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You can watch the International Mars Society's 2020 convention online today for free

The planet Mars has been a target for space exploration for decades, but 2020 stands out with three different missions from the U.S., China and UAE now headed to the Red Planet. The International Mars Society will celebrate those missions, the search for life and more in a virtual convention this week and you can tune in live. 

The Mars Society's 2020 Convention is underway now and will run through Oct.18, with over 150 speakers over four days. The daily schedule is based on a U.S. Pacific Daylight Time, beginning at 9 a.m. PDT and ending at 10 p.m. PDT (12 p.m. EDT to 1 a.m. EDT/1600-0500 GMT). You can see a full schedule of events here.

Online registration is free (though the Society does encourage a $50 donation, if possible), with live webcasts, panels and discussions airing on YouTube and Facebook. 

Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin, author of 2019's "The Case for Space," will kicked the convention off with an opening plenary speech Thursday. 

SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk, who has said building a Mars settlement has been a longtime goal, will speak at the convention on Friday (Oct. 16) at 3 p.m. PDT (6 p.m. EDT/2200 GMT). 

A special panel on the search for life in our solar system will air on Friday night (Oct. 16) from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. PDT (10:30-11:30 p.m. EDT/0230-0330 GMT). 

On Saturday (Oct. 17), NASA chief Jim Bridenstine will give a keynote address on the agency's Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 and then aim for Mars. 

To learn more about the Mars Society, its 2020 convention and how to join or support the group, visit its website here: https://www.marssociety.org/.

Day 1 Plenaries

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.

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