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Mars: Exploration and Settlement

How soon will humans set foot on Mars? When will we be able to live there in permanent settlements? What will we do once we are established there, and will we ever make Mars a second home for humanity?

These and many other subjects will be examined in the Mars Exploration and Settlement sessions during ISDC. Prominent speakers, carefully selected from leaders in the field, will examine these topics as well as transport to the red planet, utilization of resources found there, robotic precursor missions, private transportation and development, and more.

It is well known that NASA has had eyes on Mars for a human expedition for over 50 years. Private industry has followed only recently, and of this group, Elon Musk of SpaceX is in the lead. He has made bold statements about his new Big Falcon Rocket and its ability to transport large cargoes, and numbers of people, in each flight to Mars. He intends to begin these journeys in the early 2020s with his BFR, and further plans to build a fleet of these giant, reusable rockets to enable regular round-trips to the planet. But this will entail massive infrastructure, which includes orbital refueling, fuel creation and storage depots on Mars itself, and more. Who will pay for this?

Finally, he will need a ready supply of people who are willing to go, and who are able to pay for the privilege. His long-range business model is to be able to transport people for as little as $200,000 one-way.

 NASA, of course, continues to plan for a government-run expedition in the 2030s, possibly in cooperation with private industry. Crewed international missions have been discussed by Russia and China. International efforts, with Russia, Europe and possibly China have also been discussed. How this will play out is a subject to be discussed at the conference.

Once we do reach the red planet, what will we do there? How and where will we live? These are open questions—Musk, for one, defers to others to fulfill these roles—and many have stepped forward with ideas. Be sure not to miss the Mars sessions.

ISDC 2018 runs from May 24-27.  The Mars Symposium is all day on Friday May 25, with additional programming Thursday May 24.  Registration information can be found here: Attend ISDC

 

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