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The Planetary Society cofounder on space exploration’s next frontier

"Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars" by Louis Friedman.
The University of Arizona Press

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More than ever, Mars exploration seems to be within our reach.

Entrepreneurs from Amazon’s Jeff Bezo to Tesla’s Elon Musk have put their money in making human travel to the Red Planet a reality.

In his book “Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars,” Louis Friedman, renowned astronautics engineer and co-founder of The Planetary Society, discusses his hope that humanity is expanded to Mars, which should be the last planet that people ever set foot on. Once it’s accepted that Mars is the only viable place for humans to personally explore, Earth’s space program can become an exciting and relevant venture once again.

What’s more, with Mars being the final destination for humanity, people can continue to explore the universe through supporting technologies. Friedman’s vision for the future of space travel includes nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence and more. In this way, he says, humanity can continue to expand throughout the solar system, even if it never goes beyond Mars.

What are the current obstacles in the way of human space travel? What should humanity’s motivation be for exploring space? How long is it going to take for us to truly settle on Mars?


Louis Friedman, author of “Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars” (University of Arizona Press, 2015). He is the co-founder of The Planetary Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes the exploration of space