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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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >

“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 >

Senior NASA Human Factors Scientist to Address 2020 Mars Society Teleconvention

Dr. Tom Williams, Element Scientist for NASA’s Human Factors and Behavioral Performance division, will give a plenary talk during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. Since 2015, Dr. Williams has directed a multi-disciplined team of NASA scientists at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, focusing on human factors in the areas of habitability, mission processes and tasks, human automation robotic interactions, dynamic loads and training. The primary task of this team is to mitigate critical… READ MORE >

Zubrin-Hickam: Send the SpaceX Dragon to the Moon

By Robert Zubrin & Homer Hickam, Washington Post, 06.22.20 The success last month of the SpaceX Dragon’s flight to the International Space Station was the first time in nearly a decade that Americans traveled into space aboard an American vehicle launched from U.S. soil. That is important, but we think the flight actually means even more. This commercially developed spacecraft has given our nation the means to carry crews to the moon — and perhaps beyond — much faster and cheaper than has… READ MORE >

Former Astronaut & NASA Official John Grunsfeld to Speak at Mars Society Teleconvention

The Mars Society is glad to welcome Dr. John M. Grunsfeld, a former NASA astronaut and Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, as a virtual plenary speaker during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 15-18, 2020. Serving 17 years as a NASA astronaut, Dr. Grunsfeld is a veteran of five space shuttle flights and visited the Hubble space telescope three times during these missions to near Earth orbit. He logged more than 58 days in… READ MORE >

New Horizons Mission Lead Alan Stern to Update Mars Society Teleconvention

The Mars Society is pleased to welcome Dr. Alan Stern, NASA’s Principal Investigator for its New Horizons mission that successfully explored Pluto and its moons and is currently navigating the Kuiper Belt, as a virtual plenary speaker during its 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 15-18. A respected planetary scientist and author, Dr. Stern serves as Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. His academic research has focused on the Kuiper Belt and… READ MORE >

Senior Engineer for Mars 2020 Rover to Address Mars Society Teleconvention

Dr. Sarah Milkovich, lead Science Systems Engineer for NASA-JPL’s Mars Perseverance rover, scheduled to launch this July, will give a virtual update about the mission to the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, set for October 15-18. During her 14 years at JPL, Dr. Milkovich has specialized in science planning and operations for landed and orbital spacecraft, geomorphology and planetary science research, science communication and the ability to handle nebulous problems. Prior to the Mars 2020 rover mission, she served… READ MORE >

NASA’s Chris McKay to Discuss Mars & Astrobiology at 2020 Mars Society Teleconvention

Dr. Chris McKay, a senior planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center and one of the co-founders of the Mars Underground, will give a virtual plenary talk during the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for October 15-18. A renowned astrobiologist and expert on planetary atmospheres and terraforming, Dr. McKay’s research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origins of life. He is also involved in planning for future Mars missions including human exploration. He has… READ MORE >

Breakthrough Starshot’s Pete Worden to Address 2020 Mars Society Teleconvention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. S. Pete Worden, Executive Director of Breakthrough Starshot, will be joining us virtually as a plenary speaker during our 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention set for October 15-18, 2020. Breakthrough Starshot is a $100 million research and engineering program aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for a new technology, enabling ultra-light unmanned space flight at 20% of the speed of light and to lay the groundwork for a flyby mission to Alpha Centauri within… READ MORE >

Update: Mars Society to Hold 2020 International Teleconvention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention will be convened Thursday-Sunday, October 15-18, 2020 all over the world via the Internet! Through the use of unique technology provided by the TMRO company (Anaheim, CA), it will be possible not only hold debates, panel discussions and presentations, but to allow people from all countries to participate, posing questions and interacting with each other, creating a global teleconvention of a type never before seen…. READ MORE >

Happy 90th Birthday, Buzz!

On behalf of myself and the Mars Society, I’d like to take the occasion of Buzz Aldrin’s 90th birthday to thank him for his heroic role in piloting the first human landing on the Moon and for all the work he has done since then to make sure that occasion wasn’t only the epic achievement of its time, but indeed, “a giant leap for all mankind.” Happy birthday Buzz! We look forward to honoring your 100th with the first “small… READ MORE >

Mars Society Analog in Utah Hosts NASA-Funded All-Teacher Crew

A unique team of educators, designated as Crew 217, completed its one-week crew simulation yesterday at the Mars Society’s Utah-based Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), the largest and longest-running Mars analog facility in the world. Funded by the Utah NASA Space Grant Consortium, the NASA Spaceward Bound Utah program serves as a workshop for K-12 teachers to conduct field science under astronaut simulation conditions. This inaugural crew consisted of middle school teachers from Utah, Colorado and Connecticut and was led… READ MORE >

SEA Dates for 2020 Legislative Blitz on Capitol Hill

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the dates for the Space Exploration Alliance’s 2020 Legislative Blitz in Washington, D.C. will be Sunday, February 23rd through Tuesday, February 25th. The SEA consists of leading U.S. space advocacy groups, including National Space Society, Explore Mars, Moon Society, Federation of Galaxy Explorers, National Society of Black Engineers, Buzz Aldrin’s Human Spaceflight Institute, Students for the Exploration & Development of Space and the Mars Society. Established in 2004, the annual SEA Legislative… READ MORE >

Mars Society to Help Create Mars Technology Start-Ups at 2019 Convention

The Mars Society announced the convening of a special panel discussion entitled “Opportunities for Space Entrepreneurs” on Friday, October 18th at 11:30 am during its 22nd Annual International Mars Society Convention in Los Angeles with the goal of helping attendees start their own companies focused on technologies with dual applications for Mars and Earth. The panel will be introduced by Dr. Alex MacDonald, NASA’s new Chief Economist, and facilitated by James Burk, Senior Manager of Artic Consulting and founding member… READ MORE >

JPL’s Ashwin Vasavada to Address 2019 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Ashwin R. Vasavada, JPL Project Scientist for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), also known as the Curiosity rover, will give a plenary talk about MSL’s current operations on the Red Planet during the 22nd Annual International Mars Society Convention (October 17-20) at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Dr. Vasavada has been the lead scientist for the MSL mission since 2015, having served prior to that as deputy project… READ MORE >

[R.Zubrin] The Tardigrades-on-the-Moon Affair

By Robert Zubrin, National Review, 08.31.19 On April 11, 2019, the Israeli SpaceIL company’s Beresheet (Hebrew for “In the Beginning”) lunar lander crashed on the Moon. Beresheet’s payload, supplied by the non-profit Arch Mission Foundation, was meant to be an informational backup for the Earth. It included a DVD containing 30 million pages of human knowledge, as well as 60,000 etched pages requiring no computer to read, keys to 5,000 languages, and DNA samples from 25 people. According to Arch Mission Foundation chairman… READ MORE >

Debate on NASA Lunar Gateway to be held at Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that a formal debate on NASA’s proposed Lunar Gateway project will take place at the 22nd Annual International Mars Society Convention on the evening of Thursday, October 17th at the University of Southern California. Currently still in development, Lunar Gateway is intended to operate as a small space station in lunar orbit, providing living quarters for astronauts, a lab for science and research, a holding area for rovers and ports for visiting spacecraft…. READ MORE >