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Florida Tech Aerospace alumnus embarks on 15th expedition to Arctic research station Flashline Mars

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conducted a two-week simulation in one of the most Mars-like environments

Have you ever dreamed of going to Mars? Florida Tech graduate Andy Greco (class of 2010) has already achieved that goal and didn't even have to leave Earth to do it. In July 2023, Greco was selected as lead engineer for the 15th expedition to the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island in Nunavut, Canada. (Image from Florida Tech)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Have you ever dreamed of going to Mars? Florida Tech graduate Andy Greco (class of 2010) has already achieved that goal and he didn't even have to leave Earth to do it. In July 2023, Greco was selected as the lead engineer for the 15th expedition to the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island in Nunavut, Canada.

When Greco received the email asking for reinforcements for his team, he didn't think he had any chance of being selected, but he decided to just take a chance.

“At first I turned it down because I thought, 'This is for someone with more experience.' But then I said, 'Why not? Why don't you apply and see what happens?'” Greco says.

After weeks of interviews, Greco was officially selected to make the long journey to conduct a two-week simulation in one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth, just 900 miles from the North Pole.

“We used all these analog tools like spacesuits and rovers because we wanted to see what real challenges astronauts face when they do this on Mars,” says Greco.

“We used all these analog tools like spacesuits and rovers because we wanted to see what real challenges astronauts face when they do this on Mars.”

The goal is to develop solutions to these unique problems by overcoming the obstacles here on Earth before ever encountering them off planet, he says.

“We had 24 hours of sunlight, but even so, it didn't seem like there was enough time to do all the work we wanted to do,” Greco says. “We were working 16 or 18 hours a day and didn't even realize it because you miss the visual cue of the sunrise and sunset telling you, 'Hey, now it's time to go to sleep.'”

After completing his expedition at the research station, Greco is even more determined to visit Mars one day.

When Greco isn't dreaming of space, he works at Boeing Co. in Seattle as a liaison engineer for the 737 Max. In this role, Greco oversees a group of 22 team members and assists mechanics and quality inspectors in building the aircraft.

Greco was named Boeing Designated Expert (BDE) for fuel systems in January.

“My work area covers the entire aircraft, from nose to tail. This gives me access to various technical topics that interest me at the time,” says Greco.

Greco's Panther Pride continues to this day as he works to complete his master's degree in space systems online at Florida Tech. He expects to graduate in spring 2025.

When asked what advice he would give to students who are about to graduate and enter the workforce, Greco says, “Take a look at your alumni network. We are here and we want to hear from you!”

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