Live this week: Watch the 2021 International Mars Society Convention online

Update for Oct. 17: The video feed above has been updated for Day 4 of the 2021 International Mars Society Convention.

The 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention begins Thursday (Oct. 14), and you can watch the whole thing online for free.

The Mars Society, a space advocacy group supporting the human exploration of Mars, will have virtual panels online between Thursday (Oct. 14) and Sunday (Oct. 17). Register here for your ticket (including an optional donation) and check out the full schedule at this link.

"The four-day online forum will bring together leading scientists, government policymakers, commercial space executives, and space advocates to discuss the latest scientific and technological developments and challenges related to the human and robotic exploration of Mars and the eventual human settlement of the Red Planet," the Mars Society said in a statement.

Presentations will take place over Zoom, while attendees and presenters can network over platforms including mobile app event platform Attendify, chat and collaboration tool Slack, and virtual networking and social virtual reality platform AltspaceVR by Microsoft. 

Related: Behold! The 1st panorama of Mars from the Perseverance rover

According to the Mars Society, here are some of the highlights attendees can look forward to:

  • NASA deputy administrator Pamela Melroy's special address on "NASA's Path to Mars";
  • NASA chief scientist Jim Green's discussion about the future of aerial exploration on Mars, in the wake of the Ingenuity drone mission;
  • A live broadcast with staff members of a Martian analog called AMADEE-20, with staff members in Israel and Austria;
  • An update about NASA's Perseverance rover mission by deputy project scientist Katie Stack Morgan;
  • An update about the United Arab Emirates' Mars Hope mission by project manager Omran Sharaf;
  • A presentation about China’s space program, by University of Hong Kong planetary geologist Joseph Michalski
  • A talk about human space exploration by José M. Hernández, former NASA astronaut and Tierra Luna Engineering CEO;
  • An address about terraforming Mars, by NASA Ames Research Center researcher Chris McKay;
  • A talk about possible biosignatures in the atmosphere of Venus by Massachusetts Institute of Technology planetary scientist Sara Seagar;
  • A discussion about NASA's Titan Dragonfly mission by principal investigator Elizabeth Turtle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Correction: The Mars Society sent updated information to its initial press release indicating that the organization is now using AltspaceVR. The article has been updated to reflect this information.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: