Meditations on the New Space Vision: The Moon on the Way to Mars

Wendell Mendell

NASA Johnson Space Center

--- Abstract - Profile ---

Abstract: Integral to the New Space Vision of the current Bush administration is the idea of sending humans back to the moon, as a stepping stone on the way to going on to Mars.  What does a human mission to Mars actually involve?  What are some of the risks which require further research and technological development in order to be mitigated?  How useful will the ‘moon first’ approach be to addressing these issues?  In this presentation, Wendell discusses the some of the risks and role of risk assessment in developing a successful Mars mission. 

PROFILE: Dr Wendell W Mendell is the Manager, Office for Human Exploration Science at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). His research focus is remote sensing of planetary surfaces, particularly specializing in thermal emission radiometry and spectroscopy of the Moon. Over the past 19 years, he has worked in NASA on planning and advocacy of human exploration of the solar system, especially on the establishment of a permanent human base on the Moon. His interests in this regard lay as much with policy issues as with technical issues. He is most well known as the editor of the volume, Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century; and he received the 1988 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering from the National Space Society for this work.

Dr Mendell has a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology; a M.S. in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a M.S. in Space Science and a Ph.D. in Space Physics and Astronomy from Rice University. Currently, Dr Mendell splits his time between communicating the principles of the human exploration of the solar system to both lay and technical audiences and working on lunar research. He is a member of the College of Teachers of the International Space University (ISU). At ISU, he has led Design Projects for an International Lunar Base (1988), International Mars Mission (1991), International Lunar Farside Observatory and Science Station (1993), Vision 20/20 [a sampling of the future as seen by young space professionals] (1995), and Space Tourism: From Dream to Reality (2000).

He belongs to several professional scientific and engineering societies. He is most active in the International Academy of Astronautics, where he currently serves on the Academic Commission for Space Policy, Economics, and Law; and in the AIAA, where he has chaired the Space Science and Astronomy Technical Committee and sits on the International Activities Committee. He served on and chaired the Executive Committee of the Aerospace Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is the author of numerous papers published in professional journals and presented at professional conferences. He also writes space-related articles for popular magazines, has served as Technical Editor for professional journals, and currently sits on the Editorial Board of the journal, Space Policy.