Press Release

NASA Scientist to Address Human Exploration of Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
May 21, 2009
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AIAA “Distinguished Lecture” Topic: “From Earth to Mars: Steps Toward the First Human Mission to Mars”

The Sydney Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce that Dr Pascal Lee, NASA scientist and co-founder of the Mars Institute, will deliver the 2009 AIAA Distinguished Lecture, “From Earth to Mars: Steps Toward The First Human Mission to Mars,” at several locations around the country, from Monday, May 25 through Monday, June 1. These events are free and all are welcome.

Dr Lee will examine the what, why, when, and how of a human mission to Mars, with special emphasis on the how. “The first steps towards a human journey to the Red Planet are already underway, as we continue to explore extreme environments on Earth and prepare for our return to the Moon,” Dr Lee has said. “Human journeys to near-Earth asteroids and to Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos, will also help pave the way. In time, humans will be ready for their first missions to the Red Planet.” Dr Lee will speak at the following locations:

– Sydney: Monday, May 25, 6:00 p.m. – Farrell Lecture Theatre, PNR Building, off Shepherd Street, University of Sydney, Darlington (doors open at 5:45 p.m.)

– Adelaide: Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 p.m. – Union Hall, off Victoria Drive, University of Adelaide, Adelaide (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

– Brisbane: Thursday, May 28, 6:00 p.m. – Raybould Lecture Theatre, Hawken Engineering Building, Cooper Road, University of Queensland, St Lucia (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

– Canberra: Friday, May 29, 6:00 p.m. – Menzies Theatre, National Convention Centre, Constitution Avenue, Canberra (doors open at 5:45 p.m.)

– Melbourne: Monday, June 1, 6:30 p.m. – Casey Plaza Lecture Theatre, Level 4, Building #10, Bowen Street, RMIT University, Melbourne (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

Dr Kimberley Clayfield, chair of AIAA’s Sydney section, says it is an honour to have one of the world’s leading space scientists visiting Australia, particularly during the International Year of Astronomy. “This is a great opportunity for Australians to hear about steps being taken towards the first human mission to Mars, and how Australia may play a role,” she said.

Dr Lee is Chairman of the Mars Institute, a planetary scientist with the SETI Institute, and the Director of the Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center. He has worked extensively in the Arctic and Antarctica, viewed as “analogs” for the Moon and Mars. He first proposed the Cold Early Mars Model based on his geological field work in Earth’s polar regions. Dr Lee was recently scientist/pilot in the first field test of NASA’s new Lunar Electric Rover, a small pressurised rover concept currently under development for the return of humans to the Moon. He has been brought to Australia by members of AIAA as part of the AIAA Distinguished Lecturer Series.

For more information about Dr Lee’s lecture, please contact Michael West, AIAA Sydney Section, at 0421062650 or, or visit

AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defence. For more information, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.