Are you curious about how a human crewed mission to Mars could happen within your lifetime?
In this quick read we'll cover:
- How reaching for Mars is related to the pioneering spirit of space travel
- An incredible upcoming event put on by MIT Enterprise Foundation NW
- Overview of moderator and each panelist of the event and what they'll offer
- What the questions and conclusions mean and a first step to becoming involved
The considerations surrounding such an endeavor are fascinating to most people, which spurs lively discussion, especially when experts and innovators in the field are contributing to such discussions. Pushing the boundaries of innovation and human potential are paramount to considerations of sending humans to Mars and on February 26th MIT Enterprise Foundation Northwest will be presenting an exploration of these questions that will provide insights from experts and innovators into the crucial instances of these considerations. Can humans make it to Mars by 2030? Is a crewed journey to Mars worth the trip? The panelists will dive into these types of questions and provide some answers for the audience. Let’s explore a bit about how we’ve gotten to where we are at now, and how we take the next giant leap for humankind.
Missions to Mars and beyond will utilize forms of technology that were not available during the golden age of space programs
Neil Armstrong was the first human to step foot on a planetary body other than Earth. On the 25th anniversary of the moon landing Armstrong spoke to a group of the country's brightest young students in science, sharing; “To you we say, we have only completed the beginning. We leave you much that is undone.”
Neil Armstrong always seemed to be looking beyond the Moon
The 20th century space programs that led to the 1969 moon landing are considered by many to be some of the greatest markers ever in human achievement. “They can land a person on the moon!” many often exclaim to illustrate frustration when faced with limitations of everyday annoyances. The grandeur of the moon landing was a completion in what lead up to it, and yet as Neil Armstrong's inspirational words remind us, there is much that is undone.
Mars is the logical next giant leap for humankind. While returning with crewed missions to the moon is of potential benefit, and sending probes out to points of interest like Europa are valuable, the prospect of sending humans to Mars is something virtually all people of Earth understand to be possible and many expect to witness in their lifetime.
The considerations to be made surrounding the nature of crewed missions to Mars is vast, complicated, and fascinating. The February 26th MIT Enterprise Foundation Northwest event Beyond Our Planet will present a discussion for these considerations to be explored by panelists that include the brightest minds around currently examining the questions and concerns that envelop the quandary of humankind reaching Mars.
James Burk is an engineering manager and software developer who sits on the Steering Committee of the Mars Society - an organization pioneering the exploration of Mars. James also leads the MarsVR project to create research and training experiences using the latest virtual reality technologies that have direct application to human space exploration. As well, James chairs the Marspedia online encyclopedia project. As part of the panel James will offer insights for what progress has been made for a Mars mission and where that progress can continue to lead forward.
To have the best chance at evaluating considerations, it is ideal to have the insights of those with vast levels of experience in space exploration. Astronauts bring to attention aspects of space travel that terrestrials might overlook. Dr. Soyeon Yi is South Korea’s first and only astronaut. On April 8, 2008, she launched into space on-board Soyuz TMA-12. Dr. Yi’s 11-day mission at the International Space Station included experiments contributing to South Korea’s science text books and science channel television lectures. During atmospheric re-entry Soyeon experienced 16-G force (4X the average!). She landed in the remote plains of Kazakhstan where nomads were the first to welcome her back. Having had this out of world experience Dr. Yi is likely to point out some considerations for space travel that no one will expect!
Stan Shull is an industry analyst and strategic advisor to space and software companies. As an aerospace engineer, Stan worked on satellites and military space programs as well as NASA’s Space Station. As a business development executive, he led strategic planning and alliances for aerospace and software companies. Stan offers a big picture overview on the business, policy, technology, and economic challenges of a mission to Mars. An expert on the emerging space economy, he lends a perspective on the roles that industry and government can play in the effort. Stan appreciates the value of engaging the public, and he believes the exploration and development of space will have a huge and enduring impact on the future of humanity.
Dynamic Leader of Engineering Programs and Cross Functional Teams, Matthew Gebert applies engineering and manufacturing principles to produce innovative solutions for high tech civilian and government customers. Matt has a record of developing new products and streamlining existing production lines. Skilled in leadership and creative Solutions Matt will be a resource in helping those who have something to offer to understand the ways in which their strengths could play a role. Indeed the effort of a Mars mission will require global support and collaboration, and Matt can offer insights into how that can develop.
The panel will be moderated by MXTreality CEO Jeff Rayner. Jeff has been passionately interested in space, tech and big data his entire life. After studying Astrophysics at college, for the past 20 years he has been finding various excuses to include them in his work and personal time. His company innovates with the latest tech (drones, 360 cameras, VR, AR, MR and AI) to improve everyday challenges through gamification. MXTreality is currently creating three space themed Virtual Reality solutions, one for commercial training, one educational, and one just for fun. Jeff and his team are driving the innovation that will improve our future decisions and our lives.
With such a fascinating group of panelists, the event is sure to be a fun and thought provoking discussion on a subject that will drive many areas of industry and culture over the 21st century. Neil Armstrong described his generation’s contribution to space exploration saying “We have only completed the beginning.” Now the generations that have followed must take up the endeavor to further the mission. Take part by attending the panel discussion on the 26th and learn more about where things will head as more and more people become involved and committed to the human exploration of Mars and beyond. More info can be found on the MIT Enterprise Foundation North West official facebook event page and details are listed below. Seeya there!