The JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE: Exploring Eternity with Noble Laureate Dr. John Mather
Join us on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 2:00pm EST for a special webinar featuring Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr. John C. Mather. Moderated by Planetary Radio host, Mat Kaplan, Mather and Kaplan will discuss the current status and expectations for the James Webb Space Telescope over the next decade. Launched on December 25, 2021, and after a month's journey, JWST arrived on January 24, 2022 at the Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 2 (L2), which is approximately one million miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth


Join us at 1:00 pm EST on Thursday, January 14th for our first webinar of 2021, which is entitled, "It's iGiant Time for Precision Innovation in Space." This session will feature Dr. Saralyn Mark, President and Founder of iGiant. The discussion will be facilitated by Explore Mars President, Janet Ivey.

As we prepare to send both women and men to the Moon and on to Mars, mission planners must take into consideration that men and women adapt to space differently, where even small differences significantly impact the quality and safety of life, including astronaut work performance. It is imperative that NASA and its commercial space partners address these differences in how they plan and conduct missions, how they develop products such as spacesuits, high performance clothing including liquid cooling and ventilation garments, tools, hardware and machine-human interfaces, and how they establish extravehicular activity (EVA) training protocols and medical guidelines for countermeasures and precision medicine.

MARS has MOXIE, with Michael Hecht, Principal Investigator

Join us at 1:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, April 28th for a conversation with for a replay of a conversation that Explore Mars President Janet Ivey had with Michael Hecht, the Principal Investigator of the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) mission, technology demonstration experiment aboard the Perseverance Rover. If successful, MOXIE will manufacture oxygen from the carbon dioxide Martian atmosphere.

The session will be followed by live Q & A with Michael Hecht.

Marc Hartzman, Author, THE BIG BOOK OF MARS, a Conversation

Join us at 1:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 11th for a conversation with Marc Hartzman, author of the book, The Big Book of Mars. As indicated by the book’s subtitle, From Ancient Egypt to The Martian, A Deep-Dive into Our Obsession with the Red Planet, Hartzman’s work delves into humanity’s longstanding love affair with the Red Planet, as reflected in culture, religion, entertainment, science, and exploration.

Panelists will include:

Facilitator: Joe Cassady (Executive director, Space, Aerojet Rocketdyne)

Marc Hartzman (Author, The Big Book of Mars)

INGENUITY: Taking Flight on Mars

Join us for the rescheduled webinar entitled, "Ingenuity: Taking Flight on Mars", that will take place on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 1:00 pm EST. This webinar will feature Joshua Ravich, the Mechanical Engineering lead for the Ingenuity Mars helicopter project, who will be joined by Explore Mars President, Janet Ivey. Josh and Janet will discuss the ambitious mission of Ingenuity, which, if successful, will be the first aircraft (helicopter) to fly on Mars. Ingenuity is scheduled to land on Mars aboard the Perseverance rover on February 18, 2021.

Panelists will include:

Facilitator: Janet Ivey (President, Explore Mars, Inc.)

Joshua Ravich (NASA JPL; Ingenuity, Mechanical Engineering lead)

Lessons from COVID-19: And how to apply them to Mars Exploration

Join us for the Explore Mars Web Event, “Lessons from COVID-19: And how to apply to Mars exploration” that will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 12:00 pm EST. This session is a continuation of a panel that was held during the virtual Humans to Mars Summit on August 31, 2020 and will discuss how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis can provide lessons that can benefit future human missions to Mars.

Panelists will include:

  • Moderator: Shawna Pandya (Physician; Citizen-Scientist Astronaut Candidate; Aquanaut)
  • Marc O’Griofa (NASA: NEEMO Aquanaut; COVID19 Centre for the Homeless: Physician)
  • Carole Dangoisse (Belgian ICU physician / ESA MD at Concordia Station, Antarctica)
  • Nathan Smith (University of Manchester in the United Kingdom: Research Fellow)

The Moon in 2024/Mars in 2033: Opportunities and Challenges

Join us for a special webinar entitled, "The Moon in 2024/Mars in 2033: Opportunities and Challenges" that is scheduled for Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm EDT.

Panelists will include:

  • Moderator: Jeff Foust (Space News: Senior Staff Writer)
  • Kathryn Lueders (NASA: Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Associate Administrator)
  • Mary Lynne Dittmar (Coalition for Deep Space Exploration: President and CEO)
  • James Reuter (NASA: Space Technology Mission Directorate, Associate Administrator)

This extraordinary group of experts will discuss many of the big picture opportunities and challenges of achieving our country’s ambitious plans to return to the Moon later this decade and then to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. Topics will include architecture and technological plans, as well as policy, budgetary, and other key elements required to accomplish these goals.

REALIZING MARS: Diversity’s Critical role in Achieving Mars Exploration

Join us at 12:00 pm EDT on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 for a webinar called REALIZING MARS: Diversity’s Critical role in Achieving Mars Exploration. Dr. Sian Proctor will moderate this panel of successful individuals who will share their exploration perspectives and career experiences within the space and technology communities. This panel will be Part 1 of a multi-part series of diversity conversations that will be conducted by Explore Mars over the next several months. In this diversity webinar series, Dr. Proctor will be leading the discussion regarding how Explore Mars and the space community can help to assure that when humanity returns to the Moon and then goes on to Mars, the astronauts, scientists, engineers, and future settlers will reflect the full diversity of Earth.

Panelists will include:

  • Moderator: Dr. Sian Proctor (Geoscience professor, Analog astronaut, science communicator)
  • J.R. Edwards (Lockheed Martin, Chief Technology Office/Enterprise Business Transformation Office)
  • Shawna Pandya (Physician, Citizen Scientist-Astronaut Candidate & Aquanaut, Martial Artist)
  • Edward Gonzales(Principal of STEM Engagement for Diversity and Minorities at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
  • Shytoya Palmer (Auburn University, Engineering student)

DESIGNING MARS: Form & Function for Living on Mars

Join us at 1:00 pm EDT on Thursday, June 25, 2020 for the webinar DESIGNING MARS: Form & Function of Living on Mars. Panelists will discuss innovative approaches of how Mars habitats can maximize efficiency as well as crew health and happiness.

Panelists will include:

  • Moderator: Beth Mund (Host, Casual Space)
  • Vera Mulyani (CEO, Founder & Executive Director of Marschitecture at Mars City Design
  • Anastasia Prosina (Founder & CEO of Stellar Amenities, Space Architect)
  • Michal Ziso (Architect; Founder, Ziso)

FEEDING MARS: Innovation and the Future of Agriculture

Join us at 1:00 pm EDT on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 for the webinar FEEDING MARS: Innovation and the Future of Agriculture. Panelists will discuss current research and challenges for food production on Mars including agriculture, cell grown meat, 3D printing, synthetic biology, and other important topics. Panelists will include:

  • Moderator: Graham Lau (The Cosmobiologist)
  • Sian Proctor (Geoscientist, Analog Astronaut)
  • Morgan Irons (Founder & Chief Scientist, Deep Space Ecology)
  • Mike Selden (CEO, Finless Foods)
  • Rafael Loureiro (Professor of Botany, Winston Salem State University)

THE ARTEMIS GENERATION: Young Professionals Building the Path to MARS

All major space companies have one thing in common: Individuals thirty-five and under are a major part of workforce building the technology to get Humans to Mars. Join us on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 3:00pm EDT for a panel called The Artemis Generation: How Young Professionals Are Building the Path to The Red Planet. This discussion will feature some of the top young minds in the industry to discuss NewGen's role in making Mars a reality in the 2030s.

Panelists will include:

  • John Conafay (Moderator): Business Development Director, Spaceflight Inc.
  • Becki Yukman, Senior Data Analyst, New Gen team member, Space Foundation
  • Karina Perez, Manager, Strategic Initiatives, AIA

Full STEAM Ahead: The Storied Partnership of Space & Hollywood

Join us at 1:00 pm EDT on Thursday, May 21, 2020 for a special Q & A with actor/director, Jonathan Frakes. Best known for his portrayal of Commander William Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frakes has also become a highly regarded director in film and television, directing such films and television shows as Star Trek: First Contact, The Librarians, The Orville, Picard, and the upcoming Nickelodeon series, The Astronauts.

This conversation will feature and be facilitated by astrophysicist and Star Trek science consultant, Dr. Erin MacDonald.

HUBBLE: 30 Years of Awe & Wonder

Thirty years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space and became one of the greatest scientific instruments in history. Since its deployment, Hubble has made numerous important discoveries. Hubble discovered two new moons of Pluto, dubbed Nix and Hydra; that the universe’s expansion is not slowing down or even constant, but rather is inexplicably expanding; and that protoplanetary disks of gas and dust are ubiquitous around many young stars (reinforcing the idea that alien worlds are common in the universe).

Five-time Space Shuttle astronaut John Grunsfeld has a unique connection with the orbiting space telescope. Three of his shuttle flights missions were to repair Hubble, during which he conducted eight space walks that lasted over 58 combined hours. Grunsfeld is often affectionately called, ‘The Hubble Repairman’, and was the last person to touch the extraordinary space telescope.

Join us on Tuesday, May 19th at 1:00 pm EDT for a special Q & A with John Grunsfeld. This session will be facilitated by Mat Kaplan of Planetary Radio.

THE OVERVIEW EFFECT: a Conversation with Author Frank White

Join us Wednesday, May 13, 2020 @ 3:00pm EDT for a conversation with author of the seminal work, The Overview Effect, Frank White, led by MaryLiz Bender and Ryan Chylinski, Co-founders of Cosmic Perspective.

More than 30 years ago, Frank White coined the term “Overview Effect” to describe the cognitive shift in awareness that results from the experience of viewing Earth from orbit or the moon. He found that, with great consistency, this experience profoundly affects space travelers’ worldviews—their perceptions of themselves and our planet, and our understanding of the future. White found that astronauts know from direct experience what the rest of us know only intellectually: we live on a planet that is like a natural spaceship moving through the universe at a high rate of speed. We are, in fact, the crew of “Spaceship Earth,” as Buckminster Fuller described our world.

"The Overview Effect is an important book in helping people see that your attitude does change when you see the Earth from the space perspective—an experience that seems to be an almost universal phenomenon." —Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, founding member of the Overview Institute.

MARS MISSION ARCHITECTURE: Advancing Technology for Humans on Mars

In recent years, human missions to Mars have gone from a topic that some dismiss as science fiction to a goal that now has broad public and bipartisan support. Humans walking on the surface of the Red Planet are now regarded as being inevitable.

Join us on May 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm for a special webinar called Building an Architecture for Humans on Mars. This webinar will review current concepts in Mars mission planning, and will also discuss many of the challenges in designing such plans and what is required to establish a permanent presence on Mars. Initial missions to Mars will last a duration of at least 2-3 years, a time period far longer than humans have been away from Earth - beyond any possible rescue from Earth. This presents innumerable technical and design hurdles to assure crew members remain healthy (physically and mentally) and productive.

The panelists will also examine how best to utilize the Moon to advance the goal of humans to Mars.

This session will be moderated by Mat Kaplan, the Host of Planetary Radio. Panelists will include:

Tim Cichan (Lockheed Martin: Space Exploration Architect)

Nujoud Merancy (NASA: Chief, Exploration Mission Office)

Joe Cassady (Aerojet Rocketdyne: Executive Director for Space, Washington Operations)

SAVING EARTH: How MARS Can Help Us Solve Climate Change

With the development of private commercial aerospace innovations, the chances of humans traveling to Mars in the near future are increasing. But only a tiny fraction of the 7.8 billion people presently living on Earth will ever travel to Mars, and the effort could arguably be a distraction from the very real problems of climate change, food security and energy we all face collectively. Education, inspiration and technological development are obvious benefits of a Martian voyage, with technology arguably being the most immediately practical. We will consider how specific technological innovations needed for the earliest Mars missions will materially help fight climate change on Earth. Creativity, imagination and an ability to work in groups make humans an extraordinary species. How can we leverage these abilities to help the other species on Earth as well as our own?

The history of technological innovation suggests that transformational technologies are often developed for other purposes. The steam engine was innovated to solve the problem of pumping water out of deep coal mines. The phonograph was innovated to take dictation, rather than play records. Graphics Processing Units, which today power medical diagnostics, self-driving vehicles and an enormous social media economy, were largely developed to serve demand for video games. We will consider some of the technology paths required for the first Mars missions to succeed, and explore the likelihood of generating meaningful climate change innovations, including the use of methane-lox rocket engines powered by in situ propellant, engineering of arid- and salt-tolerant crops, and advanced solar and nuclear energy.


Dr. Joe Mascaro, PLANET, Dir. Education and Research Programs

Dr. Tanya Harrison, PLANET FEDERAL, Manager Science Programs

PERSEVERANCE: Preparing for the Launch

As the world continues pursuing social isolation to combat the COVID-19 crisis, many ambitious and inspiring space missions are still moving forward.

NASA and its partners are on track to launch the Perseverance Rover this July. Perseverance is the most ambitious robotic mission humanity has ever sent to Mars. It will not only advance the goal of sending humans to Mars, but may also help answer the question, 'Has life ever existed anywhere else in the universe?'

On Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 1:00pm EDT, Explore Mars will present Preparing for the Launch of Perseverance. Participants of this webinar will discuss not only the mission objective of the Perseverance rover, but also what challenges need to be overcome as NASA prepares this rover for launch and during its transit to Mars.

This session will feature an expert line up of panelists:

  • Moderator: Mary Engola (Aerojet Rocketdyne; Manager, Space Communications)
  • George Tahu (NASA; Program Executive for Mars Exploration)
  • Neil Tice (Lockheed Martin, M2020 Aeroshell Program Manager)
  • Kathryn Stack Morgan (NASA JPL; Deputy Project Scientist of the Mars 2020 rover)

Isolation in Space: Managing Human Health on Earth and Beyond

For years, mission planners and astronauts have been worried about the dangers of the extreme long-term isolation required for sending humans to Mars. Astronauts voyaging to Mars will live in a confined space with a small group of people for upward of 3 years at time. Maintaining mental and physical health are just as much a concern as building robust mission hardware. As such, NASA, private entities and international space organizations have studied this problem conducting isolation studies and complex analog missions.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the whole world is now being forced to confront similar challenges of isolation. In our 2nd Humans to Mars Webinar, our panel - Managing Isolation in Space and on Earth - will discuss this important topic, examining such questions as - How can previous space exploration (and other) isolation studies help people around the world today? What can we learn from the current crisis that may be helpful to future Mars missions?

The panel will be moderated by television news personality Sonya Gavankar with special panelist, Scott Kelly (former NASA astronaut; Author, Endurance), Dr. Susan Ip-Jewell (President / Co-founder, Mars Academy USA), John Hanacek (CEO and co-founder AvatarMEDIC)...

Life on Mars? What are the implications?

What if life is confirmed on Mars in the next few years? What would the implications of this discovery be? This prospect is not in the realm of science fiction - or an April Fool's joke. The Perseverance rover, launching to Mars in July of this year, will be searching for evidence of past life on Mars. Meanwhile, China is launching a Mars mission this year looking for evidence of past or present life and in 2022, the European Space Agency will launch the ExoMars mission searching for past or present life. Clearly, there is an enormous level of international interest in this question.

Join us on April 1, 2020 for an online discussion moderated by Mat Kaplan (Planetary Radio) with panelists Dr. James Green (NASA Chief Scientist) and Dr. Penny Boston (NASA Ames, Senior Advisor for Science Integration) who will discuss this historic topic as well as such questions as -

  • Would the discovery of life on Mars advance or hinder the prospects of sending humans to Mars?
  • Planetary protection and defense: How to protect life on Mars and life on Earth? Are there lessons to be learned from COVID-19?
  • What are the implications for life in the universe?
  • What's the current evidence for life on Mars?
  • What could the Perseverance mission tell us?

This online panel discussion will be the first in a series of special sessions over the next several months to assure that excitement about Mars exploration does not diminish during our current crisis. Please let us know if you have any questions or if you have suggestions for interesting and energetic programming