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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


News Bureau Schofield Hall 201 Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

Robert Zubrin to Close
UW-Eau Claire Forum Series 

MAILED: Feb. 18, 2002

         EAU CLAIRE  Space exploration authority Robert Zubrin will close the 60th season of The Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Tuesday, March 5.
         The nation's leading theorist on Mars travel, Zubrin will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena. His lecture, titled "The Case for Mars," will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
         Celebrated as "the Christopher Columbus of Mars," Zubrin combines nuts-and-bolts engineering with a unique grasp of human history and an infectious enthusiasm for the not-distant future when our global society branches out into the universe.
         Zubrin is a founder of the Mars Society, an international grassroots organization created to further the goal of the exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, and is the organization's president in the United States. Since its creation in 1998, the group has been involved in broad public outreach to instill the vision of pioneering Mars and supports aggressive government funding of Mars exploration programs around the world.
         The Mars Society is currently working on a series of projects, funded entirely by private sources, which serve as a test-bed for technologies and practices needed for human Mars exploration. These projects include the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station in Canada, the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, a pressurized rover project and the TransLife Project that is studying Mars' gravity effects on mammals in space.
         A former senior engineer at Lockheed Martin, Zubrin also is the founder of Pioneer Astronautics, a space exploration and development firm. Prior to his work in astronautics, Zubrin was employed in areas of thermonuclear fusion research, nuclear engineering, radiation protection and as a high school science teacher. He holds masters' degrees in aeronautics and astronautics, and a doctorate in nuclear engineering.
         Zubrin's books include "The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must" (1996), a revolutionary work that shows how a robust and surprisingly economical mission to Mars could be achieved by maximizing the use of existing technologies and resources found on Mars. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has adopted a modified version of Zubrin's Mars Direct mission plan.
         "Without a frontier to grow in, not only American society, but the entire global civilization based upon Western enlightenment values of humanism, reason, science and progress will ultimately die," Zubrin has written. "I believe that humanity's new frontier can only be on Mars."
         In May 2001 testimony before the United States Senate, Zubrin advocated that one percent of the NASA budget - a modest $140 million annually - should be used to develop the technologies necessary to lay the groundwork for future human Mars exploration missions. Noting that about two-thirds of the American public support a humans-to-Mars mission, Zubrin detailed the program's numerous benefits to the economy, education, science and national optimism.
         "We could have humans on Mars within ten years," Zubrin told a SpaceDaily interviewer in November. "We are much better prepared today technologically to send people to Mars than we were to send people to the moon in 1961.
         "Who would have expected the confrontation with the Soviet Union to precipitate a U.S. expedition to the moon?" Zubrin asked. "And yet most people view the Cold War, far from hindering the Apollo Program, as being essential to it. Right now we are engaged with an opponent whose operative ideology is opposition to science, reason and free thought, which is the basis for both science and democracy. A human to Mars program could be an essential element to discrediting their ideology."
         In addition to writing over 100 technical and non-technical articles, Zubrin is the author of "Entering Space" (1999), a futuristic look at humanity's possible colonization of the solar system and the feasibility of interstellar flight, and "First Landing" (2001), a fictional tale about a near-future Mars flight using the Mars Direct plan. He is editor for Mars exploration of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and is a member of the board of directors of the National Space Society.
         Admission is $7 for the public, $5 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $3 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.
         Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 - or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
         The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.

UW-Eau Claire Home  News Bureau
Judy Berthiaume
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: Feb. 18, 2002