Is Mars our first step out into the galaxy? NASA seem to think so. They’re currently planning Mars 2020, a rover mission with a planned launch in 2020 that’s intended to investigate the planet. And they’re not the only ones with eyes on the Martian prize: the Mars One organisation will attempt to land the first humans on Mars in 2035 in order to establish a permanent human colony there.
If the thought of exploring an unknown planet fills you with both wonderment and fear (come on, we’ve all seen the movies), you’re not alone. Just take it from one of the shortlisted Mars One crew members, Josh Richards.
Fascinated by the thought of exploring the Red Planet? Sydney Science Festival’s centrepiece event is Life on Mars: The 2020 Rover Mission, hitting Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall on Thursday August 17.
The event will feature a panel of NASA scientists and astrophysicists as they discuss the potential for Martian life and the looming robotic mission.
Graham Phillips (formerly of ABC’s Catalyst) will lead the discussion alongside Australian geologist Dr Abigail Allwood from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, physicist Professor Paul Davies from Arizona State University, NASA Mars 2020 rover mission program scientists Dr Mitch Schulte and UNSW’s Professor Martin Van Kranendonk.
But this event is far from your average boring uni lecture. Thanks to the interactive quality of the lecture you’ll get to ask all the questions: is there already life on Mars? How will people survive on Mars? Is Mars our first step in spreading out in the galaxy? Can you actually grow potatoes on Mars or was Matt Damon kidding himself?