A Martian Renaissance is at Hand

Mars Location


Session Date and Time
Saturday, May 25 @ 10 am - 12 noon & 2 pm - 6 pm

The human exploration of the Red Planet has been discussed in arduous detail since the publication of Wernher von Braun’s “The Mars Project” in 1953, with studies emerging from NASA and the Soviet/Russian space agency for decades, and more recently China and other emerging space powers. Yet the date for human exploration always seems just out of reach, perhaps a decade or more away. But it seems that we have arrived at a new dawn—with more sophisticated robotic explorers of many nations reaching mars every two years, and serious planning by entities such as SpaceX underway, a Martian Renaissance is at hand. Nobody knows more about upcoming Mars efforts than the speakers and panelists at the ISDC’s Mars sessions—join us for expert insights and the latest information on this greatest of human adventures.

Mars  Session Chair Info

Co-founder and Chairman, Mars Institute

Dr. Pascal Lee is a Planetary Scientist at the SETI Institute. He is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Mars Institute, and Director of the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) at NASA Ames Research Center. He holds an ME in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Paris, and a PhD in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University.

Pascal Lee’s research focuses on asteroids, impact craters, and Mars, in particular the history of water on Mars. Based on his fieldwork in Earth’s polar regions, Lee was first to propose the Cold Early Mars model which suggests, counter to conventional wisdom, that Mars was climatically cold throughout its history, rather than ever “warm and wet”.

Pascal Lee has worked extensively in the Arctic and Antarctica viewed as “analogs” for Mars. In 1988, he wintered over in Antarctica as Chief Geophysicist at Dumont d’Urville Station, Adelie Land. He participated in five additional summer field campaigns in Antarctica with the U.S., French, and Chilean polar programs, including three as a member of the United States Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) project. He is a recipient of the United States Antarctic Service Medal.

In 1997, Pascal Lee initiated the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP), an international multidisciplinary field research project focused on planetary science and human exploration studies at the Haughton meteorite impact crater site on Devon Island, High Arctic. He established the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS), now the largest privately operated polar research station in the world. To date, Lee has led 18 summer and 5 winter field campaigns in the Arctic, including the recent Northwest Passage Drive Expedition in 2009-2011 during which he and five other team members drove a Humvee serving as a pressurized rover simulator over a record-setting distance of 500 km on sea-ice along the fabled Northwest Passage.

Pascal Lee is internationally recognized for his efforts to advance the human exploration of Mars, in particular via its moons Phobos and Deimos. He has led, or participated in, the development of several new mission concepts to explore Mars and its moons, of new spacesuit technologies for Moon and Mars exploration, and of pressurized vehicles for future human planetary exploration. Lee was scientist-pilot of the first field test of NASA’s Small Pressurized Rover (SPR), a.k.a. the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). Lee also led the first field investigations of the use of robotic arm systems in support of human explorers operating future pressurized vehicles on asteroids, the Moon, and Mars.

Pascal Lee is the author and co-author of over 100 scientific publications and the recipient of research grants from NASA, the National Research Council, the Canadian Space Agency, and the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research & Exploration. He is as an advisor to NASA.

Pascal Lee is the author of a non-fiction children’s book titled MISSION: MARS, published by Scholastic. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) awarded MISSION: MARS the 2015 AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Children’s Science Book in the Middle Grades Category.

Pascal Lee enjoys flying and painting (but not at the same time). He is an FAA-certified helicopter commercial pilot and flight instructor, and an artist member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA).

Mars Presentation Speakers

Executive Director, The Mars Society
Presentation Title: Frontiers of Analog Mars Research: Insights from the Mars Desert Research Station and the Flashline Arctic Station

James Burk is the Executive Director of the Mars Society and is leading the set up of the Mars Technology Institute. His responsibilities include managing the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah and the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station in Canada, both critical for Mars analog research. He commanded Transatlantic MDRS Crew 261, a notable mission in analog astronautics which was featured on CBS and Northwest Aerospace News Magazine. With a background as a Microsoft engineer and technical project director, Burk combines broad technological expertise with a deep passion for space exploration.

County Agriculture Extension Agent, University of Nevada-Reno, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources
Presentation Title: How to Become a Modern-Day Swiss Family Robinson in Space: The Case for Self-Sufficiency on the Moon and Mars by Using the Most Reliable Ancient Methods of Farming, Time-Tested Subsistence Crops, and Wild Edible Weeds

Dr. Deever is a park ranger, naturalist, farm hand, chef, certified flight instructor, futurist, agriculture extension agent, and professor in the University of Nevada’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources. He is currently writing a textbook and developing curriculum on space farming. He is also writing a book on selecting space crops (modern and ancient) to create the most self-sufficient and healthiest off-world space colonies possible.

High School Student, Mars Institute
Presentation Title: New Location for the 'Noctis Landing' Candidate Human Landing Site on Mars

Krista Heinemann is a senior year high school student in Northern California. She is interested in planetary science and human space exploration, and also in computer sciences and robotics.

Associate Professor, Space Operations, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Presentation Title: The Application of Current and Future Underwater Habitats as Analogs for Commercial Astronaut Training

Erik Seedhouse is a professor in Spaceflight Operations at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He holds pilot, scuba, and sky-diving licenses and works as an astronaut instructor for Project PoSSUM, an instructor for the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences, a consultant to Hollywood, a professional speaker, triathlon coach, author and science advisor to Proteus Ocean Group. He has written over thirty books.

Lecturer in Law, University of Dundee
Presentation Title: Speed of Law vs. Speed of Light: Legal Implications of Earth-Mars Time Delays

Alexander Simmonds is a Lecturer in Space Law whose research interests include the theoretical legal implications of time delay/dilation and UK Space Regulation.

Other Sessions at ISDC 2025

Preserving Aerospace Heritage
Infrastructure is the Backbone of Civilization
Space Ventures Stride Toward Lucrative Horizons
Newest and Most Exciting Ideas
Growing Life Beyond Earth: Innovating for Sustainable Space Habitats
...Some More Traveled Than Others
A Martian Renaissance is at Hand
How Will We Best Explore, Prospect, and Settle Our Natural Satellite?
Discuss Comprehensive Solutions Planetary Defense
Learn More About the History of Tomorrow
Educating and Enlightening People
Exciting Technology that will Revolutionize Access to Space
Global Collaboration for Outer Space
Medical Capabilities to Travel Into Deep Space
Who Owns the Vast Riches of Space?
Making Humanity a Space Faring Species
Core Interest of the NSS Since the 1970s
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