Press Release

Report Released: Seventh Community Workshop for Achievability and Sustainability of Human Exploration of Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
July 2, 2020
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Explore Mars, Inc. and the American Astronautical Society (AAS) are pleased to announce the release of the report of the Seventh Community Workshop for Achievability and Sustainability of Human Exploration of Mars (AM VII). AM VII was held at the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, during November of 2019. The workshop examined the synergies between the human exploration of the Moon and Mars and assembled leading experts in the exploration of both planetary bodies, including scientists, technologists, and policy professionals. Workshop participants identified and detailed those activities proposed for lunar exploration that have the strongest value in support of human Mars missions in the 2030s.
“As NASA’s Artemis Program proceed and we plan our return to the Moon, it is essential to do so in a manner that advances the goal of human missions to Mars in the 2030s,” stated Explore Mars CEO, Chris Carberry.

The participants of AM VII were tasked with critically assessing how performing lunar tests and/or pathfinding operations, such as In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), might reduce the cost, technical risk, and schedule for human missions to Mars, that is, “feed forward” to human missions to Mars.
The workshop consisted of two working groups, one that focused on Capabilities and the other that concentrated on In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU).
Top findings from the workshop include:

  • The Artemis Program, including Artemis Base Camp, surface operations, and Gateway, has high feed-forward value for the human exploration of Mars, and the International Space Station provides an additional testbed to prepare for Mars. “The Capabilities Team found that both the ISS and Artemis efforts provide risk burn-down for humans to Mars in the 2030s,” commented AMVII Co-Chair, Joe Cassady. “It is just one more example of how constancy of purpose will get us there if we maintain our focus.”
  • The resources that are known to exist on both the Moon and Mars need further exploration to show that they are reserves that can be used to enable humans to survive and thrive at both locations. According to AMVII Co-Chair, Clive Neal, “A critical next step for using in-situ resources on the Moon, and eventually Mars, is understanding if the identified resources are reserves that can be extracted and used economically. The process we use to define lunar reserves will be directly applicable to Mars, even though the underlying geology is different.”
  • Learning to operate and maintain ISRU systems on the Moon will reveal issues that are unanticipated and will directly inform long-term operations planning for Mars. 

“As we truly move toward a new era of human space exploration, the discussion and guidance that come out of this workshop are essential for successful and sustainable missions to the Moon and Mars, ” said AAS Executive Director Jim Way. “We’re once again pleased to partner with Explore Mars on this valuable initiative and look forward to continued collaboration in the future.” 

Explore Mars, the AAS, and our partners are now beginning to plan for the next phase of the AM workshop series that will further build on the professional collaborations that we have achieved to date.

Full report

SpaceRef staff editor.