Crew 228 Biographies

Lindsay Rutter, Crew Commander

Lindsay Rutter is a JSPS postdoctoral fellow at the University of Tsukuba. She studied bioinformatics and statistics during her doctoral training, interning as a software engineer, data visualization analyst, and computational biologist at several institutions. She now applies these quantitative skills toward astrobiology and space life science projects, primarily studying biological data from the International Space Station.

Lindsay is a co-founder and co-chair of International Standards for Space Omics Processing, a member of NASA GeneLab analysis working group, and an affiliate member of NASA Network for Life Detection. She believes investigating whether life exists beyond Earth could prompt some of the most profound philosophical discoveries about humanity’s relation to the universe. During the mission, Lindsay will use a handheld DNA sequencer to test human operations of life detection on Mars. Her participation is supported by an Emerging Space Leader Scholarship from the Mars Society.

Lindsay loves exploring new horizons: she recently earned a Ham Radio license and, on Halloween Eve, she jumped out of a plane dressed as (an uncharacteristically frightened) Wonder Woman. She adores the artistic process, agnostic to the medium, and looks forward to creative writing and film projects answering questions from elementary students during the mission.

David Laude Executive Officer / Crew Engineer

David was present for the impressive launches of Apollo 11, the first Space Shuttle launch and several illuminating Shuttle night launches. He has met two lunar astronauts and like many others, dreamed about space exploration and being a crew member on the first human journey to Mars. David began a lifelong passion for electronics and space technology in elementary school. By the end of middle school he competed in four science fairs, taking 1st Place in three and 3rd Place in one. As a teenager he repaired radios and TVs and experimented for hours with electronics and model rockets. He designed and built a model that extended wings after engine cutoff and glided to a landing. He also designed and constructed his own audio and electronic measurement equipment that later became an asset to his formal training.

David served in the U.S. Air Force. Later, obtaining Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering degrees, he designed state of the art integrated circuits for Harris Semiconductor (now Intersil), Ford Aerospace, Ford Motor Company and Linear Technology Corporation (now Analog Devices). He has been recognized for his designs of integrated circuits requiring no redesign, five patents, technical papers, and presentations at conferences.

David is a lifelong learner in several subjects and enjoys working with talented people. He is a founding member of The Mars Society. He also has formal training in anthropology and archaeology. Hobbies include radio-controlled airplanes, electronics, music composition, musical instrument synthesis and antique radio restoration. David also enjoys adventure, hiking, snow skiing and traveling. Utah, with its stark beauty and remote desert areas, is one of his favorite states to visit.

Inga Popovaite, Crew Scientist / GreenHab Officer

Inga Popovaite is a PhD candidate at the department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Iowa. She has MA degrees in Sociology (University of Iowa) and Nationalism Studies (Central European University) and BA in Journalism (Klaipeda University). Her dissertation investigates gender, emotions, and status in space analog environments. Inga will use her time at MDRS to collect primary data for this study.

Originally from Lithuania, Inga plans to move back to the EU after getting her PhD and to continue sociological research on group processes in space analog environments. Inga is interested in how society-wide inequalities and cultural stereotypes shape small crew interactions in isolated, confined, and extreme environments. She has published articles that discuss gender, isolation, and space in The Conversation US and SpaceNews. She is the lead author of a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments that explores gender gap in simulated EVA participation in analog missions. You can read more about her research on her website

In her free time, Inga swims, bikes, reads science fiction, knits, and makes things with her RaspberryPi.

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Jin Sia, Health and Safety Officer

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Jin Sia is a Master’s research student at Western University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, with an interdisciplinary specialization in Planetary Sciences. Under the supervision of Dr. Jayshri Sabarinathan, he is helping to develop multispectral imagers for the exploration of the Moon and beyond. He graduated from his Bachelor of Applied Science in mechanical engineering at the University of Waterloo, where his final project was developing a nanothermite space welding system.

Jin was born in Malaysia and moved to Canada at the age of 15 to pursue an education closer to the cutting edge of space exploration. He dreams of one day setting foot on Mars, and hopes to use MDRS as a stepping stone to that goal. Jin believes that the human exploration of Mars is a key milestone in not only opening up a better future for humanity in space, but also to inspire everyday people to live with a cosmic sense of purpose.

At MDRS, he will be conducting research on using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to facilitate EVA planning and to allow crews to build on the knowledge of the crews who came before. Furthermore, he will be representing the Mars Society of Canada as a member of its board of directors, where he serves as its Vice-Chair and Chief Diversity Officer. Through them, he will blog about his experiences with the aim of making space analog research more accessible and familiar to the public.

Jin enjoys powerlifting, piano, and reading on a variety of topics. His favorite works of science fiction include Dune, the Red Mars trilogy, and the Xeelee Sequence.

Crew 228 – Areonauts – CrewBiographies.docx