Record-Setting Interest in 2020 Virtual Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, concluded its 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention on Sunday, setting a new event record with over 10,000 registered attendees for the online forum, which ran from October 15-18.

The organization’s first virtual conference, held due to COVID-19, created a large public surge of interest among Mars and space advocates around the world, as leading members of the space community participated in plenary talks and panel discussions during the global event.

Some of the highlights included talks by:

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • SpaceX CEO & Founder Elon Musk
  • Former NASA Astronaut Dr. John Grunsfeld
  • NASA Perseverance Lead Science Engineer Dr. Sarah Milkovich
  • Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer George Whitesides
  • NASA Astrobiologist Dr. Chris McKay
  • NASA Horizons Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern
  • SpaceFund Founding Partner Rick Tumlinson

In total, 150 speakers joined the Mars Society convention in educating the international public about current and future exploration plans for the Red Planet and other important space-related programs and initiatives.

Worldwide viewership of the Mars Society convention was well over 100,000 people, being watched primarily on the organization’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The YouTube channel had 75,000 views during the event, breaking the previous record by ten-fold. All of the talks will be posted on the YouTube page in the coming days and weeks for viewing.

Other viewing options for the forum included a live stream carried by CNET, as well as several other Internet web sites and YouTube pages that cover SpaceX and aerospace industry news. Our Zoom audience was also very large compared to in-person events, with most of our track talks having at least three times the number of people who would typically attend these events in-house at the convention.

The Mars Society, led by its president, Dr. Robert Zubrin, extends its appreciation to all of the speakers who participated in the four-day conference and provided timely and important updates about the progress made in exploring Mars, as well as the intended next steps in moving towards a human mission to the Red Planet.

Many thanks also go out to Mars Society management and its dedicated volunteers, all of whom were actively involved in organizing and managing the international convention, which, as they can attest to, is a months-long process to ensure a professional and high-quality global event. In particular, James Burk, the organization’s IT Director, and his tech staff should receive a special round of applause for coordinating a near-flawless virtual experience.

Staff & Volunteers

Lastly, the Mars Society is nothing without the support and involvement of its members and friends around the world. The massive turnout for this year’s virtual convention, much more than originally expected, will help boost the organization’s efforts to promote a humans-to-Mars agenda in the U.S. and other space-faring nations. If you are interested in extending financial support to the Mars Society and its vital mission, please visit our web site.

Thank you all and on to Mars!