Mars Exploration Prizes

Posted in Companies, Conferences on July 06, 2012

Google Tech Talk
June 10, 2010


Presented by Chris Carberry.

428 million years ago Pneumodesmus newmani, a Late Silurian millipede made a huge evolutionary leap. It is the first recorded creature to have left its natural habitat - the early ocean - and moved to live on land. Humanity lives in a similar period today, we have just started leaving our natural habitat - the Earth. And we will soon travel and even colonize Mars.

Mars prizes have been discussed for years, but this concept has never gained momentum because the majority of Mars Prize proposals have required investments of several billions of dollars with the singular goal of landing humans on the surface of Mars. While humans to Mars is our eventual goal as well, a Mars prize does not need cost billions of dollars. In actuality, important Mars related innovation can be achieved with prizes levels as small as $10,000-$100,000. In this talk, Explore Mars Executive Director, Chris Carberry, will discuss a series of Mars Exploration Challenges that Explore Mars, Inc. will launch starting in 2010. The first of these challenges will be the In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Challenge. With this prize, Explore Mars, Inc. will be challenging teams around the country to develop technology and innovations that will help future astronauts to be able to "live off the land" on the Martian surface. This type of challenge can be a potent force in innovating technology necessary for sending humans to Mars. Of equal importance, this type of prize can also influence space policy. While Mars has been mentioned as the ultimate destination of the United States space program, real private sector contributions to technology development can have a real impact on space policy. Technology development prizes can also create stability. ISRU was part of the NASA exploration budget several years ago, but it fell victim to budget cuts before the program was able to fulfill its purpose. Mars prizes can provide momentum and stability that is necessary to continuously advance vital technologies.

Over the next few years, Explore Mars will launch several prizes with the goal of advancing the engineering, science, medicine, education, and overall study of Mars. In addition to discussing these prize concept, Chris will also want to brainstorm with the Google audience to discuss technical and societal issues that will need to be overcome to if humanity is ever going to be able to set foot on Mars.

This talk was hosted by Boris Debic.

Speaker Info:

Chris Carberry Chris Carberry is the Executive Director and co-founder of Explore Mars, Inc.. Prior to Explore Mars, Chris served as Executive Director of The Mars Society. In addition, Chris has served as Chairman of The Mars Societty Steering Committee and was Political Director for that organization. Chris served as chairman or co-coordinator of such congressional lobbying events as the 2007-2010 Space Budget Blitz, the 2007 Moon-Mars Blitz, the 2006 Space Blitz, and the Great 2006 Mars Blitz. Chris also serves as the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Space Exploration Alliance, which is an umbrella group representing 13 space advocacy organizations with total membership of over 700,000 people. He also served on the Board of Directors for the National Space Society. Chris is the author of many articles and Op-Ed pieces concerning space policy and politics. In addtion, Chris is the author of a mystery/science fiction novel called Celestial Pursuits: in the hub of the Universe which was published in 2006. In 2007, Chris signed a movie option contract for Celestial Pursuits, with a Los Angeles production company. Chris also has an extensive background in historical research, having worked as research assistant for several authors, including British biographer Sarah Bradford (America's Queen) and former New York Times Magazine editor Ed Klein (The Kennedy Curse).

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Tags: Google, tech, Talk, Space, exploration, GoogleTechTalks