SpaceX Hosting Hush-Hush Mars Workshop This Week

SpaceX's BFR Spaceships on Mars
An artist's illustration of SpaceX BFR spaceships on the surface of Mars. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is fleshing out its humans-to-Mars plans, with a little help from its friends.

The California-based company is hosting a Mars workshop at the University of Colorado Boulder today and tomorrow (Aug. 7 and Aug. 8), according to Ars Technica's Eric Berger

The event is private, and attendees — nearly 60 scientists and engineers from a range of institutions, including some key figures in NASA's Mars exploration program — have been asked not to publicize it, according to Berger, who got hold of an invitation.

Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the express aim of helping humanity become a multiplanet species, and the company is developing a huge, reusable rocket-spaceship combo called the BFR to help make that happen. The BFR is designed to ferry folks to and from Mars (as well as a variety of other destinations) at a price low enough to make the journey available to more than just a handful of billionaires.

The BFR could open Mars to settlement the way the transcontinental railroad facilitated the development of the American West, Musk has said.

The workshop will likely discuss the BFR and its capabilities, as well as the technologies needed to establish and sustain a self-sufficient Mars settlement, Berger wrote.

"Through this meeting, SpaceX hopes to engage more deeply with both NASA and the scientific community that have studied these questions in depth for decades — but have regularly been frustrated by the space agency's lack of progress toward getting people to Mars," he wrote. "One scientist attending the meeting told Ars, 'I have some confidence that SpaceX will eventually achieve its goal of getting to Mars, and this feels like an exciting opportunity to be part of that story and to influence the future of humans on the Red Planet.'"

You can read the full story by Berger at Ars Technica here.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.