Sci-Fi Meets Sci-Fact Lecture

Sci-Fi Meets Sci-Fact Lecture: Mars on a One-Way Ticket

Event Details

This event is presented by ASU’s BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science

Humans have long dreamed of going to Mars, but the only hope for doing so in the foreseeable future is on a one-way mission. Eliminating the return journey would dramatically slash costs and halve the inevitable risks associated with space flight. Mars on a one-way ticket is not a suicide mission. Rather, the astronauts would be the first colonists of a permanent human settlement on the red planet. But who would go, and what would they do when they got there? How would a Mars colony benefit the rest of humanity left on Earth? At this event, cosmologist and astrobiologist Paul Davies will outline his plan for sending humans one-way to Mars after which internationally acclaimed artist and senior TED fellow Angelo Vermeulen will describe his recent experience living and working in a Mars-like habitat.


Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and best-selling author. He is director of ASU’s BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology, as well as co-director of ASU’s Cosmology Initiative.  His research ranges from the origin of the universe to the origin of life, and includes the properties of black holes, the nature of time and quantum field theory. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1995 Templeton Prize, the 2002 Michael Faraday Prize from the Royal Society and the 2011 Robinson prize in Cosmology.

Angelo Vermeulen is an artist, biologist, space systems researcher and community organizer. In his work he ties together technological, ecological, and social systems through group engagement and collaboration. ‘Biomodd’ is one of his most well-known art projects and consists of a worldwide series of interactive art installations in which computers and ecology coexist. In 2009 he launched ‘Space Ecologies Art and Design (SEAD)’, a platform for artistic research on the architectures and ethics of space colonization. ‘Seeker’ is one of the resulting projects involving co-created spaceship sculptures that evolve over time. He is a member of the European Space Agency Topical Team Arts & Science (ETTAS), and was the Crew Commander of the NASA-funded 2013 HI-SEAS Mars simulation in Hawaii. His space-related work led him to start a new PhD at Delft University of Technology, developing paradigm-shifting concepts for evolvable starships.

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