an Explore Mars Event

May 25-27, 2021

10:00 AM to 3:00 PM EDT Daily

Explore Mars, Inc. is pleased to announce the first Mars Innovation Forum (Mars-IF), which is scheduled for May 25-27, 2021. This virtual conference will examine the many innovations that are required for an achievable and sustainable human presence on Mars and how these technologies/capabilities will benefit life on Earth.

The Mars Innovation Forum will be the first of a series of programs (conferences, workshops, webinars) that will (1) define the challenges of sustainability on Mars, (2) recruit new, diverse communities to humanity’s efforts to explore deep space, (3) create new strategies to solve the defined challenges, and (4) identify potentials benefits and markets on Earth.


May 25, 2021 | Day 1

What innovations are needed to make possible the first human missions to Mars?
10:00-10:55 AM EDT | Innovating for Mars/Benefits to Earth
  • Moderator: J.R. Edward (Lockheed Martin | Chief Technology Office; Executive Secretary for the Corporate Technology Advisory Group)
  • Walt Engelund (NASA | Deputy Associate Administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate)
  • Dr. Tiffany Vora (Singularity University | Faculty & Vice Chair, Digital Biology & Medicine)
11:00-11:55 AM EDT | Environmental systems
  • Moderator: Dr. Shawna Pandya (Orbital Assembly Corporation | Director of Medical Research)
  • Darren Samplatsky (Collins Aerospace | Associate Director, Business Development | Mission Systems)
  • Dr. Kavya Manyapu (NASA | Extra Vehicular Activities "EVA" Operations)
12:30-1:25 PM EDT | Powering a Sustainable Presence on Mars
  • Moderator: Joe Cassady (Aerojet Rocketdyne | Executive Director, Space)
  • Peter McGrath (Intuitive Machines)
  • Lee Mason (NASA | Deputy Chief Engineer, Space Technology Mission Directorate)
  • Erik Nygaard (BWXT | Director of Research and Engineering)
1:30-2:30 PM EDT | Deep Space Communications and Bandwidth
  • Moderator: Lisa May (Lockheed Martin | Chief Technologist, Advanced Programs)
2:30-3:00 PM EDT | Bhavya Lal (NASA | Acting Chief of Staff) interviewed by Beth Mund (Casual Space | Host)
7:00-8:00 PM EDT | Universal Access to Space: It is not rocket science
  • Interviewer: Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds (Higher Education Universal Strategist)
  • Eddie Ndopu (Activist & Humanitarian)

May 26, 2021 | Day 2

What innovations are needed to make possible the first human missions to Mars?
10:00-10:55 AM EDT | Utilizing Resources
  • Moderator: Richard M. Davis (NASA | Assistant Director for Science and Exploration)
  • Michael Hecht (MIT Haystack Observatory | Principal Investigator of MOXIE)
  • Dr. Kris Zacny (Honeybee Robotics | Vice President)
  • Jerry Sanders (NASA | In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) System Capability Leadership Team (SCLT) Lead)
11:00-11:55 AM EDT | Feeding Mars
  • Moderator: Janet Ivey (Explore Mars | President)
  • Shahreen Reza(Mission: Space Food | CEO and Co-Founder)
  • Pascal Rosenfeld(Aleph Farms)
  • Scott Bryson (Orbital Farms)
  • Gioia Massa (NASA | Project Scientist)
12:30-1:25 PM EDT | Building/Creating on Mars
  • Moderator: Mat Kaplan (Planetary Radio | Host)
  • Lynn Rothschild (NASA | Senior Scientist)
  • Daniel Tompkins (GrowMars | Founder, Agricultural Scientist)
  • John Vickers (NASA | Principal Technologist
2:00-3:00 PM EDT | TBA

May 27, 2021 | Day 3

What innovations are needed in machine/human interactions to support missions to and the settlement of Mars?
10:00-10:55 AM EDT | Innovating for Mars/Benefits to Earth
  • Moderator: Armin Ellis (Exploration Institute)
  • Dr. Steve Chien (NASA JPL | Senior Research Scientist, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems)
  • Colin Alstad (IBM | Senior Data Scientist, Blue Tech Innovation Lab, Space Tech)
11:00-11:55 AM EDT | Human Health and Wellbeing
  • Moderator: Saralyn Mark (iGiant | Founder and President)
  • Esther Dyson (Wellville | Angel Investor)
  • Dr. Shawna Pandya (Orbital Assembly Corporation | Director of Medical Research)
  • Sharmi Watkins (NASA | Assistant Director for Exploration, Human Health and Performance Directorate)
  • Alires Almon (Deep Space Predictive Research Group, Founder | Mental Health Center of Denver, Director of Innovation)
12:30-1:25 PM EDT | Human/Machine interaction on the surface of Mars
  • Moderator: Beth Mund (Casual Space | Host)
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark (iGiant | Founder and President)
  • Peggy Wu (Raytheon Technologies | Associate Director & Principal Scientist: Cognitive Psychology, AI, HCI, Mixed Reality, Decision Theoretics)
  • Jackie Morie (X-Prize | Senior Advisor, Prize Operations)
  • Dr. Terry Fong (NASA | Director of the Intelligent Robotics Group)
1:30-2:30 PM EDT | An Interview with Vint Cerf (Google: Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist


Vint Cerf

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Dr. Shawna Pandya

Orbital Assembly Corporation
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Edward "Eddie" Ndopu

Activist and Humanitarian
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Beth Mund

Casual Space | Host
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Shahreen Reza

Mission: Space Food
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Alires Almon

Deep Space Predictive Research Group
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Dr. Terry Fong

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Dr. Kris Zacny

Honeybee Robotics
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Dr. Kavya Manyapu

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Dr. Steve Chien

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Ester Dyson

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J.R. Edwards

Lockheed Martin
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Bhavya Lal

NASA | Acting Chief of Staff
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Walt Engelund

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Sharmi Watkins

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Dr. Tiffany Vora

Singularity University
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Lisa May

Lockheed Martin
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Peggy Wu

Raytheon Technologies
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Daniel Tompkins

Grow Mars
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Armin Ellis

Exploration Institute
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Jackie Morie

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Joe Cassady

Aerojet Rocketdyne
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Michael Hecht

MIT Haystack Observatory
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Pascal Rosenfeld

Horizon Innovation | Aleph Farms Europe

Pascal Rosenfeld

Aleph Farms
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