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Finalists Chosen in Mars City State Design Competition

Ten finalists have now been chosen in the Mars City State Design Competition. The finalists include teams from the U.S., Australia, France, Canada, Austria, Spain, and Germany. In February 2020 the Mars Society announced the holding of an international contest for the best design plan of a Mars city state of 1,000,000 people. There will be a prize of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, $2,500 for third, $1,000 for fourth and $500 for fifth. In addition, the top… READ MORE >

Exciting Program Itinerary for 2020 Virtual Mars Society Convention Now Online

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that its tentative program itinerary for the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, being held via the Internet Thursday-Sunday, October 15-18, has been released on its web site. With 3,500 people currently scheduled to attend the virtual conference, along with 150 speakers, the Mars Society invites you to join this important event next month to learn about current Mars exploration, plans for a human mission to the Red Planet in the near future… READ MORE >

Mars Society Announces Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides as Speaker at 2020 Virtual Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, a well-known public speaker and author on a variety of issues related to space exploration and advocacy, will be joining its virtual event – the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, set to be held October 15-18. Mrs. Whitesides is Co-Creator of Yuri’s Night, an annual worldwide party to celebrate Yuri Gagarin’s first flight into space and help promote public interest in the final frontier. She is also a… READ MORE >

Space-IL Co-Founder Yonatan Winetraub to Address 2020 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to welcome Yonatan Winetraub, Co-Founder of SpaceIL, a $100 million Israeli non-profit organization that attempted to land Beresheet, the first private interplanetary robotic mission, on the Moon in April 2019, as a virtual speaker during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. Established in 2011, SpaceIL was founded to answer the international challenge presented by Google Lunar XPRIZE – to build, launch and land an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon. In… READ MORE >

URC Director Kevin Sloan to Provide Update at 2020 Virtual Mars Society Convention

Kevin Sloan, long-time Director of the Mars Society’s University Rover Challenge, will give a presentation about the URC program and plans for next year’s rover design competition (this summer’s URC was postponed due to COVID-19) during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. As the premier robotics competition for college students from around the world held annually at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, URC challenges student teams to design and build the next generation… READ MORE >

Semi-Finalists Chosen for Mars City State Design Contest

20 semi-finalists have been chosen for the Mars Society’s Mars City State Design Competition. The semi-finalists include teams from the U.S., Australia, France, China, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Canada, Indonesia, India, the United Kingdom, Austria, Spain and Germany. In February 2020 the Mars Society announced the holding of an international contest for the best design plan of a Mars city state of 1,000,000 people. There will be a prize of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, $2,500 for third, $1,000 for… READ MORE >

NASA JFK Space Center Associate Director to Speak at Virtual Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Kelvin Manning, Associate Director (Technical) of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, will give a virtual plenary talk about the Center’s role in working with NASA and private companies on launches from Florida during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. In his capacity with NASA, Mr. Manning is responsible for ensuring safe and effective execution of the Center’s technical capabilities, including establishing strategies and policies to ensure… READ MORE >

ERC 2020 shows how to persevere in a post-pandemic world, embracing curiosity & seizing opportunity

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across all branches of the economy worldwide; leaving some of them profoundly impacted for the foreseeable future. The space industry has not been insulated from the virus either and some Space 4.0 start-ups have declared bankruptcy. The most important events of the space year were at best rescheduled and at worst canceled indefinitely. What brings a little consolation is the fact that the companies whose employees could work from home made that shift quite… READ MORE >

Mars Society Applauds the Nomination of Greg Autry for NASA CFO

The Mars Society announced today its full and enthusiastic support of the nomination of Professor Greg Autry of the University of Southern California for NASA Chief Financial Officer. Commenting on the choice, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “I have known Greg Autry for almost two decades. Over the years we have sometimes agreed and sometimes disagreed, but I have always found his positions to be well-informed, well-reasoned and well-intentioned. He is, and has always been, a passionate, brave,… READ MORE >

JPL Mars Systems Engineer to Participate in Virtual Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to welcome Dr. Farah Alibay, a veteran JPL Systems Engineer involved in multiple Mars exploration missions, as a virtual speaker during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. Since 2014, Dr. Alibay has worked on a variety of NASA missions, spanning the phases of development, from early mission concepts to integration and testing all the way to cruise and surface operations. These include: GNC-Mobility Systems Engineer for the Mars Perseverance rover,… READ MORE >

MDRS Director Shannon Rupert to Discuss Simulating Life on Mars at 2020 Virtual Convention

Dr. Shannon Rupert, long-time Director of the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, will give a virtual address entitled “Once a Martian, Always a Martian: Demographics and Stories of the People who have Crewed MDRS” during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18.  She will be sharing an analysis of the demographics of the researchers who have served as crew at the station over the last twenty years and providing some stories about… READ MORE >

NASA Mars Helicopter Chief Engineer Bob Balaram to Speak at 2020 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to welcome Dr. J. Bob Balaram, Chief Engineer for NASA’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter, currently en route to the Red Planet as part of the Mars Perseverance rover mission, to the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. A 25-year veteran of Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dr. Balaram has led the development of the Mars helicopter project, which is intended to demonstrate technologies needed for flying in the Martian atmosphere. If successful, these… READ MORE >

JPL Mars Operable Robotics Supervisor to Address Virtual Mars Society Convention

Dr. Vandi Verma, JPL Supervisor of Operable Robotics for the Mars Perseverance and Mars Curiosity missions, will discuss navigating rovers on the Martian surface during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. Dr. Verma joined JPL’s Mobility and Robotics Systems Section in 2007, with research interest in robotic software that enables autonomy and commanding under uncertainty for coordinated manipulation, mobility, sampling and science. Since 2008, she has been driving Mars rovers (MER, MSL) and operating the… READ MORE >

Award-Winning Science Journalist Bruce Dorminey to Join 2020 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to welcome Bruce Dorminey, veteran science journalist, podcaster and author, as a virtual plenary speaker during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. An award-winning science journalist, covering primarily aerospace, astronomy and astrophysics for over three decades, Mr. Dorminey serves as a science contributor to Forbes magazine and Astronomy magazine. In addition, he writes for Stardate, Cosmos and Sky & Telescope magazine, among others. He was also Hong Kong bureau chief… READ MORE >

Virgin Galactic’s George Whitesides to Speak at Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that George T. Whitesides, newly-appointed Chief Space Officer of Virgin Galactic, will give a virtual plenary talk at the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18, 2020. A ten-year veteran of Virgin Galactic, Mr. Whitesides currently spearheads the development of future technologies, including high speed point to point travel and orbital travel. In addition, he serves as the Chair of the Virgin Galactic’s Space Advisory Board. Prior to this, he… READ MORE >

‘Halfway to Mars’ – Mars Society Releases New Song Celebrating Humanity’s Recent Achievements in Space

In light of recent achievements in space and our continued efforts as a species to get humans on to the surface of the Red Planet, the Mars Society is thrilled to release an inspiring new song, ‘Halfway to Mars‘, that celebrates the work of the pioneers of Mars and hopes to inspire all of us to strive even harder. The idea for the song came about three months into the COVID-19 lockdown, when opera singer Oscar Castellino, in a chat… READ MORE >

2020 Virtual Mars Society Convention to Host Senior Mars Scientists

The Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, will be convening its 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention on October 15-18, 2020 for our global community via the Internet. Through the use of unique technology provided by the TMRO company of Anaheim, CA, it will be possible to not only hold presentations, panel discussions and debates, but also to allow people from around the world to participate, posing… READ MORE >

Mars 2020 Scientist Michael Hecht to Discuss Oxygen-Making at Virtual Mars Society Convention

With NASA’s Perseverance rover on its way to the Red Planet as of this morning, the Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Hecht, Principal Investigator for the mission’s MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) project, will be joining us (virtually) during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 15-18.    One of the main goals of Perseverance will be to explore the habitability of Mars and its environment, with the intention of laying… READ MORE >

Mars Society to Welcome MEPAG Chair R.A. Yingst to 2020 Virtual Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. R. Aileen Yingst, Chair of MEPAG (Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group), a body chartered by NASA headquarters to assist in planning the scientific exploration of the Red Planet, will give a virtual address during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. The title of Dr. Yingst’s plenary talk will be “Mars for the Next Decade:  A Report from the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group.” As a senior… READ MORE >

Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin to Speak at 2020 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael D. Griffin, former NASA Administrator, will be joining us (virtually) as a plenary speaker during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. The title of his address will be “Towards a Destination Driven Space Program.” Dr. Griffin served as head of the U.S. space agency under President George W. Bush. During this time, he focused on creating a more ambitious space strategy, which included the unveiling… READ MORE >

SIRIUS-Mars160 Veteran Anastasia Stepanova to Address 2020 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to welcome Anastasia Stepanova, an engineer at the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Biomedical Problems and veteran crew member of two major space simulation programs – SIRIUS (Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station) and the Mars Society’s Mars160, as a virtual plenary speaker at the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. Ms. Stepanova served as a mission specialist at SIRIUS 18-19, a four-month long mission conducted jointly in Moscow… READ MORE >

Judges Needed for Mars City State Design Competition

The Mars Society announced in February 2020 the holding of an international contest for the best design plan of a Mars city state of 1,000,000 people. No less than 175 teams have entered the global competition. There will be a prize of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, $2,500 for third, $1,000 for fourth and $500 for fifth. In addition, the top 21 papers will be published in a new book “Mars City States: New Societies for a New… READ MORE >

Mars InSight Project Scientist to Join 2020 Mars Society Teleconvention for Update

Dr. Mark Panning, Project Scientist and Co-Investigator for NASA’s Mars InSight lander, currently operating on the Martian surface, will be joining us virtually to provide a mission update during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. After spending almost a decade at the University of Florida in the geological sciences division, Dr. Panning joined JPL in 2017 to focus on planetary interiors using seismology. He is also Co-Investigator on the Dragonfly mission to Titan, currently in… READ MORE >

2020 Poster Contest Winner Announced by Mars Society

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2020 Mars Society Poster Contest is Samer El-Sayary of Lebanon. Our winning designer is an assistant professor for the Faculty of Architecture at Beirut Arab University and also serves as an ambassador for Mars City Design. Graphic artists who competed in the annual contest were asked to submit a poster using the theme “Rising Together” for the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, a virtual conference that will… READ MORE >

“Artemis 8” Using Dragon

By Dr. Robert Zubrin, The Space Review, July 6, 2020 The following memo was sent by the author to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council, on June 30, 2020. A mission equivalent to Apollo 8—call it “Artemis 8”—could be done, potentially as soon as this year, using Dragon, Falcon Heavy, and Falcon 9. The basic plan is to launch a crew to low Earth orbit in Dragon using a Falcon 9. Then… READ MORE >