in propulsion systems will allow the mission to leapfrog Mars and light out for Europa where Bill might accidently get left behind to start a new life among its blue inhabitants.

  • Bas PE4BAS

    There is a way to join a MARS mission as a HAM:

    http://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/orion-first-flight/#name-form

    Certainly you will not be the only HAM then 😉

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