• Konferenz

European Mars Convention 2018

All you ever wanted to know about Mars

Okt 26
Okt 28
Musée International d'Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds
Bild: pixabay
Mars (Bild: pixabay)

Four themes have been chosen for the European Mars Convention 2018, the Knowledge of the Planet, Time, the Journey, and the Establishment of Mankind on Mars. They will be the subject of more than 20 presentations, followed by a debate: “Robots and Men on Mars under the Look of Time”.



The knowledge of the planet is the first theme that will be addressed by the scientists behind the command panels of three machines already on site or about to leave for Mars;

  • Michel Cabane, designer and principal investigator (“PI”) of the gas chromatograph of the SAM laboratory (“Sample At Mars”) aboard the NASA rover Curiosity which identified several organic molecules, some of which are likely to be part of kerogen matter.
  • Antoine Pommerol, member of the University team which designed the CaSSIS camera aboard TGO and who will present the first results (origin of trace gases in the atmosphere, among which methane).
  • Jean-Luc Josset, designer and PI of the CLUPI camera and Tomaso Bontognali, geobiologist, both of the Space Exploration Institute (“Space-X” in Neuchâtel), will present their instrument which will be put aboard ESA’s ExoMars rover for the second exobiological mission in History in order to study samples from the underground of the planet out of reach of most radiations. ;
  • Philippe Lognonné, designer and PI of SEIS, the seismograph aboard the InSIGHT lander that should allow us to make a gigantic leap forward in the understanding of the internal structure of the planet, in order to answer the fundamental questions on the absence of plate tectonics and magnetosphere.

The rules imposed by Time on space exploration will be presented by the world’s leading specialists in its measurement, namely:

  • Gaetano Mileti of the Time-Frequency laboratory of the University of Neuchâtel and Pascal Rochat of the Spectratime corporation which designs and produces the most accurate clocks in the world.
  • Pierre Brisson will explain the issues resulting from the distance between Mars and the Earth and the possible consequences on humans of the local Martian time.
  • Mitko Tanevski, from Space-X Neuchâtel, will have us marvel at the complexity of the telecommunication system needed to overcome the delays in the transmission of informations in oder to guide an instrument on the Mars surface.
  • Alain Sandoz (EPFL) will present a watchmaking “complication” to measure exactly, mechanically, the time spent in zero gravity.

It is also Time, especially in its strategic aspect, that will be at the heart of our debate “Robots and Men on Mars under the Look of Time”.

  • It will be up to Claude Nicollier, Robert Zubrin, Richard Heidmann, Jean-Luc Josset and Pierre Brisson to interact with the Public, to make it clear that the problematic of Space exploration and the soaring off of man outside of his home planet, is also a question of “timing”, of technological and psychological collective maturity and of opportunities that must be seized when they arise, failing to see them disappear. Nothing is written and we will go to Mars only if we want to, in a certain temporal context.

From Time, one goes logically to consider the Voyage; dates of departure and return, speeds, quantities of energy and therefore mass of propellant and payload. The trip to Mars is long, lasting aout 6 months. This needs to be addressed with care especially for the human body, by taking countermeasures to resist the debilitating (but not only) effects of weightlessness.

  • Claude Nicollier will talk about artificial gravity solutions.
  • Pierre-André Haldi (EPFL) will give us a constructive critique of SpaceX’s (Elon Musk) Interplanetary Transport System project.
  • Jean-Marc Salotti (Uni. Bordeaux) will propose a mission architecture based on the use of Ariane super Heavy launchers.
  • Jürgen Herholz, formerly in charge of the Hermes ESA program, will create a perspective by telling us the story of the human dream of manned flights, from Mercury till the Mars Direct and Moon Direct projects.

The last theme will the settlement of Mankind on Mars. This is something that all of us, members of the Mars Society, call for with our strongest wishes. We are aware of the difficulties but we think that nowadays they can be overcome, on Mars more than on any of the other worlds that we can reach with our rockets. We will therefore discuss different topics that must be well known and technologies that must be mastered.

  • Roland Loos, CEO of Solarstratos, will tell us what can be learnt from his experience with his solar stratospheric aircraft, for the exploration of Mars in atmospheric density conditions comparable to those he wants his plane to evolve into.
  • Gernot Grömer of the ÖWF (Österreichisches Weltraum Forum, Uni. Innsbrück) will tell us what to keep in mind from his simulations conducted in Aouda Spacesuits (ÖWF design) in the Oman desert in 2018.
  • Pierre-Emmanuel Paulis, from the Euro-Space Center, in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes, will present its “analogous” Martian habitat base.
  • Antonio del Mastro, founder of Mars-Planet, the Italian Mars Society, will tell us where he stands with his “virtual-reality” endeavor to better grasp, within the context of his “Mars-City-Project”, this “real-reality” which we will have to face upon landing on Mars.
  • Theodore Besson, founder of ESTEE (Earth Space Technical Ecosystem Enterprises) will talk about these simulations from the eco-biological point of view, taking into account his knowledge of MELiSSA (Micro Ecological Life Support System Alternative) and his training in “industrial-ecology” under the piloting of Professor Suren Erkman (UniL).
  • Richard Heidmann, founder of Association Planète Mars and “Polytechnicien”, will move us by thought on Mars, after the first manned exploration missions have taken place and the first elements of a permanent base been set up, to consider the constraints of mass production for a colony, in a phase of rapid development. It is not enough to think of principles when you have to deal with matter; the establishment of Man on Mars implies infrastructures, machines, raw materials and time!

Talking about the future without the active participation of the youngest educated generation that we want to encourage to pursue our goal would be a futile venture. We hope that many young people will come and attend our congress and we will give the floor to two of them, one of whom, Anne-Marlène Ruede (EPFL, architecture) will tell us about her water-ice Martian base project, connected to Low Martian Orbit by a very special “crane system”. It is an example of creative thinking that is aroused by Space exploration, as stressed by Robert Zubrin. This creative thinking is stimulated in all those who are interested in making the Exploration proceed, both students and researchers or experienced engineers, because this frame is a space of freedom. It compels, however, and that is not contradictory, not to lose sight of the solid foundations of science and engineering because reality is always there and danger too.

Finally, to close these three days, Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society will present his vision of a “Space Revolution”, leading to an unlimited future of resources, time, development and creative freedom. Mars is a first step but it is also the soaring out of our cradle and perhaps the entry into a kind of immortality for our species.


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Sprachen: Englisch