At not other point in human history has travel to Mars been more a reality. At not other point in human history has travel to Mars been more a reality. At no other point in human history has travel to Mars been more of a reality. (Photo: Sunny Studio/Shutterstock)

Humans are going to Mars, and the journey begins this spring

Three-day conference, which is open to the public, will take place in May in Washington, D.C.

Traveling to Mars has long been the subject of movies and the dominion of NASA. But if you're looking for something a little more grounded in daily life, you may want to book your ticket to Washington, D.C. This May, the city will play host to the "Humans to Mars Summit," a three-day confab that's open to everyone.

The conference is the brainchild of Chris Carberry, the CEO of the nonprofit Explore Mars. Founded in 2010, the organization works on outreach to many groups including schools, policy makers, robot manufacturers and the general public. One project they're currently working on with students is to send a time capsule to the Red Planet.

The once-futuristic idea of man traveling to Mars has now become grounded in reality. To help them build spaceships that can withstand the tough conditions of interplanetary travel, NASA has sought the help of tech-savvy Israel, the same country that hosted an international space conference in October, where Mars was a hot topic.

Buzz Aldrin, the 86-year-old legendary astronaut who is now advocating for colonizing Mars, spoke at the conference in Israel and will also be speaking at the upcoming event in D.C. Additional guests include Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Andy Weir, author of the bestselling book "The Martian," which was the basis for the movie.

Carberry expects 1,500 people to attend the convention, plus about a million more will be watching the sessions streamed online. "It is the biggest event of its kind in the world," he told From The Grapevine.

Carberry's group, while independent, works closely with NASA and the likes of Boeing, Lockheed and SpaceX. "I'm pretty sure that we have had more impact on U.S. policy than virtually any nonprofit out there. We're certainly one of the most influential space nonprofits in the world."

Carberry told us that Mars travel is no longer just a fantasy. "We're really doing it. This is the sort of thing that advances civilization. It inspires people. It will elevate the quality of life for future generations. It will spark interest in exploration. We'll have an amazing number of technological breakthroughs along the way that will benefit us here on Earth."


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