“Mars Week 2001”, a three-day conference about the exploration of Mars, will
be held at the MIT campus in Cambridge on October 26-28. Mars Week is an
annual conference discussing the engineering, scientific, political and
social aspects of Mars exploration. Topics will include present and future
missions, including the prospects for the human exploration and settlement
of the Red Planet.

The event will kick off with the arrival of NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft
at Mars on Tuesday, October 23. The MIT chapter of the Mars Society will
monitor the spacecraft’s entry into Mars orbit from the MIT campus. This
will provide an informal start to the Mars Week 2001 program.

The main program begins on Friday, October 26 with an evening reception and
introductory speakers. Saturday, October 27, will be a full day of
Mars-related activity. Sunday, October 28, will include several activities
for children, and continue the program of speakers and technical

Mars Week attracts scientists, engineers, astronauts, students, political
activists and business leaders from throughout the United States. Technical
events will include discussion of two possible spacecraft with MIT
participation. The “Translife” mission recently announced by the Mars
Society will fly mice, and possibly other animals, in space for two months
under conditions that simulate Martian gravity. A second possible spacecraft
mission would return a small quantity of rock and soil from the surface of
Mars for laboratory study.

This year’s sponsors include the Mars Society, MIT’s Undergraduate
Association, MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT’s
Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, the Massachusetts
Space Grant Consortium, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and

The student-run conference is organized by the MIT Mars Society, a chapter
of the Mars Society, an international organization founded in 1998 to
further the goal of human spaceflight to Mars through public outreach and
technical research. One example of the Mars Society’s research program is
the new Translife space mission. Another example is the Mars Arctic Research
Station in the Canadian Arctic, a simulation of a manned Mars base under
conditions as closely resembling Mars as is possible on our planet.

  • http://web.mit.edu/mars/marsweek/
  • marsweek@mit.edu