As many of you know, the theme of the 2020 International Mars Society Convention, held virtually over the course of four days in October, was “Rising Together.” We felt that “Rising Together” was a very poignant call to action as we navigate this global pandemic. We believe that humanity can work together on issues of great importance, especially those that impact our long-term future and survival.
The Mars Society strongly believes that becoming multiplanetary is a critically important goal for our civilization, beginning with the human exploration and settlement of Mars, the most Earth-like planet in our solar system.
For more than twenty years, the Mars Society has focused on helping to educate the public, the media and the government on the importance of humans-to-Mars and the establishment of a long-term human presence there.
The Mars Society also helps prepare humanity for the exploration of the Red Planet by operating our Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, hosting crews on a biweekly basis, which allows them to conduct analog work and research to better understand the challenges that will face future human explorers to Mars. (MDRS is currently on hiatus due to COVID but will resume crew simulations in February 2021.)
Our organization, together with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, has been studying and promoting the viability of establishing a new branch of human civilization on the Red Planet in the coming decades via our Mars City State Design Competition, an international student contest that focused on designing a one million person, self-supporting human urban settlement on Mars. One hundred seventy-five teams participated in this historic competition, with the winner – Nexus Aurora – representing not one but a group of countries, reinforcing the ideal that international cooperation is an important part of exploring space.
This year’s International Mars Society Convention was by far the largest event ever held by our organization, with over ten thousand people registering for the virtual conference around the world. In total, one hundred fifty speakers joined the convention to discuss new ideas and educate the global public about exploration plans for the Red Planet and other important space-related programs and initiatives.
Some of the leading names in space exploration and the commercial aerospace industry joined us to discuss the latest news about Mars and plans for the future, including NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, MEPAG Chair Dr. R. Aileen Yingst, Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer George Whitesides and former NASA astronaut & Chief Scientist Dr. John Grunsfeld, to name just a few.
Worldwide viewership of our international convention was well over one hundred thousand people, primarily via our organization’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The YouTube channel had seventy-five thousand views during the event, breaking the previous record by tenfold, with over a million on-line views of some of the talks since. In addition, 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 face-to-face.
We believe that the overwhelming success of our virtual convention demonstrates the growing worldwide interest in exploring Mars and the need to establish a second home for humanity in our solar system.
To continue with this tremendous momentum, the Mars Society needs your financial support to ensure that we move forward with our work on behalf of humans-to-Mars. We ask you to please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution ($50, $100, $250 or more) to the Mars Society today (tax-deductible if made in the U.S.) by visiting our website (https://www.marssociety.org/donate).
Thank you in advance for your kind support, and we wish you a very pleasant and safe holiday season.
Dr. Robert Zubrin
President & Founder
The Mars Society