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Beyond our Planet: MARS MIT Enterprise Forum Event February 26th

February 11, 2020

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!