Press Release

Affording Human Exploration of Mars Workshop Summary

By SpaceRef Editor
January 14, 2014
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Affording Human Exploration of Mars Workshop Summary

December 3 – 5, 2013, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, DC — January 14, 2014 — A global working group of more than sixty leaders from more than thirty government, industry and academic organizations issued a joint statement today announcing consensus that a human mission to Mars is both feasible and affordable assuming policy consistency among international space agencies and levels of funding consistent with pre-sequestration levels and modest increases annually in line with inflation.

This group launched this initiative with the goal of building stakeholder consensus on what is necessary to make human Mars exploration feasible, sustainable, and affordable within two decades. To begin this international effort, Explore Mars, Inc. and the American Astronautical Society (AAS) hosted the Affording Mars Workshop on December 3-5, 2013 at George Washington University. 

Participants assessed scenarios for compelling human and robotic exploration of Mars, the role of the International Space Station (ISS) over the coming decade, possible cost-effective “bridge” missions in the 2020s to follow ISS, key capabilities required for initial missions, international partnerships, and an actionable definition of affordability and sustainability.

Leaders agreed on six core principles:

1.Sending humans to Mars is affordable with the right partnerships, commitment to efficiency, constancy of purpose, and policy/budget consistency.

2.Human exploration of Mars is technologically feasible by the 2030s.

3.Mars should be the priority for human space flight over the next two to three decades.

4.Between now and 2030, investments and activities in the human exploration of space must be prioritized in a manner that advances the objective of initial human missions to Mars beginning in the 2030s.

5.Utilizing the International Space Station (ISS) is essential for human missions to deep space.

6.Continuation of robotic precursor missions to Mars throughout the 2020’s is essential for the success of human missions to Mars. 

“This is no small achievement,” said Jim Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of AAS. “This is the first time such a diverse group has come together to agree that sending humans to Mars is both a priority and possible.”

Initiated by the December workshop, working groups will meet regularly in 2014 to develop scenario and cost analyses, Level 0 and Level 1 requirements and strategies for fully-utilizing the space station.

“Exploration is critical to innovation and the prosperity of the country,” stated Explore Mars Executive Director, Chris Carberry, adding, “We can explore Mars without a major increase in funding so long as we are able to maintain a consistent policy and build strong partnerships. If we are steadfast and united in the cause, we will have the technology and the capability to make Mars a part of our human story.”

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SpaceRef staff editor.