On Tuesday, President Barack Obama published an op-ed in CNN that talked about the importance of collaborations between NASA and private companies to fund space exploration, including the goal of sending humans to Mars by the 2030s, and developing technology for future Mars missions in which humans stay on the Red Planet long-term. He also wrote that the goal of getting humans to Mars will inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators, a goal shared by the University of Utah’s Mars for Earthlings class.
Casey Duncan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geology at University of Utah who has co-taught the Mars for Earthlings class, a NASA-funded outreach program that educates students and the general public about NASA missions and Mars by studying planet Earth. He also does research in the Sedimentary & Terrestrial Analog Research (STAR) group. STAR finds and studies Mars-like sediments on Earth to better understand the red planet. He is available to comment on what future Mars missions might hope to accomplish, what it will take to get us there, and Mars’ ability to captivate our imaginations.