Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 01 2014

Mars or Bust!

By Christopher Durso


Illustration by Carmen Segovia

The technology is the easiest part about getting to Mars. “What is keeping us from Mars is not our capacity to do it,” said Chris Carberry, executive director and co-founder of Explore Mars, whose goal is to advance the cause of landing humans on Mars by the 2030s. “What is keeping us from Mars is the political incentive to do it.”

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That’s where H2M 2014 came in. It’s a three-day conference for what Carberry calls “the space community” that was designed more or less to help NASA make the case that going to Mars is feasible, practical, and necessary. “I think [NASA] knew that they needed to do a better job framing how what they’re doing now, what they’re developing — the rockets, the other stuff — how that leads us on the pathway to Mars,” Carberry said. “That’s been a little bit fuzzy.”

Humans to Mars (H2M) Summit
April 22–24, 2014
George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
h2m2014.exploremars.org

Attendees: 650

Sessions Included:

› “American Competitiveness and Mars”
› “Living Off the Land: In Situ Resource Utilization”
› “The Search for Life on Mars”
› “Affording Mars: Breaking the $Trillion Myth”

WHY MARS?

“There are so many positive things that come out of it in addition to exploration and science — innovation and inspiration,” Carberry said. “No other federal agency [as NASA] and very few other fields cover so many different disciplines that can have a positive impact on the country.”

LIFTOFF

“We had the engine guys talking about these technical details about the pathway,” Carberry said. “What and how are we going to do it? What capabilities and what spaceships, essentially, do we need? Because it’s going to be a long trip, this first mission.”

GETTING BUZZED

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a member of the Explore Mars Board of Advisors, spoke and signed copies of his book Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration. “It’s always good to have the second guy to step on the moon,” Carberry said, chuckling. “Buzz is a very passionate guy, and he as much as anyone else wants us to send humans to Mars.”

Explore Mars webcast H2M live for anyone who wanted to watch, and NASA TV and C-SPAN also broadcast the program. “Based on what we know these [outlets] tend to get,” Carberry said, “we certainly had over a hundred-thousand people tune in to various parts of the conference. That’s not too bad for a space conference, or any conference, really.”

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