Mars Exploration and Settlement

Mars Exploration and Settlement

The human exploration of Mars has been a dream for generations awaiting the convergence of technical capability, national will and the right timing. The aerospace industry has studied Mars exploration approaches since the 1960s. This generation has within its grasp the technical maturity to achieve the Mars goal in the 2030s or earlier. This track shall explore many of the competing visions for how humanity will make its first trips to the red planet. Experts will address NASAs latest Mars Design Reference Mission, Zubrin’s Mars Direct approach, Buzz Aldrin’s Cycler system, Musk’s architecture and the Mars One approach.


Chair: Dr. Robert Zubrin

Dr. Robert Zubrin is the founder and President of the Mars Society, as well as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors. Dr. Zubrin is also President of Pioneer Astronautics, an aerospace R&D company located in Lakewood, Colorado. Formerly a Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, he holds a Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Washington. Viewed as a respected author and a renown expert on Mars, Dr. Zubrin has testified in recent years before several government committees and in 2009 spoke in front of the Augustine Commission on the subject of the future of America’s human space flight program. He is the inventor of several unique concepts for space propulsion and exploration, the author of more than 200 published technical and non-technical papers in the field, as well the non-fiction books including “The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must.” He is the founder of the Mars Society; an international organization dedicated to furthering the exploration and settlement of Mars by both public and private means. In that capacity, he personally led the construction and operation of a human Mars exploration training station on Devon Island, an uninhabited island in the Canadian Arctic 900 miles from the North Pole. Prior to his work in astronautics, Dr. Zubrin was employed in areas of thermonuclear fusion research, nuclear engineering, radiation protection and as a high school science teacher.