Explore Mars, Inc. and the American Astronautical Society are pleased to announce the release of the Third Community Mars Affordability and Sustainability Workshop (AM III) Report (link: http://www.exploremars.org/affording-mars). AM III was held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. from December 2 – 4, 2015. This third workshop in the series was attended by approximately 60 professionals, all experts in their respective fields, from industrial and commercial sectors, academia, and NASA, along with European colleagues.

AM III conducted side-by-side comparisons of potential Mars mission architectures and strategies, discussed potential science objectives enabled by current architectures for human missions to Mars, and examined how to design and advance a humans-to-Mars program that is fiscally and politically sustainable. The output of the workshop consists of observations, findings, and recommendations intended to inform space agency leadership and national policymakers.

Dr. Harley Thronson, Vice-President for Programs of the American Astronautical Society, emphasized the importance of this series of workshops. “Our goal from the start has been to involve representatives of major stakeholders in astronaut and robotic exploration of Mars in assessing the most credible exploration scenarios and seeking common features among them that make them affordable.”

The workshop began the process of coordinating the development of scenarios for human exploration with the objectives of the Mars science communities. Among the many findings of the workshop were that there is a pressing need to close key strategic knowledge gaps and that coordinated robotic and astronaut precursor missions are required to do so. In addition, the workshop found that a set of science objectives for human landings should be vetted with the broad science community, and recommended that high-priority human-scale technologies needed for entry, descent, and landing be pursued immediately. The workshop also found that partnerships, both domestic and international, are crucial, and that budgetary consistency in the near term as well as the long term is essential for sustainability.

“The Mars Affordability and Sustainability programs have given us a unique opportunity to bring key players together to advance the prospect of creating a sustainable framework for human missions to Mars,” commented Explore Mars CEO, Chris Carberry. “While there is still much that needs to be done, we have been making solid progress each year in moving this goal forward.”

Over the upcoming month, the Third Mars Affordability and Sustainability Workshop (AM III) Report will be distributed to stakeholders, policymakers, and others, and elements of the AM III Report will be incorporated into Explore Mars’ upcoming 2016 Humans to Mars Report (H2MR). The 2016 H2MR is due to be released during Explore Mars’ Humans to Mars Summit, which will be held in Washington, D.C. from Tuesday, May 17-Thursday, May 19, 2016.

About Explore Mars

Explore Mars was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and/or improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. In addition, to embed the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula. Explore Mars, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.