The nonprofit organization Explore Mars, Inc., has announced that Elon Musk has joined the roster of speakers at its annual Humans to Mars Summit. He joins a high-profile roster of aerospace professionals and supporters of crewed Mars missions such as Curiosity flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, former NASA administrator Charles Bolden, and astronauts Leland Melvin, Pamela Melroy, and John Grunsfeld.
Musk has made the possibility of future settlements on Mars a major part of SpaceX’s brand, notably saying, “I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.” SpaceX is currently developing the Starship rocket to be capable of launching payloads to the Moon and Mars. Most recently, Starship successfully completed a “hop test” in which it reached an altitude of 150 meters. Followers of Elon Musk have speculated that other companies such as Tesla and the Boring Company act as fronts for developing technologies that will be useful for a human presence on Mars.
Musk’s appearance will feature an interview by Stardom founder and Explore Mars’ social media director, Ron Sparkman. Sparkman is especially well-known for his YouTube channel, in which he interviews high-profile science and aerospace professionals such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
The Humans to Mars Summit features a high-profile selection of speakers and panelists every year. This year’s panels include topics such as “Space Exploration: A Unique Opportunity for Diversity and Equality” and “Lessons from COVID-19 – And How to Apply to Mars Exploration.”
“Our intention for the Explore Mars 2020 Humans to Mars Summit is to further expand our organization’s efforts to highlight our commitment to public outreach, STEM education and at the same time foster and celebrate humanity’s diversity,” said Janet Ivey, President of Explore Mars.
Although the event is traditionally held in Washington, D.C. and followed by lobbying efforts in Congressional offices, it is going to be online this year due to concerns about COVID-19. Ticket prices range from $25 to $295 and summit planners expect considerable interest from individuals who might not have considered traveling for the event. Explore Mars, Inc., plans to make the Humans to Mars Summit an in-person event next year and has already booked the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C., for May 11-13. More details will be announced at this year’s virtual summit.
The Humans to Mars Summit will take place August 31-September 3. Tickets are still available through EventBrite.