Colloquium: “Human Exploration from Earth to Mars: Becoming Interplanetary” September 25, 2018, at 4 PM

Dava Newman, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics, MIT
George P. Williams, Jr. Lecture Hall, (Olin 101)
Tuesday, September 25, 2018, at 4:00 PM

There will be a reception with refreshments at 3:30 PM in the lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


Recent space science missions to Pluto and Jupiter, the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, and orbital missions to monitor Spaceship Earth will be highlighted. Humanity will become interplanetary, and is on a journey to Mars. We are closer to reaching the Red Planet with human explorers than we have ever been in our history. Space agencies, academia and industry are working right now on the technologies and missions that will enable human “boots on Mars” in the 2030s. We are testing advanced technologies for the next giant leaps of exploration. From solar electric propulsion to cutting edge life support systems, dvanced space suits, to the first crops grown in space, the journey to Mars is already unfolding in tangible ways today for tomorrow.

A three-stage plan will be highlighted – from missions close to Earth involving commercial partners and the International Space Station, advancing to missions in Earth–Moon orbit, or deep space, and finally moving on to Mars, where explorers will be practically independent from spaceship Earth. The innovation required to realize humanity becoming interplanetary cuts across science, human exploration and technology.

Fundamentally, education, knowledge and access are the keys to exploring our solar system, Spaceship Earth, and ourselves. The urgency of education about our own planet is shown through supercomputer data visualizations accessible through online open platforms. The presentation concludes with an inclusive message on STEAMD (science-technology-engineering-arts-math-design) about changing the conversation to include everyone: the artists, designers, poets and makers. We are all astronauts on Spaceship Earth!

Eleanor Roosevelt once said that the “future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Note: Professor Newman will also give a public talk Exploring Space for Earth: Earth’s Vital Signs Revealed at 7 PM on Monday, September 24, 2018 at the Porter Byrum Welcome Center.


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