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VIRTUAL Mtg & Debate: Should We Send People to Mars?

July 6, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

We are holding a VIRTUAL meeting this month due to the ongoin pandemic.

6:30 PM: Board meeting (Webex only)
7:30 PM: YouTube goes live / Introductions
7:35 PM: In the News, In the Sky
7:50 PM: Officer and SIG reports
8:00 PM: Observing Reports/Question Time
8:15 PM: Informal discussion / break time
8:30 PM: Debate

If you’d like to join the webex to speak and share your video if you wish, please email joinlive@warrenastro.org.

If you’re just joining the YouTube stream, go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC12jUX4Gmweg6fTtUuqa8CQ/live

Should We Send People to Mars? A Debate

Jon Blum – Moderator
Jim Shedlowsky and Dale Partin – Pro
Ken Bertin and Bob Trembley – Contra

Much is being learned about Mars and the entire Solar System from sending robotic spacecraft to orbit or land on various places. Increasingly sophisticated spacecraft and rovers have established that Mars once had suitable conditions on its surface to support life, and more is being rapidly learned. Astronauts have previously visited the Moon, and we will soon be going back.

The question is, should we also send people to Mars or should we continue to rely on robots to study Mars long term? Join us for a spirited and informative debate on this question.

Since his retirement as a dermatologist in 2001, Jon Blum has owned two telescopes, started two astronomy clubs, belonged to ten astronomy clubs, and enjoyed great times with the smart, friendly and helpful people he has met through this wonderful hobby. Among the best of those times was when he moderated WAS debates in 2010 and 2011, so he is excited to be moderating this debate in 2020.

After a career in automotive engineering, WAS mainstay and rockabilly legend Jim Shedlowsky turned his energy back to music, astronomy, and historical research. Jim has been dreaming of travel to Mars since he was in high school, reading Heinlein, Bradbury, & Asimov, and hopes to see it happen before his centennial birthday in 2037. He treasures the Space Age can-do mentality and would like to see a new Mars mission rekindle it.

WAS First VP Dale Partin retired from a long and busy career in applied physics and engineering and mysteriously became even busier, teaching at Macomb Community College, becoming a student at Oakland University, and rejoining the W.A.S. board. He could argue both sides of this debate and mean it, but he does firmly believe there is a good case for trying to go sooner rather than later.

Ken Bertin is a hobbyist astronomer for over 65 years, Past President and VEEP of WAS, Solar System Ambassador, 10 Total Solar Eclipses, 4 Annular eclipses, 6 Transits of Mercury, 2 transits of Venus. 15 Lunar eclipses. He doesn’t particularly want to see humans ever go to Mars.

Outreach Director Bob Trembley works for the for the Vatican Observatory Foundation doing website development and writing about astronomy and space science. Bob says the job title “factotum” best describes the numerous things he does. Bob is an avid computer gamer, and has been spending hours playing No Man’s Sky and Kerbal Space Program – so Bob’s involved with astronomy and space science almost every moment of every day. He’s arguing against going to Mars now because he’s seen enough of his Kerbanauts die, and he doesn’t want to see any NASA astronauts follow suit; on Mars, there’s no reloading from the last save.

Post-meeting “gastronomy” at the Redcoat Tavern will resume when we can do so safely. The Tavern does offer carryout if you wish to enjoy their fare.

The views expressed in presentations are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent, and should not be attributed to, the Warren Astronomical Society.

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July 6, 2020
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Online event


Warren Astronomical Society

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