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Mars conference slated for October 20-22

Scientists, engineers, and others interested in the human exploration of Mars will convene October 20-22 at MIT for "Mars Week," a student-run conference designed to educate and excite individuals about Mars exploration.

Highlights of the three-day event will include a prototype Mars suit and an authentic Apollo space suit; a Sunday afternoon family event at Kresge Auditorium called Kid's Time that will have a small carnival, rover displays and educational booths; a Saturday night banquet; and an array of distinguished guest speakers.

Among the speakers are Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society and author of The Case for Mars; David McKay, principal investigator at NASA Johnson Space Center, lead author of Life in the Martian Meteorites; Donna Shirley, project manager for the NASA/JPL Mars Sojourner rover; and Chris McKay, world renowned astrobiologist from NASA Ames Research Center.

Registration rates for the conference are $15 for MIT students, $20 for other students and $90 for professionals. Pre-registration is required. The Sunday afternoon displays are free.

The annual conference was initiated in 1999 by members of "ThinkMars," a student group based at MIT created in 1998 to develop a comprehensive business plan for a mission to Mars. ThinkMars was selected as one of the winners of NASA's "NASA Means Business" competition. This year's conference is planned by ThinkMars and the International Mars Society with the support of Venturefuge, MIT's Large Event Funding committee, the Boulder Center for Science and Policy, and MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The International Mars Society was founded in 1998 to further the goal of humans to Mars through public outreach, as well as to conduct research activities relating to Mars exploration, exemplified by the construction and utilization of the Mars Arctic Research Station in the Canadian High Arctic.

For more information about Mars Week and ThinkMars, contact the organizers at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 18, 2000.

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