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Planning an Expedition to Mars

Last Updated on Friday, 16 April 2010 19:05
Published on Wednesday, 02 March 2005 00:00


A One-Day Symposium to be held in the

British Interplanetary Society's Conference Room27/29 South Lambeth RoadLondon SW8 1SZ

on Monday 24th February 2003 9.30 - 18.00

Amundsen, Scott, Hilary and Tensing - names that conjure up the danger and excitement of exploring the most challenging, remote environments on Earth.

Today, there are few unexplored regions on our home planet, but new challenges await on other worlds. Scientists and engineers are already looking ahead to a time when humans will set foot on the pristine sands of Mars and venture forth to explore a world equivalent in area to the continental land masses of Earth.

Robotic space missions have already shown that our planetary neighbour boasts a highly diverse terrain - volcanoes, canyons, ice caps, deserts, mountains and subterranean systems. Substantial amounts of water may lie just beneath the frozen surface.

What will it be like for the first explorers who set foot on the Red Planet? What conditions can they expect to meet and what environmental challenges will they have to overcome?

To mark the 70th anniversary of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) and the 50th anniversary of the climbing of Everest, the BIS has organized a symposium to discuss various aspects of planning a human expedition to Mars.

Leading scientists from the United States and the UK will compare the environments on Earth and Mars and then investigate the similarities and differences that govern the planning of expeditions on both planets.

Highlights include a discussion of how scientists will search for Martian life - past or present - by Chris McKay of NASA's Ames Research Laboratory; a presentation by NASA's Jeffrey Jones on the medical issues facing humans and animals as they seek to settle a new world; a summary by Peter Read (University of Oxford) of the taxing surface conditions that would-be explorers of Mars would encounter; and an account by Charles Cockell (British Antarctic Survey) of the techniques that may be used to explore the Martian polar ice caps.

The symposium will also include a Mars expedition planning exercise in the afternoon.


Science on Martian Expeditions
Dr. Christopher McKay, NASA Ames Research Center, California

Martian Lessons from Past Earth Expeditions
Dr. Jack Stuster, Anacapa Sciences, Santa Barbara, California

Lessons for Martian Expeditions from the NASA Haughton-Mars Project
Dr. Pascal Lee, SETI Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, California

Mars Expedition Communications
Dr. Stephen Braham, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

Martian Expedition Medicine
Dr. Jeffrey Jones, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

The Explorers Club and Space Exploration
Dr. Richard Wiese, President, Explorers Club of New York

Martian Mountaineering
Keith Cowing, Reston Communications, Virginia

Martian Polar Expeditions
Dr. Charles Cockell (President, Mars Club), British Antarctic Survey

Weather and Climate for Martian Expeditions
Dr. Peter Read, University of Oxford


Dr. Charles CockellBritish Antarctic SurveyHigh CrossMadingley RoadCambridgeCB3 0ETUKTel: + 44 (0)1223-221560E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Suszann ParryExecutive SecretaryThe British Interplanetary Society27/29 South Lambeth RoadLondonSW8 1SZUKTel: +44 (0)207-735-3160Fax: +44 (0)207-820-1504E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BIS Web site:

Date: 18 February 2003

Issued by Peter Bond, RAS Press Officer.